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Global Pulp News Customer survey: The results are in

Customer survey: The results are in

When it comes to innovation, a new idea is only a good one if it appeals to the customer. That’s one of the reasons why conducting regular customer surveys is so important to Södra Cell: Understanding what our customers think of us and anticipating what they may need in the future is key to remaining at the forefront of what we do.

Our latest customer survey took the form of 11 in depth face-to-face interviews and a broad web survey. The study was worded in such a way as to make customers rate certain criteria in order of importance.  

Marcus Hellberg, Head of Marketing and Business Development, explains: “If we don’t force choice, the customer has a tendency to say that everything is important, but we wanted some meaningful feedback to really understand where customers’ priorities lie.” 

There were some pleasing results, especially given that the startup of Värö’s new line was not without its challenges. On ‘attitude and loyalty’, Södra scored an all-time high with 45% of respondents very positive and 55% positive. Some 91% said they would choose Södra as a supplier again. 

When asked to name three things that Södra does particularly well, relationships stood out as our single most important strength (64%) followed by products (55%) and communication (45%). Interestingly, relationships also featured again when respondents were asked how Södra could improve to add value. 

“We received a clear message that our customers want to see us optimise our processes for them,” says Hellberg, “they want innovation to target them and their needs rather than pursue totally new markets or products, and they would like to see the whole service package enhanced, from logistics to invoicing. Around a third of all our deliveries arrive at the customer’s gate via a partner in the supply chain, be it a forwarder, port terminal or agent, so taking care of a shipment right the way through the chain is of the utmost importance. 

Consistent product quality was a given when it came to expectations, as well as on-time deliveries and the rapid handling of complaints and professional service. 

Interestingly, FSC was seen as an increasingly important tool and certified pulp emerged as the top answer for sustainability concerns, followed by the social/ethical/corporate aspects of sustainability, which is a relatively new trend. Sustainable forestry is still a clear environmental priority for our customers and certified pulp is seen as a commercial advantage. And when asked to predict their main challenges in the near term, customers cited cost pressures and sustainability in equal measure. 

“We are very grateful to all those who took part,” adds Hellberg. “This feedback is immensely helpful as we seek to improve our own processes and product offerings. 

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