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Connecting with Our Customers in New Ways

Posted 05/26/2020 by Kimberlee Sinclair, Director Global Communications

For the last couple of months, countries have been encouraged to lock down and enforce social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, causing many businesses to temporarily close offices and enforce flexible working opportunities. Since H.B. Fuller is a global company with presence in 42 countries, we already had systems in place to effectively work remotely. But, connecting with customers in this new ecosystem has forced us to approach our business interactions differently. Read on for how we are leveraging technology in new, exciting ways to effectively communicate and support customers during these uncertain times.

 

Video Conferencing

We find video conferencing to be a powerful substitute for in-person communications, allowing us to use them to provide virtual tech service so that we can troubleshoot our customers’ adhesives issues remotely.

 

For instance, one of our new customers recently purchased new window profile wrapping equipment and had planned a line startup with onsite help from an H.B. Fuller expert and their OEM agent. But, given the escalating COVID-19 situation, and in order to prevent delays, the OEM agent and other experts pivoted and held a virtual startup and demo using video conferencing software. We successfully aided in the new line installation and startup completely virtually, giving our customer the peace of mind and knowledge necessary to make profiles using adhesive/primer combinations.

 

Virtual Tech Services

We understand that, regardless of shutdowns and travel restrictions, manufacturers still need quick access to technical help, which is why we’re providing fast diagnostics with on-demand customer support from our expert engineers via phone, email, WhatsApp, and FaceTime.

 

Recently, our team relied on virtual services to work with a paper straw manufacturer. We set up a meeting and answered questions via live chat about paper quality, techniques and adhesive selection, in addition to answering follow-up questions via email.

 

Online Trainings

When travel bans were enacted, we ramped up our virtual training sessions and webinars so that we could continue to consult effectively with our customers. Our sales reps continue to hold live demos to showcase featured products directly from their own homes, allowing customers to stream the sessions.

 

Virtual platforms have given us the ability to reach a wider audience than normal. Pre-recorded demos can reach multiple locations, and we’ve had very positive feedback from customers about the level of engagement demonstrated during these sessions (one H.B. Fuller sales rep recently commented that training a team of over 30 people was actually made easier — and more engaging — by doing so online). And, these trainings have actually positively affected the face-to-face experience that simply cannot be replicated over the phone alone.

 

We’re also using webinars to launch new products, having filmed the products with cameras in our facilities and placing special emphasis on the features and benefits. Then, we followed up with customers by mailing samples so that they could test the products. Though we’d much prefer to be present with the customers, our webinars and subsequent samples have proved invaluable in moving the work along.

 

E-Commerce

We continue to make online adhesives ordering faster, easier, and more personalized. Our new online store in North America has a self-service portal that allows customers to check the status of an order, download documents pertaining to an order, and track shipments. Additionally, customers can manage orders that have not yet shipped, view real-time information on products, save repeat orders for faster ordering, and access 24/7 online customer support.

 The new customer portal in Europe can be found here

FullVision™

Our FullVision™ reporting system was developed to target adhesive specifications and track line performance against industry benchmarks for end-of-line applications. Customers can monitor and improve quality and plant productivity remotely by simply exporting their raw data from the adhesives tracking system and uploading the raw data to hbfuller.com/fullvision at which point they’ll instantly receive an actionable report.

 

Wearable Glass

Currently, we have a handful of customers using smart glasses that help remote workers remove distractions, which is particularly exciting for us as they have a built-in head-up display (HUD) that lets users access training videos, instructions, and checklists. We’re excited to use this new technology to help keep our workforce focused, improve accuracy, and allow our teams to collaborate remotely with customers.

 

Social Media

We maintain our presence on the most popular social media platforms and continue to share thought leadership pieces about topics affecting our customers, such as the current COVID-19 situation, how it’s affecting our business, important messages for our customers from our CEO.

 

Our sales teams also have been relying heavily on social media to share valuable content about new ways of doing business and how products are using new adhesives (such as how an automotive manufacturer can now produce critically needed medical supplies).

 

Drop Us a Line

COVID-19 has hit businesses hard, but H.B. Fuller continues to find creative new ways to reach customers and help with their adhesives requirements. Whether you need help troubleshooting a problem, are seeking further training, or simply looking for the most up-to-date information, we’re here to support. Contact a member of our team today.

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