Earning the Right for Real Collaboration
For manufacturers like Newell Brands, marrying the brand’s value to the consumer with its retail partner customer service levels are more important than ever, Steve Sigrist, VP of customer service, shared recently with CGT. Drawing from pandemic lessons, Sigrist pointed to investing in the people who “actually get things done” — e.g., the customer service reps on the front lines of interacting with their retailers — as being critical.
This means equipping employees with the capabilities to be intentional about tying in retailers’ needs with what’s occurring in the marketplace.
“Whenever we've equipped our people to get stronger, to get better, to be more in tuned in and empathize with what our retailers are expecting, we've had success there. At the same time, that builds relationships with those retailers, and those retailers will be more forthcoming with you on what they're seeing,” noted Sigrist. “You've got to earn the right to have those conversations. It's not always forthcoming. You gotta go pull it out a little bit.
“Looking back, I wish some of the efforts that we're doing here would have been a core mission 10,15 years ago, because we’d have even stronger relationships than we have right now.”
Indeed, the pandemic resulted in many companies developing their digital competencies and deepening investments, and these benefits are now coming to fruition. More than half of respondents in McKinsey’s survey said their supply chains can handle e-commerce challenges (see chart above), which said this is an increase over previous surveys.
Read more details from the survey here.