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Top CX Challenges in the CPG Industry

Consumer packaged goods companies face many consumer experience challenges, including new direct-to-consumer engagement channels, recalls and brand crises, big data, and regulatory compliance.

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Today's consumers are looking for unique and authentic products and experiences in an increasingly fragmented marketplace. Consumer packaged goods companies face a variety of challenges in competing for attention and loyalty.

Let's take a closer look at what these CX challenges mean in the CPG industry.

Engaging with consumers in new ways

With more CPGs directly selling their products via e-commerce, instead of only distributing through traditional channels, there are more opportunities for direct engagement with your consumers. If consumers have a question or problem, they're not just calling the 800 number on the back of the package anymore.

There are more ways than ever for consumers to contact your brand, especially across digital channels like messaging, social media, live chat, and voice assistants, where consumers expect very quick responses. Few consumer relations teams can handle the additional workload without some help from automation.

Offering consumer self-service with a smart chatbot across all your digital properties can greatly ease the burden on agents, and allow consumers to get the instant, always-on answers they seek. Leading CPG companies use chatbots to answer routine consumer questions, including:

  • Where can I buy your product?
  • What are the ingredients in the product?
  • Does the product contain gluten or other allergens?
  • What flavors or varieties does this product come in?
  • Where can I get a coupon for this product?

Even with self-service on the front lines of these new forms of engagement, many consumer relations teams face challenges in managing the day-to-day volume and complexity of consumer cases. For example, fulfilling consumer goodwill offers like vouchers and gift cards, placing automatic limits on goodwill per consumer or per agent, and reclaiming unused goodwill via escheatment – all these can be painful without a consumer engagement system that is built to handle these processes effectively.

Managing recalls and brand crises

Product recalls are an unfortunate fact of life in the consumer goods industry. Getting an early warning of an impending crisis can make a world of difference. Complaint and adverse event threshold alerts in the consumer engagement case management system, combined with sophisticated social listening, can provide CPGs with an effective early notification of potential quality issues, allowing them to get in front of the problem.

The average cost of a recall to a food company is $10M in direct costs, in addition to brand damage, lost sales, and litigation costs. (Food Marketing Institute)

In the event of a recall, the same self-service chatbots can be quickly configured to provide the first line of defense, answering consumer questions about whether they're affected based on factors like purchase date and lot number, and initiating the resolution if needed. Instead of consumers waiting on hold for hours – and contact centers being completely flooded with calls – consumers get a resolution in a matter of minutes. Robotic process automation (RPA) can even be leveraged to automatically analyze and approve uploaded consumer photos or receipts for the recalled product instead of requiring them to mail it in.

It's also important to make sure your case management system can be reconfigured on the fly without IT or vendor help, so you can react quickly by building new workflows in as little as 30 minutes.

Finding insights from first-party data

With more and more consumer interactions taking place on digital channels, CPG companies are creating an ever-growing repository of consumer data that can be used to inform decisions on product, quality, marketing and more. It's crucial to collect and store this data in a central repository, and have an analytics toolkit robust enough to find true insights.

First-party consumer data can help identify the root cause of consumer issues, surface new product ideas, and give insight into trends in consumer behavior.

74%
of companies generate new product ideas by mining customer feedback. (Forrester)

One of Astute's CPG customers used first-party consumer data to make a product packaging change that led to significant increases in revenue. Seeing a spike in consumer questions about whether their yogurt products contained gluten (yogurt naturally does not have gluten in it), they simply changed the labeling to indicate the product was gluten-free. As a result, they saw a substantial increase in sales of the product.

Staying compliant with regulations

Many global CPG brands are looking for smarter ways to comply with regulatory communication requirements. They're already spending millions on training for their contact center agents—an average of around $20,000 per employee per year—not to mention one third of their profits annually on litigation.

Ensuring compliance is much easier when your consumer engagement systems effectively provide correct, accurate answers (whether from an agent or automated self-service), capture what consumers are being told at any given time, and maintain a detailed audit trail of cases.

For companies concerned with FDA compliance, pharmacovigilance, or cosmetovigilance, it's important to look for a CRM solution that provides a validated system. CPGs need to be able to easily capture, track, and report on all required data, providing validated system to ensure accurate documentation as required by the FDA.

How CX technology can help

Leading CPG companies like Kraft-Heinz, Kellogg, B&G Foods, and Blue Diamond Growers trust Astute with their most valuable consumer interactions.

Agent desktop built for efficiency and accuracy. Astute's case management platform guides agents through every step of consumer interactions, providing context, suggestions for next best action, and consistent answers to questions, while reducing escalations and cutting down on training time.

Consumer self-service including product locator technology. Astute's chatbot can engage in conversation with consumers who have questions or complaints, providing reliable, accurate answers, regardless of channel or device. Astute can also automatically escalate urgent interactions to the live agent best equipped to handle it.

Brand crisis management. Using social listening, sentiment analysis, and threshold reporting, the Astute system can alert you to an emerging crisis and enable you to identify the root cause and respond in real time. Business users can quickly reconfigure to capture whatever new case fields may be needed to effectively resolve recall-related cases.

Regulatory compliance. Astute's systems capture history and perform audit tracking for every element of consumer cases, as well as offer the ability to configure security, limits, layouts, and other parameters based on the user’s role. We offer validated systems for easier FDA compliance. We also enable easier GDPR and CCPA compliance with features like flagging sensitive PII to exclude from the database.

Insights that make an impact. Capture and analyze first-party consumer data to make insightful decisions about product, quality, and the core of consumer issues.

Learn more about how Astute can leverage our decades of CPG expertise to create meaningful consumer experience benefits for your company – request a demo of our solutions today.