Supply chains need to make better use of customer satisfaction data

customer satisfaction

Customer preferences and expectations are changing at an ever-faster pace. Gartner therefore advises chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) to take three actions to improve the supply chain customer experience. “Supply chain customers today are looking for improvements in areas such as on-time, in-full (OTIF). They also expect shorter lead times, and personalized products and packaging,” says Beth Coppinger from the analyst firm. “Organizations must adapt quickly, as failing to understand and meet customer needs can result in the loss of exactly those customers.”

According to a Gartner survey of 983 supply chain leaders in the second half of 2021, 62% are investing in capabilities to capture, analyse and leverage supply chain-specific customer satisfaction data to support the reinvention of the supply chain to drive commercial innovation. Gartner concludes that the supply chains of the future will be totally tuned into their customers by leveraging massive amounts of data – from customer product use data to customer satisfaction data and data from a wide range of ‘listening posts’.

This development is driving an increased expectation towards the supply chain organization to assume a more customer-facing position and grow the overall business by focusing on commercial growth rather than cost-cutting innovations. However, while many supply chain organizations want to be more customer-centric, they lack clarity on how to transform their organizations.

Gartner advises CSCOs to begin by taking three actions:

1. Build customer understanding

The first action is to build an understanding of customers. To understand them, companies must listen to them at multiple interaction points and examine customer product use data and/or customer satisfaction data. The goal is to get a full picture of what the customer wants, needs and thinks – and to create a shared understanding of the customer at critical touchpoints across the enterprise. Currently, more than 60% of supply chain leaders are investing in developing and maintaining access to ‘voice of the customer’ (VoC) data. If those investments continue, the supply chain of the future will be fully tuned into their customers.

2. Set and adapt a strategy for improving the customer experience (CX)

According to Gartner, supply chain leaders will only be able to set a strategic direction for CX when they partner with other executives in the organization and agree on where the organization should focus its efforts. Clearly defined performance indicators and expected outcomes form the foundation of a successful programme because they help to determine whether the selected strategies and investments are actually delivering the desired results.

3. Coordinate to create a customer-centric culture

Thirdly, successful CX depends on the commitments and actions of all people in the organization. CSCOs must align and communicate the CX vision to get everyone on board and make it clear which behaviours need to change. Proper execution of this is fundamental to creating organizational alignment and prioritization and ensuring that changes are actually made.

Ideally, according to Gartner, there should also be a CX leader in place who coordinates best practices and assets. This leader should work with a cross-functional steering team to engage the entire organization in creating products, solutions and services to respond to customer needs.