An electric shock in Esplanaden

A recent “town hall” style speech by Bjorn Vang Jensen of Electrolux, a key client of Maersk Line, provided an electric shock to inspire the commercial organisation. Meanwhile, the Maersk Line mobility app has caught on with customers at an electric rate of its own.

Maersk Post 2 2017
Maersk Line has a strong focus on regaining customer’s trust and building its license to sell and grow.

When Bjorn Vang Jensen, Vice President of Global Logistics at the Electrolux Group, a key client of Maersk Line, gave a ‘town hall’ style speech to an auditorium of Maersk employees at the Esplanaden offices in Copenhagen, one woman in my row described it as “an electric shock”.

Maersk Line has a strong focus on regaining the trust of its customers and building its license to sell and grow - Vang Jansen was invited to speak and share his views on this. He talked to the Commercial organisation on the “good, the bad and the ugly” of his experiences as a customer of Maersk Line, and about where he could see opportunities for the shipping company to do a better job.

The Electrolux Group is a Swedish company with 47 factories and 150 offices spread across all continents. The company is a global leader in kitchen appliances with an estimated 1.2 billion people using Electrolux products worldwide. When the approved takeover of Hamburg Sud goes ahead, Maersk will be responsible for over 50% of their logistics.

Focus on sustainability

Only the sound of scribbled note taking could be heard as Vang Jensen gave a comprehensive range of varied feedback. He particularly praises Maersk Line’s focus on sustainability, stating:

“You are totally focused on sustainability and this is one of the areas where we really connect with you. We live and breathe it. We don’t do anything in our company unless we can prove that there is a sustainability element to it. You must never lose that focus - it’s becoming a much bigger focus for a lot of Beneficiary Cargo Owners (BCOs) and will only grow in importance.

“On a “scorecard”, Maersk Line gets five stars for having a strong focus on sustainability and mutual growth. An area where Vang Jensen’s scorecard suggests there is room for improvement is on “the presence of competent, accessible, highly responsive and reasonably empowered Key Client Managers”. He gave the shipping company three stars here, advising that Key Client Managers be given further empowerment:

“We have an awesome key account manager, but there is standing joke in the BCO community that you can predict the response to any email you send to Maersk - i.e. “checking and reverting”. It was the same when I worked there in 1986. There are other carriers out there who have very empowered key client managers, so you might want to consider, within reason,  empowering your key client managers further so that they too can make snap decisions,” says Vang Jensen.

We need to take responsibility

Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer, Vincent Clerc, challenges the organisation to “make snappy decisions and give things a try”. While he acknowledges the organisation’s hard work, he claims there is still much to be done and that taking the reins to of the company requires “winning at the micro level on a day-to-day basis, which is just as important as winning big.”

At our desks, we need to take responsibility to become easier to do business with, so that our disappointing net promotor scores become a thing of the past.

Vincent Clerk

Vincent Clerc, Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer

He explains that innovation and continuous improvement can occur at a micro level: “At our desks, we need to take responsibility to become easier to do business with, so that our disappointing net promotor scores (customer feedback) become a thing of the past,” he says.

Clerc emphasis that the levers are in place, along with the mandate and support from the management team, to ensure the Must Win Battle of the Customer First strategy is attainable. This strategy rallies everyone in the company to put the customer in the centre of everything that happens, with the ambition of radically improving the customer offer.

Workshops and user tests

Amongst those leading the way in terms of innovation and making “snappy decisions” is the eCommerce team. In October 2016, they launched the mobility app, which allows customers to track their shipments live, receive constant live updates on their cargo, check all Maersk Line schedules and offers, share information with Maersk Line and consult a guide to shipping, all via their mobile phones.

Since then, the app has been a huge success. By the end of April there had been 45,000 downloads across all brands, with a retention rate close to 15%. The average retention rate for business apps is between 7-8%.

Head of eCommerce, Carsten Frank Olsen, explains that the secret had been close collaboration, and in some instances even co-creation with customers:

“We held workshops and user tests with a range of customers which we incorporated into the final product. It shows that staying close to customers and their needs and requirements yields a positive outcome,” Olsen says.

One of the app’s biggest fans is none other than Bjorn Vang Jensen, who was gushing in his praise for it in his “town hall speech”, declaring:

“I love the new app, I sincerely do, it’s the best out there and it’s obviously the direction we’re all going in - IT and Maersk - it just works”. He rated Maersk Line five stars for “scalability and decent technology that can interact with those of Electrolux.”

With the mobility app signalling just the start of Maersk Line’s digital journey, there is good reason to hope that the next wave of electricity to hit Esplanaden will be less of a shock and more of a surge of excitement.