Digital technologies are a powerful driving force in preparing for the future of shipping and logistics. At CMA CGM, we offer our customers #betterways solutions to help them on a daily basis at each stage of the process, offering a more fluid and more intuitive customer experience. By listening more closely to what our customers have to say and instantly taking their feedback on board, we develop solutions that are tailored to their needs while also expanding our digital service offering. A sector (r)evolution!
A number of digital innovations have been rolled out over the last five years, allowing for considerable progress to be made and establishing the CMA CGM Group as one of the leading names in digital technology in the shipping and logistics industry.
While customer experience was already a key matter before the Covid-19 pandemic, the health crisis has undeniably acted as a catalyst by pushing it forward as a central concern relating to digitization. As a result, the need to offer a seamless, end-to-end digital experience has become a priority for CMA CGM.
We believe in “Taking care of our staff members so that they take care of our customers”. By focusing on this symmetry of care, we are able to offer more ever effective and higher quality interactions. For example, we have launched concrete initiatives concerning our employees (new working methods, new tools, etc.) and our customers (joint design of products and services, etc.) to pave the way for new developments, address the challenges that lie ahead and improve the shared experience.
#1 The early stages of the CMA CGM Group’s digital transformation
A complex and under-digitized environment historically focusing on commercial activities
Shipping and logistics play a significant role in our day-to-day lives: 90% of worldwide goods transportation is done via shipping.
However, this has long been a complex and under-digitized industry focusing on commercial booking activities. This is because of the vast amount of goods being transported around the world, the growing number of parties involved, traditional customer service limited to extensive sharing of emails, and inoperable or not very operable customs procedures that favor paper. Things are now changing in line with customers’ expectations and needs, which are no longer what they used to be. Major technological changes are being seen in the industry and new standards are emerging similar to B2C standards.
Against this backdrop, CMA CGM is a pioneer in terms of digitization. Since being appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group in 2017, Rodolphe Saadé has made digitization and digital transformation one of the core aspects of the Group’s strategy. Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in order to step up the pace of our digital transformation and respond to our key aim of ensuring customer satisfaction.
Putting ourselves in the customer’s place in order to optimize the CMA CGM experience
Five years ago, we carried out a general review of our customer experience, which identified the parts of the experience when expectations are highest, as well as areas of frustration and for improvement. On the basis of this, we launched the Customer Experience program, with the aim of reducing the customer effort required and simplifying their experience.
From their connected area, our customers use filters that make searching easier and mean they spend less time navigating.
The adoption of an omnichannel strategy favors better customer service, fluid exchanges of information and end-to-end interconnected intelligence.
#2 The CMA CGM x Salesforce partnership: it’s a match!
CMA CGM has chosen to work with Salesforce as part of its Customer Experience program. Although this venture began five years ago, the health crisis has accelerated the digitization process and customer care has become a central factor for the Group.
We have defined a comprehensive approach putting what our customers say at the heart of the process and coming up with an end-to-end solution covering Marketing Automation and Analytics. Surveys have been conducted to measure customer satisfaction with our Customer Services activities. We have brought all the Group’s departments together around customer commitment and the customer experience, familiarizing them with the different physical and digital channels and guiding them through all stages of the process.
CMA CGM has undergone a major transformation and is continually looking for innovations and improvements to its customer and employee experience.
“The partnership between Salesforce and CMA CGM was achieved smoothly between these two leading names. Our story began five years ago with an initiative centered around the Customer Experience program. The first step was to familiarize ourselves with the jobs, processes and solutions in place. The Group had a very low level of digitization at the time as customer requests were managed primarily by email. Covid-19 highlighted the urgent need to digitize our Customer Care processes, for example by making it possible to respond to customer requests from home and giving managers visibility over what was going on during this unprecedented time.”Julien Lombard, Senior Account Executive, Salesforce
#3 More fluid logistics solutions: the need for an improved customer experience
Supply chains have been particularly strained over the last two years, leading to major changes in customer behaviors. We have seen e-commerce take off on a global scale, which only confirms the need to digitize our interactions through to the end consumer. Our customers now demand instant, high quality information as well as our Customer Service teams taking a personalized approach to taking account of their needs. The CMA CGM Group has been a frontrunner with the rollout of its Customer Experience program. This is based on six main goals and aims specifically to optimize the experience of our customers and staff members.
