In this edition of the Voice of the Customer, we welcome a special guest, Lucio Vesentini from Pirelli. We asked Lucio to participate in our interview series to share his knowledge and best-practices with all his peers out there and educate others that are new to this topic.
Bram Weerts, Chief Customer Officer of Wonderflow: Thank you so much for being with us today. Let’s begin with the big questions – how do you define customer-centricity for Pirelli? And how important is the input from your customers to the decisions you make as a company?
Hi Bram and thanks for having me here today. Well, first of all, we have to say that Pirelli is a pure consumer company as we produce tyres only for cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Having said that, it’s easy to associate our company to consumers and to our strong commitment to solve their problems, anticipating their needs and make them feel the maximum level of safety when they’re enjoying the performances of their vehicles, using our products.
Bram: What are the key challenges that you face when building a customer-centric culture? And the same thing for maintenance – what do you do to maintain this attitude and culture, especially in times of difficulty, through changes in the organization, internal expansion and growth?
Pirelli is a consumer company in terms of products. Still, at the same time, it leans on the vital role of dealers that are our partner on the market, fitting most of our tyres to the vehicles. We can say that Pirelli is a B2B2C company and as you can imagine the challenge in a big company is to find the correct balance between what we call the “sell-in” phase and “sell-out” phase.
Bram: In terms of ways of working, how do you collect and analyze feedback from customers (which sources, how many, how did you spot opportunities to improve your products?)
As the Consumer Insight Marketing department, our role in the company is to collect feedback from the end-users on many fronts. We normally split them into four main areas: Market, Brand, Product and Sponsorship. For all these four areas, we’ve many sources—for example, ad hoc market research, external studies, CRM activities etc. From 2020 onwards we’re fortunate to be working with Wonderflow to enrich the area of Product, helping the company to understand even more the feedback we receive from our consumers.
Bram: How has your way of working changed over the years?
What I feel is that the ambition of the company to understand consumer feedback has increased dramatically in the last few years. Thanks to technological improvements that allow anyone to give an opinion about products and services, now it is mandatory for a company to listen and to analyse such opinions, generating feedback loops which improve consumer experience.
Moreover, we’re pushing at an internal level for the democratisation of consumer insights as we believe that they must be an asset for all departments: all of them can take out valuable insights for their roles and activities.
Bram: This leads to a good follow-up question – what types of trends do you see in the market for companies in building, scaling and maintaining a customer-centric culture?
I’d focus on three main aspects: Data security, Predictive data analysis and Augmented Reality.
- Data security will be the starting point: I wouldn’t be surprised if they would become one of the topics through which consumers will evaluate and select companies.
- Data analysis is key, but the predictive analysis will have a relevant role in the future too.
- Augmented Reality was growing before the pandemic, and will keep on being relevant for many areas, from retail to education and healthcare.
Bram: What do you see as essential capabilities for companies and professionals to develop in the future, to continue becoming more customer-centric?
Obviously, it depends on the company size, but I believe that data management will have a very important role in the future. With the introduction of 5G technologies and the related innovations, I believe we will be able to build on this industrial progress while managing consumer satisfaction activities will earn a more prominent role in the market. Of course, professionals will have to reshape their skills in order to be ready for a new revolution that is just around the corner.
Bram: Amazing, thanks for that. A topic we cannot avoid; how do you see COVID (permanently) changing the ways of interacting with customers, and customer preferences and expectations?
We have an “always-on” monitoring tool of consumer perception, so we’re collecting data starting from the beginning of the pandemic, but I believe it’s too early to understand what will happen until vaccines will be accessible to everyone.
People may have the aspiration to resume as before, generating a potential rebound in consumptions (for those that can afford that) but on average, there will be the need to build back better, whatever that means.
My perception is that compared to the past, it won’t be easy to segment consumers in a limited number of fixed clusters, hence we’ll need to be ready to adapt and change faster.
Bram: Thank you so much. Incredibly kind of you to have this conversation with us, and I can’t stress enough how valuable this will be for the readers!