Volvo Construction Equipment is a leading international manufacturer of premium equipment. Although they have been performing global quantitative research for years, there was a growing need to understand their customers better. Linda Hoff, who has been responsible for customer intelligence since 2008, had the ambition to create her own customer community since she first started working at Volvo CE. In 2019 she finally got the green light and turned to CMNTY as her research partner.
One of the main aspects of Volvo CE is its global character. With over 14.000 employees, a full product range and branches all over the world, they are one of the largest companies in the industry.
A growing need of understanding customer experience
Quantitative surveys have always been a part of Volvo CE’s research strategy. The company has been working with third-party agencies to conduct surveys both on the satisfaction of the purchasing experience as well as the ownership experience around the sale of new machines. Within the market research umbrella, Volvo CE also performs brand tracking and competitive benchmark surveys. The main focus being the quantitative and statistical part of the data to drive continuous improvement.
Early on, it was one of Linda’s professional ambitions to create a qualitative customer community, unfortunately this turned out to be a bigger challenge than anticipated “As I mentioned about the company, it has a global footprint. I didn’t quite know at that point how we could reach all these customers and even more challenging how we could get them all together in focused discussions. Because we have customers all over the world, it’s not like we can gather customers for a ‘face-2-face’ focus group in the local conference center, and that would also be very expensive.”
In 2018 a project was initiated around customer experience and in that project, it was identified that Volvo CE actually did need a customer community budget and suitable resources were finally approved. A few different solutions were tested and CMNTY was chosen to host the customer community.
“I think a few different factors all connected somehow at the right point in time. There was an increased interest in the company to understand more about our customers, what they actually experienced and what they needed from us.”
There was a need to go beyond the product range focus and to cover more qualitative aspects, to be able to understand the full customer experience, not only related to the machines. The general interest in customer research increased.
How did CMNTY get in the picture?
As interest in customer experience grew, Linda and her team saw that there wasn’t a suitable channel to connect with customers. The main problem was that ad hoc research and fast customer input was not possible with the used research methods at that time. Volvo had always been very questionnaire driven. They mostly worked with a supplier and then executed surveys, collected and analyzed information before reporting back. To get that process done within six months was very difficult.
“So basically every time we realized the need for customer input, we couldn’t expect results back for at least 6 months. In times where things change so fast, we can’t work like that. And I think that became very apparent in this customer experience project that we ran as well. It was clear that we needed a channel which is more agile and more prompt to get feedback in.”
A community for both customers and colleagues
Linda’s colleagues were also very excited about the fact that they can get customer input to their projects and initiatives easier and faster than before. They are also impressed with the speed of all of it. There are quite a few that have taken the opportunity to use the customer community themselves. Hear what the customers themselves have to say about CMNTY.
Many of Volvo’s customers appreciate the fact that they have a platform to get their voice heard. In the standard research questionnaires that they send out, there is very little room for them to elaborate their answers since the questions are very much predefined. The answer box is also rather limited and centered around the specific process.
Linda has gotten feedback from their customers saying that they really appreciate the opportunity to get their voice heard and that Volvo CE is perceived as very approachable. They really like the fact that there is someone who wants their feedback, who wants to listen.
“Most customers like the fact that they can engage with the Volvo CE
team, and we need to continually nourish that engagement through a two-way conversation providing relevant information and offering a variety of activities that generate their interest and willingness to share information with us.”
Linda and her team use a variety of CMNTY tools going from questionnaires and polls to the blog to push information. They also regularly conduct individual customer interviews and online focus-group discussions around different topics.
Volvo chose CMNTY because everybody can use the platform and they really appreciate that it is mobile first and looks really nice on mobile.
“When we had to decide on a research partner I think that user friendliness, as we experienced while testing, and fair pricing were the main reasons we selected CMNTY. Other solutions also seemed more complicated, some might have had more functionality, but for our purpose, CMNTY was the perfect fit.”
How would you pitch CMNTY to your team, colleagues..?
“For me one of the most important things, as in any collaboration, is the people you work with and we get a lot of valuable support from CMNTY. We wanted an online platform on which you can connect directly with your target group that was user friendly and intuitive. With CMNTY Platform it’s also easy to download and analyze data. It has a lot of good features and the people at CMNTY are always quick to respond and help to find a solution. If there isn’t a direct solution, we always find a workaround. So, I really think that’s what I appreciate the most about CMNTY.”
Also getting excited to build a strong customer community? CMNTY Platform is just what you need! Get a free demo here or contact us via [email protected]
Contact Linda at Volvo Construction Equipment here: [email protected]