This backdrop has supported the Group’s digital ambitions and confirmed the value of the NOVA project launched with Salesforce before the pandemic. A 360° approach to customer needs has become essential, and data quality and accessibility are key.
“The NOVA project allows for all our activities to be integrated into a single platform, with an approach centered around both the internal user and our customer,” explains Laurent Bernardin, Vice President, Head of Digital Transformation & Digital Customer Engagement.
#4 From NOVA Care to NOVA Business: a customer-centric strategic move and more!
Focus on the NOVA Care project
The NOVA Care project was initially launched with the aim of better handling interaction with customers across all channels. Users are demanding greater transparency and more information about their bookings, whether this means getting a price, an overview of transportation solutions available, various documents, etc. It is essential to provide clear answers to their questions. And with good reason. More than 240,000 customers use our website every day. This means it is vital for them to be able to track their bookings and progress in order to ensure a more pleasant experience, for example by overhauling certain features. A few years ago, all contact was by telephone or email, which made it more complicated to accurately track bookings made by customers. Thanks to NOVA Care, our customers can now access their personal online area and chat directly to the right person. This saves time and improves efficiency like never before.
“NOVA Care allows us to offer both our customers and our staff members a more fluid, simpler and faster experience. The main aim is to create a chain that allows for symmetry of care: we offer our customers a better experience because they don’t have to worry about going through a complicated process (who should we call? which country?), with a single chat window that lets you talk to the right person, the right agent, who in turn enjoys a smoother experience than without the tool.” Nicolas Manjarres, eCommerce & Business Data Management, Digital Agency
From NOVA Care to NOVA Business
To take the transformation of customer relations even further, the CMA CGM Group recently launched the NOVA Business project. The aim is to enhance shared customer knowledge in order to improve service standards. NOVA Business puts the customer at the heart of the sales strategy, creating a 360° view and prescriptive analytics. The results of data analysis are used to improve performance beyond the booking process and optimize how selling time is allocated by means of automation and digitization. For CMA CGM, customers need to be guided through the entire sales experience and the process needs to be made more efficient by means of simpler interaction. With this new project currently under development, the Group has demonstrated its desire to open up new avenues by offering its customers #Betterways solutions.
“NOVA Business allows us to offer our teams a collaborative sales platform, giving them a 360° view of what our customers are doing and managing their operations on a daily basis. This takes the form of end-to-end digitization of the customer relations process, allowing for interconnection between the various Group entities such as CEVA and CMA CGM AIR CARGO. The NOVA Business project concerns 4,300 people.” Laurent Bernardin, Vice President, Head of Digital Agency & Digital Customer Engagement.
#5 A jointly developed digital solution: it’s a match again!
It’s good to listen to the customer, but it’s even better to incorporate them into your digital strategy. While CMA CGM has long taken the approach of listening to its customers, this vision has evolved considerably over the last five years. Having been too far removed from a customer-centric approach, a change of tack has been taken, with the aim of working with customers from the outset. It is with this in mind that the Group’s e-commerce teams launched the digital joint development project.
The methodology used consists of involving customer volunteers in an unusual experience. The aim is to create an active customer community focused on improving the user experience by giving them the chance to test out features that could be rolled out in the future. The prototype is currently being tested in their connected area, where they can judge ease of use, correct use of options, etc. They therefore play a part in the process of making corrections and changes. This interactive platform has been created in order to improve the customer experience and enable them directly to share their views and feelings: is the process on offer clear? Will the new features improve efficiency in the future? The main goals of this digital solution are to optimize time spent on the platform and enhance performance. These objectives drive the entire process from end to end. At each stage, from navigation to confirming a booking, has the customer enjoyed greater efficiency and saved time? That’s the question!
