Customer experience : Human is back in Marketing

Is human back in marketing ?

If I say “Emotions”, “Benevolence”, “Active listening”, what do you think we talked about, this Tursday June 1st, 2017 @ the Adetem B2B Club ?

We talked about Customer Experience, with Serge Rouvière, Dominique Vergnolle and Lionel Giraudeau.

Serge Rouvière reminded us that until 2008, we could almost say that the customer was a necessary evil … The crisis putting a stop to sales, companies had to look for other growth drivers.

Add to this the emergence of new technologies and a knowledgeable consumer, companies  had to switch from a product culture to a customer culture.

Still according to Serge, this is what customer-oriented companies have understood before others:

The double expectation of customers:

  1. Respect the contract:  sell a product / service at the right price, quality, in compliance with commitments.
  2. Recognise the client: listen, consider, show flexibility, transparency and humility, …

The customer, who is now conscious of supporting his supplier, expects a fair compensation. If it does not come, the penalty is severe: 70% of the breaks between the customer and the company are due to the company’s failures to recognize its customers.

7 essential characteristics of companies having implemented customer experience :

  1. Respect for the human person established as en essential and embodied value.
  2. Reassuring, being empathic and a sincere behavior in all circumstances.
  3. Internal customer omnipresence.
  4. Satisfaction of customers (and employees) is an absolute priority.
  5. A continuous and multifaceted customer listening.
  6. An organization and processes thought for a positive customer experience.
  7. A clear and shared client project.


SoLocal, European ranks #1 in Europe on digital local communication, with 812,3 million euros in advertising revenues, understood well the challenge and set up a Customer experience team

Dominique Vergnolle manages this team and has necessary means to enable him to full exercise  his role.

As he explained, it is not a question of deploying marketing programs. It’s about  influencing a culture around which everyone in the company understand, approve and sustain.

This requires moving from  processes to behaviors and reorganizing the company to not forget anyone. The back office is now as much involved as the front office, Human Resources work on internal training content, and employees internal evaluations are revised.

Dominique Vergnolle vocabulary is revealing : he talks about “simplicity”, “advice, “transparency”. Listen to the customer and provoke his words to better solve issues.


Lionel Gireaudau then shared his experience as former Communication and Marketing Director of Volvo Trucks France, where the truck driver is the hero:

The customer experience is about developing parallel marketing. A “people” marketing, and thus  openning possibilities. It is not a matter of rethinking the entire marketing strategy, but rather of developing another, complementary approach, putting people at the heart of the program.

Before becoming a buyer, a customer  is first and foremost a human being driven by feelings and emotions, and is defined largely by what he experiences throughout his life. According to Paul Greenberg (1) “buyers want to be the subject of an experience and not the subject of a transaction.” As much or even more than B2C buyers, B2B buyers want to experience a human experience!

Everything has been done in this way to leave an indelible and positive trail in the minds of Volvo Truck, which will offer  customers a fantastic experience, while still  serving the product / service …

A Facebook page has been created:

 (the test of your life?)

generating more than 70,000 fans in less than 4 years and becoming a great vector for a Client Experience approach, which was based on different pillars:

  • Mostly exclusive content only dedicated to fans.
  • Content based primarily on men and women stories
  • Content that fits in with time
  • A close proximity to the extreme by regular “physical” encounters. The experience must also continue during the major events of the brand.

The internal brief was simple: “Every connection to the Volvo Trucks community must allow the individual to come out smarter, more proud, more astonished, just happier. “

When we talk about performance indicators, here is his answer:

The best of KPI’s is ultimately again a matter of common sense.

We meet our customers and prospects every day … no need for NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CES (Consumer Effort Score) with unclear results …
In my opinion it is enough to speak to them.

What is certain is that this kind of approach creates a strong sense of belonging on the part of the customers, a pride and a closeness.

Our stakeholders conclude by agreeing on this point:

It is hard to say whether this has allowed for more sales, but it is obvious that such an approach makes it possible to build a strong brand that will better withstand turbulence.

*Paul Greenberg is the best seller author : CRM at the Speed ​​of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers


“Thank you” photo from Matt Jones

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