AkzoNobel Customer Story - Hero Image
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How AkzoNobel UK reduced response times and increased engagement

Customer
Industry
Retail
Company Size
35,700 employees
Location
Netherlands
Featured Product
172%
increased engagement
133%
increase in post comments
80%
reduced response times
47%
of inquiries answered within five minutes

Challenge

AkzoNobel UK needed a technology solution that enabled it to effectively manage social care across more than 60 accounts and that had best-in-class listening capabilities to identify issues before they became crises.

The leading global paints and coatings company owns brands like Dulux, Cuprinol, Sikkens, and Polycell. In 2015, its digital team recognized the need to create a more mature social media strategy. At the time, AkzoNobel UK had 60+ fragmented accounts on Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram covering multiple brands.

Most of these accounts had extremely small audiences and all were managed natively by various agencies. There was an incredible amount of risk inherent in the organization. The social tool that the team used at the time had weak listening capabilities that left the brand vulnerable to crises, and many of the channels were not monitored or managed consistently.

On top of this, the team lacked the necessary capabilities to monitor and manage the accounts. All of this left the brand very susceptible to a risk. As James Green, Digital Marketing Manager at AkzoNobel UK, put it, “Managing our social presence was like driving in the fog.”

“It was very clear to the public when we were abandoning queries over social and responding slowly,” he added. “It was beginning to damage our brand by not having a social care team in place and the ability to respond quickly.”

AkzoNobel UK’s multi-step social care program was leading to slow response times and unsatisfied customers; they needed new solutions to offer:

  • One unified platform to manage six social channels, 19 accounts, and six different brands.
  • A way to set up rules to escalate messages that required immediate attention.
  • A system to show the value that each care agent brings and track those numbers.


Solution

With demand to provide customer service on social channels grew, AkzoNobel UK implemented Sprinklr Service.

A few comments from both B2B and B2C customers a day gave way to hundreds, which was unmanageable with their multi-step response process. The team needed a streamlined customer care process and a formalized social media strategy. The team set three goals:

  • Set up governance across social channels
  • Create discipline and process
  • Align against strategic business goals

Refining a complex care process

The first step to achieve these goals was to adopt Sprinklr Service, part of Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, to refine a complex care process. Across their brands, AkzoNobel’s UK care team received inquiries from homeowners to trade professionals. The customer care team had no way to automate or prioritize inbound queries, much less harness social as a care tool.

“This radical first step we took was putting a foundational level of social customer care in place,” said Green. “Our social customer care response times were much too slow. And that’s because we were treating social like calls or emails. The business wasn’t structured to respond to customers quickly.”

Before Sprinklr, it took the customer care team nearly a week to respond to customer inquiries, while other brands were responding in about two hours.

“I quickly realized that there was a lot of functionality within the Sprinklr platform that could help improve our customer service,” explained Caylee O’Neill, a Knowledge Manager for AkzoNobel’s customer experience and transformation team. “Our focus wasn’t just sorting out each customer as they come, but actually looking at what they were talking about, and what we could do to help customers self serve. With Sprinklr, we were able to unearth these insights and mend customer inquiries quicker.”

With the new process established, the team set a goal of responding to customer care inquiries within two hours — with an initial hope of answering 25% of inquiries within just five minutes.

Using the platform, the team used keywords from customers’ inbound messaging to put an escalation process in place to quickly identify customers that require immediate attention. Once identified, the necessary messages were automatically pushed to the front of the queue. By November, it was answering 47% of inquiries within five minutes and the quality of responses had improved.

“With Sprinklr, we have set up — and improved — the automations to help our advisors reach this goal,” O’Neill said.

“The quality of our replies has improved, because our care agents have more time to find answers, and are able to share knowledge in Sprinklr," explains Social Media Manager Lisa Boyles. "With this shared information, conveniently stored in one platform, the agents are able to answer comments more accurately and more quickly.”

Outcome

AkzoNobel UK now provides social customer care across six social channels, 19 accounts, and six different brands.

Soon after adopting Sprinklr, the team had removed the agency from the process and dedicated two agents purely to social care. “We set a challenge of bringing our average response time down to two hours, a relatively reasonable benchmark for UK social care overall, but with the caveat that we wanted to get to under one hour whenever possible,” said O’Neill, proving exact value through product recommendations.

Now the team is providing social customer care across six social channels, 19 accounts, and six different brands — all on one Unified-CXM platform. Soon after adopting Sprinklr, the team had removed the agency from the process and dedicated two agents purely to social care. “We set a challenge of bringing our average response time down to two hours, a relatively reasonable benchmark for UK social care overall, but with the caveat that we wanted to get to under one hour whenever possible,” said O’Neill, proving exact value through product recommendations.

Each time a care agent recommends a specific product, the price of that product is recorded and tallied. This enables quick demonstration of the revenue generation from the care agents. “Before, we couldn’t track the value that social care brought to the business,” said O’Neill. “It has been revolutionary for us in the last 12 months, to be able to say, ‘We are supporting customers with their complaints and queries whilst also generating added value revenue through our social responses.’” In just a few months, the team brought in over £13,000 (USD $18,500) worth of recommendations.

Increased engagement across the customer journey

The team ensured that AkzoNobel UK supports customers at every point of their journey, and as a result, has seen a steep increase in interactions, positive sentiment, and even earned reach. “As customers become more savvy to social advertising, by developing our organic social and customer service care on all channels, we are helping to improve trust and relationships with our customers,” Boyles said.

In the past year, total engagements increased by 172%. Posts, likes, and reactions increased by 171%, and post comments increased 133%.

Decreasing response times, improving sentiment

Sprinklr’s capabilities have helped AkzoNobel UK decrease the average response time from 5 hours and 42 minutes to just 70 minutes — an 80% decrease in a single year. When looking at response times during weekday work hours, these response times decrease further to around 47 minutes. Overall, the team now responds to inquiries quicker, providing customers with better content and gaining valuable insights into the customer journey.

“We went from having limited capability to world class social media management capability. With Sprinklr, we have emerged from the fog,” Green concluded.