Article

A friend in need is a friend indeed

The 2020 Covid pandemic has been a tipping point for many companies around the world. Suddenly, old ways of interacting with business partners and suppliers had to be re-thought overnight. Concerns about moving materials across borders became an everyday struggle. Kemira asked some 200+ customers about their experiences during the pandemic. This is how they responded.

A friend in need is a friend indeed

In September and October, we asked 223 customers around the world how they’re doing. We also asked, how did we do? Has Kemira been able to support them through these extraordinary times? Has there been a gap in our service because of the lack of face-to-face communication? Looking to the future, how do they expect their business to change as a result of the pandemic?

98% of our customers said they received their products from Kemira in a timely manner so they could keep their operations running.

Far from business-as-usual

One striking finding was that 98% of our customers said they continued to receive their products from Kemira in a timely manner. As a result, they were able to keep their operations running. Also, 75% said they did not experience any change in our service during the pandemic. Our key customer satisfaction indicator, the Net Promoter Score, has risen 12 points from 37 to 49 points since the start of the pandemic. By way of comparison, the chemical sector average is 32. Considering the intensity and speed of the global crisis, we feel extremely proud that we have continued serving our customers so well during this time.

Of course, it has been far from business-as-usual and the results are no accident. It’s thanks to the hard work of our very dedicated people. We came together as a global team, worked long evenings and weekends to do the best we could, and swiftly introduced safety measures to ensure people’s health and wellbeing. We appealed to authorities to make sure they understood the critical role our chemistry plays in society. We arranged and rearranged logistics, back-up plans, supplies and raw materials, manufacturing continuation plans and more. We set up different methods of remote support and customer service. Eighty-two percent of our customers said these met or exceeded their expectations. At the same time, like everyone else, we were struggling with personal concerns – homeschooling our children while working, caring for our families and other loved ones.

75% of our customers did not experience any change to the service received from us during the pandemic. This is no accident. It’s the result of hard work from very dedicated people.

We also asked our customers about the impact of the pandemic on their operations. Thirty-two percent reported changes to their communications channels, which is understandable due to the lack of direct, face-to-face contact. Furthermore, 29% reported a change in their business environment due to the pandemic. Some 28% reported business-as-usual.

What might the future hold?

Our survey revealed a strong interest in new digital services. Fifty-two percent of customers said they would expect more online and remote services from suppliers going forward. This varied by region with respondents in Asia-Pacific leading the way (67%) followed by Americans (64%) and Europeans (45%). Our customers said the services they most want to see move online are ordering and invoicing, as well as meetings with account representatives. They also suggested that we offer remote application expertise. What about other services? Customers reported being less eager to embrace remote technical site-service. But even there, 25% of our survey respondents said they would be willing to explore new digital options.

Today Kemira offers a growing portfolio of digital services for chemistry applications under the KemConnect™ brand. We’re continuously adding new modules to facilitate remote control and monitoring, as well as advanced data utilization. Kemira is also working on online self-service that allows customers to easily place regular orders.

Although the pandemic isn’t over yet, our company is coming out of this experience stronger than ever. Our customers tell us they trust us and rely on us, and for a good reason. Thank you for your trust – it has given us the boost we all need after an incredibly demanding year. We look forward to supporting your operations through these challenging times and beyond.

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