Fisher & Paykel: We want to be the most human-centred appliance company

The appliance giant has undergone digital transformation with Salesforce to excel in omnichannel customer experiences

Fisher & Paykel has come a long way since its inception in 1934 in New Zealand. This humble antipodean company has grown to be a global appliance powerhouse, yet still prides itself on being human-centred, even while undertaking its digital transformation over the last seven years. 

Executive vice-president of marketing and customer experience at Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Rudi Khoury, took to the stage at the Salesforce World Tour Sydney event to talk all things customer experience (CX)

“Leading the marketing function, there’s always a need to do something better. We strive to make beautiful home appliances, and we want to delight customers when they use our products,” he explained. “We are lucky enough to be in a lot of homes in Australia and New Zealand, but we're also in 30 other countries around the world. So it’s vital we put the customer at the centre of everything.

“This has evolved out of our culture, as being a small company in NZ  had an impact on how we develop as a company.”

Everything from the company culture, to food trends and the environment are influencing the way Fisher & Paykel creates products and services. 

And now it's aiming to be the most human-centred appliance company in the world. What that means is putting the people at the centre of everything, Khoury said. It's not just one person, or one customer either, but employees, teams, and partners as well. 

“We have a lot of partners that sell and distribute our product, so we work at keeping that human part of the business alive," Khoury said. “We sometimes don't know who a customer is until they make contact with us the first time with an issue, because they’ve partnered with one of our retail partners to facilitate a purchase. So when you do come to us and you need help, or you want to know more, that's when we start a relationship. This creates a whole bunch of additional challenges around, how do you know that customer when you haven’t interacted with them yet?”

Digital transformation triggers

It's for this reason that the company embarked on a digital transformation journey seven years ago, and signed up to Salesforce Customer 360 to build a single view of customer.

“For us, it started with sales and marketing. We needed a marketing automation tool so we could communicate with customers better. And then the next opportunity came up, we really wanted to enable our B2B sales team to be more effective," Khoury explained. “With our customer data, we wanted to know what are the other things that we need to do around that customer? We let it happen organically for us. And we always tested whether the next Salesforce product was the right one for us." 

Fast forward a little bit into that impact and end customer experiences became the focal point. As Khoury points out, one of the biggest touchpoints for a brand is its website. Fisher & Paykel introduced Commerce Cloud into to the new build for a beautiful Web experience. This has gone live in the US and Canada and is being built out across the rest of the markets it operates in through this year. 

“We wanted a really agile platform, something that could deliver the experience the way we wanted to and represent the brand the way we wanted to," Khoury said.

"Experience also needs to apply to retail stores. I know personally as a consumer, this is quite often where an experience falls down and I walk into a retail store, and I might have a certain brand or product in mind, but the people within the store don't know enough about the brand or product to be able to sell it 

“We’ve got Sales Cloud, which is enabling our B2B sellers to do things like deliver training, and support the people actually fronting the customer."

In addition to that, fisher & Paykel has built trade portals in communities, to help dealers self-serve. "We get rid of the friction out of transactional work, and that's been really successful for us, as well," Khoury continued.

“In some stores, we have beautiful digital experience, which is meant to be an endless aisle experience for customers, who can create wishlists and save them for later and that's when Marketing Cloud comes in and manages the automation behind those digital experiences."

The Salesforce platform is also bridging this digital and physical gap. A key way is around consumers booking an appointment within the brand's experience centres.

"We've done some extensions to the platform to handle appointment bookings and this is where some of that end user data starts to get collected, so if we communicate in the future, it's more accurate," Khoury said.
“From a post-sales experience, it doesn't doesn't stop once somebody actually purchased, there's a whole support network that goes on behind this." 

Customer expectations in general are changing and they continue to change over time, Khoury said. The job of marketing is to make sure we can keep up. 

“This is one of the reasons why we put in a Service Cloud in, to actually make our employees’ jobs easier, so that they got the right information when interacting with the customer," he said. 

“We still have a lot more to go, because it's never-ending. And I think that's the point of customer service and customer experience; it's ongoing. What you want to do is try and get things like technology out of the way, so you can concentrate on people, service, design, process, that type of thing.

"It's been a seven year journey so far, and it’s continuing.”

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