Interview with Julien Lorenzo and Marc Folliot
“During the initial test phase, a major step forward was made in terms of recruitment. The Group recruited customers who wanted to work with CMA CGM to develop the features of tomorrow. A large number of customers quickly put themselves forward. We had more than 21,000 clicks on the recruitment pop-in to test out the interactive platform and around 1,600 applications in the space of two weeks. In the end, 800 customers were selected representing all types of user profile: importers, exporters, shippers, etc.” Julien Lorenzo, eCommerce Manager, Digital Agency UX
“Our customers have been incredibly enthusiastic about this project. Their involvement has been both a pleasant surprise and a challenge. The first step is to get customers to take part, but these customers then have to find what interests them and continue to help us over the long term. It is now a matter of leading our community to ensure that this joint development culture continues.” Marc Folliot, eCommerce Senior Manager Digital Agency Product Line
#6 Symmetry of care: our core belief
“NOVA has helped us a lot and changed how staff work, but also and above all changed how staff are managed.
NOVA has provided benefits not just for the customer but also in terms of internal team management.”
Peter Smidt-Nielsen, General Manager Spain
A win-win logic for employees and customers. What more could you want?
CMA CGM has completely overhauled its customer relations by offering new means of interaction and developing new products and services, considering symmetry of care to be a key concern.
But what does this expression really mean? Symmetry of care is by definition a mutually beneficial customer and employee experience. It is a way of moving forward together in a way that benefits both those inside and outside the company.
The CMA CGM Group is an exceptional entrepreneurial venture that began 43 years ago in Marseille. With operations in over 160 countries, 400 offices and 750 warehouses, it was essential for us to roll out more agile working methods and develop effective tools allowing for fluidity and ease of execution while also favoring swift adoption by employees.
At CMA CGM, we work on the principle that a happy employee means a happy customer. Employee engagement is therefore an important and ongoing concern for the Group. Digitization also helps to engage our employees by simplifying how they work and automating some of their tasks. A number of training programs have been offered and continue to take place, offering personalized career pathways for sales and customer services teams.
Symmetry of care is essential in ensuring the success of a digital transformation project. The NOVA program has enabled us to revolutionize the customer experience in order to better understand their needs and ensure customer satisfaction, as well as the user experience of the Group’s 160,000 staff members by involving them right from the design phase. The process needs to be simplified and intuitive, while also encouraging people to work together. Today, it is no longer possible to take a closed-off view and that is why the NOVA program makes so much sense, allowing for interconnectivity between the Group’s various entities, such as CEVA or even CMA CGM AIR CARGO and Colis Privé.
Making things easier for our staff allows them to focus on their value-added tasks concerning customers, develop customized solutions and offer ever more innovative services. This symmetry of care is therefore a key part of CMA CGM’s strategy and even of the Group’s values. Employees’ professional development is one of the main strategic concerns spearheaded by Rodolphe Saadé.
“We have really made a quantum leap in how we communicate with our customers about these digital solutions. This is the major change of the last two years. It has enabled us to create human value within our teams, as this gives more meaning to their work from both a professional and personal viewpoint. Customer value and employee value co-exist. We create value for the customer and also create value for our staff. I think that everyone who has been involved in this process is really pleased and other employees working on other projects want to contribute. This gives us real symmetry of care.” Nicolas Manjarres, eCommerce & Business Data Management, Digital Agency
In a world where supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and customers increasingly demanding, it is now crucial that we simplify everyday tasks in order to better anticipate customers’ needs and offer them real added value. It therefore seems essential to digitize the process for everyone involved – of whom there are many within this industry – and adopt systems able to fluidify sharing of data between partners, customers, local administrative departments, etc.
CMA CGM has set itself concrete goals and has already launched structural transformation projects (methods, tools, technologies) in order to align itself with new standards, respond to the challenges of tomorrow and improve the customer and employee experience. This is demonstrated by the current initiatives involving customers from the digital services design phase. By creating a real user community, the Group has taken a unique approach and once again asserted its desire to refocus its strategy on its customers. We can’t wait to see the results!