Customers are central to Arkema's strategy and its innovation. We are committed to establishing a close relationship with our customers, in particular through a program of commercial excellence and strategic partnerships.
Our business excellence program to better serve our customers
Meeting customer expectations and promoting the Group's variety of solutions are the two main challenges of Arkema's commercial excellence program launched in 2018. This priority cross-functional initiative, supported by all our business units, aims to position Arkema among the best in the industry in this area. The program involves the company's business and sales community, made up of 1,200 men and women who are in direct contact with our customers every day,
With a view to better listening to the customer and better ability to manage the stages of progression of new business opportunities, this project has enabled the deployment of commercial processes and digital tools to facilitate collaboration between the Group's different activities. Arkema has also set up an inter-business unit key account management system and developed marketing content for its sales force, highlighting Arkema's entire product offering by market to help them respond to customers as effectively as possible.
The impact of this sales excellence initiative was assessed in 2020 through a customer satisfaction survey of all Arkema customers, which will be renewed over time.
Heeding our Customers’ Voice
In 2021, for the second year in a row, Arkema has conducted a survey with all its B2B customers with a view to compiling their level of satisfaction, as well as understanding what they think of Arkema and how they appreciate our actions and our interactions with them. This survey has given us extremely valuable information that will enable us to make further progress in terms of Commercial Excellence, while pursuing the development of our businesses.
Between 24 February and 8 March 2021, Arkema conducted an online international survey to measure the overall satisfaction of its customers. It covered 100% of its B2B customers in the Group's three key regions (Europe, Asia, North America). The client list was extracted from our Salesforce CRM database, and the survey was rolled out using the Marketo marketing automation tool and the Qualtrics survey tool.
The objective of the survey was to enable us to understand our customers’ real priorities and expectations, as well as their relative satisfaction with our performance, in particular compared with that of our direct competitors. The extreme attention paid to listening to our customers via this questionnaire falls perfectly in line with Arkema's social responsibility policy and ambition.
Over 40,000 people were contacted and 3,050 of them actively responded, a 15% increase in the number of contacts eager to share their vision of their customer experience with Arkema compared to the previous year.
Overall, respondents gave Arkema an 82/100 CSAT (customer satisfaction score). This equates to 82% of people stating they were “satisfied”, giving us a score of between 7 and 10. This excellent satisfaction rate also translates into a 27.4 NPS (Net Promoter Score), at the top of the sector benchmark.
Customers were asked targeted questions, which enabled us to gather their opinions on four major points:
• Quality of relationship
• Supply chain
• Products and services
• Sustainable commitment
This data can now be analyzed in more detail, by activity, region, market, key account, etc. In addition, a large amount of open-ended comments (945 verbatim remarks) were collected and analyzed. Action plans are now being launched across all business lines with the aim of steadily improving the customer experience in order to continue developing and growing our business.
The survey will be repeated on a regular basis in future so we can monitor our progress and continue to improve further. Arkema remains determined to rank among the best in the profession in its customer approach and closeness, and is committed to closely heeding its customers’ voice at all time, confirming its Commercial Excellence objectives as one of the cornerstones of its development.
To strengthen its customer relationships over the long term, Arkema forges strategic partnerships with key customers that are leaders in their markets or areas of expertise.
Some relate to industrial developments, such as the partnership with Daikin in refrigerants or with CJ CheilJedang and Novus in Thiochemicals. Others are innovationoriented, like the partnerships signed in 2018 and 2019 with Hexcel in thermoplastic composites and Carbon® in 3D printing.
Two examples of close collaborations with clients in the composites sector
After forming a strategic alliance in 2018 to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace industry, Arkema and Hexcel opened a joint research and development laboratory in 2019, combining the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber and that of Arkema in PEKK.
The companies’ objective at this new lab is to develop carbon fi ber-reinforced thermoplastic pre-preg tapes to enable lightweight parts to be produced for future generations of aircraft. The goal is to offer cost-effective solutions to meet the need for lightweight parts and faster production speeds in the aerospace and defense sectors.
In 2020, Arkema was a co-founder of the ZEBRA (Zero wastE Blade ReseArch) project driven by the French Technological Research Institute -Jules Verne, which brings together leading players and technical centres around an ambitious project addressing the design and production of the first 100% recyclable wind turbine blade.
Arkema is actively taking part in this project with its liquide thermoplastic Elium® resin, and strenghtening its position as a key player in thermoplastic composite market. This resin is perfectly in line with the circular economy approach that the Group has initiated for both its operations and its products.
Arkema is at the heart of this consortium alongside Canoe, Engie, LM Wind Power, Owens Corning and Suez, and contribute to the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions for wind power with its expertise in high performance materials.