During Salesforce Live: Benelux, some of our most innovative and exciting customers shared their experience, knowledge, and advice. Following its success, we’ll be sharing a series of blogs capturing the key insights. If you were there, enjoy the recap. Or if you missed it, you can catch up here.

To kick off the series, two inspirational leaders reveal how to create a great customer experience in today’s challenging environment:

About Torfs

Elke Laeremans is CIO/COO at Belgian shoe company Torfs. With more than 70 stores across Belgium and a thriving online shop serving the Netherlands and France, Torfs uses Salesforce solutions including Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud to ensure a connected, seamless experience for its customers.  

About Lely

André van Troost is CEO at Lely, the market leader in milking, feeding, and cleaning robots. An innovative company that constantly brings new products to market, Lely optimises engagement with farmers with Sales Cloud.  

Read on to uncover tips from Elke Laeremans, CIO/COO at Belgian shoe company Torfs, and André van Troost, CEO at Dutch farming robotics company Lely.


1. Show your customers love across the entire journey

It’s important to show your customers how much you care, whether that’s in person or online. Retailers such as Torfs were massively impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, with stores closed for more than four months. 

But with a little digital intelligence and a lot of love for its customers, the company has been able to thrive. “At Torfs, we don’t just talk about the customer experience, we talk about customer love,” explains Laeremans. 

We’ve been putting the customers at the heart of everything we do in stores for more than 70 years, and now, we’re doing the same digitally.”

Elke Laeremans, CIO/COO at Torfs

By focusing your efforts on the user at every stage of the digital journey, like Torfs, you can create an experience that makes every customer feel appreciated and looked after, which will keep them coming back. 


2. Keep customer engagement personal after the sale

After-sales care is a vital part of the customer journey. With digital channels, it can be hard to make it personal. Yet, by providing easy access to information and automating repetitive tasks, you can free up service reps to have more meaningful customer conversations. 

For example, Lely has 40,000 milking robots installed around the world, collecting data from two million cows. These devices are regularly serviced to ensure they continue to work effectively and to keep farmers happy. 

It also uses the data it captures to advise its customers on how to optimise their businesses. But great after-sales care doesn’t just keep its existing customers satisfied; it also helps Lely win new ones. 

“There’s lots of trust between farmers, so word-of-mouth recommendations are really important for us to tap into the 80% of the market that’s yet to invest in farming robotics,” says van Troost.

We try to make sure that every customer gets a service experience that we’d want them to share.”

André van Troost, CEO at Lely

3. Value and empower your employees

Customer references are undoubtedly a great asset, but so are internal ambassadors. Torfs was recognised as the Best Employer in Belgium by Great Place to Work for 10 years in a row. It’s using digital innovation to help keep its staff satisfied and motivated. “If you have happy employees, you will have happy customers,” explains Laeremans. 

When it comes to innovation, our focus is on helping our people become more empowered and do their jobs more easily.”

Elke Laeremans

To achieve this goal, each Torfs store has a digital ambassador who is responsible for ensuring digital initiatives align with their day-to-day work and customer engagement. This approach was key to the company’s success during lockdown. 

By combining digital and instore resources with click and collect capabilities, Torf was able to make its employees a part of the digital solution and keep them in work. 


4. Be proud of what you do and connect from the heart

The final piece of advice from our experts is to be proud of what you do and connect from the heart. For van Troost, this means focusing on sustainability by helping farmers reduce nitrogen emissions. 

Emissions have massively reduced over the last 20 years thanks to farmers’ efforts. And Lely is helping them advance further with its ground-breaking fertiliser system that captures and re-uses 70% of nitrogen emissions. 

“If you believe in what you’re doing, it shows and will influence your customers,” says van Troost. “Our purpose at Lely is to help farmers feed the world, and it’s a purpose I believe in 100%.”

And for Laeremans, it’s about keeping close to her employees and her customers. “I think if there's one thing that the past year has shown us, it’s crucial to keep a connection from the heart,” she advises. “Keep connecting with people, keep on being yourself, and help others wherever you can.”

We all know how important customer experience is and how you deliver it depends upon your organisation, customers, and engagement channels. There are some fundamentals for success that are relevant for all sectors across the B2B/B2C divide. So regardless of whether you’re selling shoes to consumers like Torfs or robotics to farmers like Lely, there’s a lot to learn.

Download the 4th Edition of the State of the Connected Customer report to get insights from over 15,000 global consumers and business buyers on a new area of customer engagement.