Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships refers to establishing and continuously enhancing relationships with customers. This includes engaging with customers, taking initiatives to support their goals, ensuring their welfare, and building and developing relationships with mutual trust.

Customer engagement lies at the core of Clariant’s commercial strategy. The company is committed to understanding its cus­tomers’ needs, to adding value for them by delivering innovative, competitive, and sustainable solutions, and to creating con­tinuous, profitable growth. In recent years, Clariant has built additional marketing capabilities in its business units to continue its journey from a product-driven to a customer-centric organization.

Establishing and maintaining relationships with its customers is important for Clariant throughout its complete value chainValue chainThe value chain describes the series of steps in the production process, from raw materials through the various intermediate stages to the finished end product.View entire glossary – from the procurement of raw materials to the end-consumer markets.

Management approach

Management approach

In every Clariant business unit, a global head of marketing leads a dedicated team of marketing professionals. To identify and capture profitable growth opportunities, marketing teams work closely with technical and sales functions.

In January 2021, Clariant’s Commercial Excellence initiative became part of Corporate Planning & Strategy, creating an even stronger bond between building and executing strategies. Corporate Planning & Strategy reports directly to the Executive CommitteeExecutive CommitteeManagement body of joint stock companies; at Clariant the Executive Committee currently comprises four members.View entire glossary . Its pricing, sales, and digital commercial teams support the business units in developing and implementing actionable commercial growth plans.

Customer dialog

Customer dialog

Clariant aims to strengthen the customer experience further. Therefore, it increases interactions through ongoing dialog with existing customers, new prospects, and other partners along the value chainValue chainThe value chain describes the series of steps in the production process, from raw materials through the various intermediate stages to the finished end product.View entire glossary to uncover new business opportunities. Its customer dialog flagship project is the biennial customer satisfaction survey, which provides comprehensive customer feedback. The next survey will take place in 2022.

Clariant also introduced its online customer portal Clarihub, which was used by the Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS) in 2021 to get into direct contact with its customers. The Clarihub portal provides them with an individual overview of their interactions with the company. For example, they can track key metrics or find reference documents. In addition, they receive relevant information such as FAQs and troubleshooting tips, as well as company and product details. While Clarihub provides customers with an extra channel for communication and queries, it is also helpful for Clariant to derive additional oversight and visibility.

In 2021, Clariant sales teams made increasing use of the com­pany’s new customer relationship management system. It provides employees with a guided process, helping them to prepare and manage business opportunities in a transparent and productive manner.


    Continuing operations   Discontinued operations   Total 2021   2020   2019   2018   2017
Customer interviews as part of marketing and strategy initiatives   287   n.a.   n.a.   132   404   538   515
Interviews with industry experts as part of marketing and strategy initiatives   82   n.a.   n.a.   75   144   150   59
Survey responses obtained from customer contacts             1   1 735     1   2 791     1
Customers who want to continue doing business with Clariant (%)             1   88     1   90     1
Customers who plan to intensify the business relationship (%)             1   82     1   77     1
Net Promoter Score (NPS) (%)             1   42     1   29     1
1 Surveys are conducted every two years.
Customer Relationships and COVID-19

Customer Relationships and COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clariant could not conduct its well-tried marketing trainings and workshops in 2021, as they require face-to-face interaction. Nevertheless, the business units conducted regular customer and expert interviews. In addition, Clariant expanded offers to its customers via cross-selling. For example, in 2021, Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties developed an internal engine to identify customers who might benefit from cross-selling. Following a dedicated process, they are provided with specific product offerings in order to increase their satisfaction when they find out that Clariant can fulfill more of their purchasing needs.

Instead of face-to-face dialogs, the company organized more than 100 webinars with 20–500 participants each and enhanced online access via its website. For example, customers of Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties can now order samples and download technical and safety data sheets through an online customer portal.

In China, Clariant started a comprehensive digitalization approach called »Dragon Boat« in 2021. »Dragon Boat« efforts are tailored to Chinese user behavior and Chinese search engines. The first projects focused on WeChat, the most popular local digital platform: A dedicated Chinese website and a chatbot for Business Units Additives and Industrial & Consumer Specialties enable Chinese customers to access product information and a digital interaction with Clariant.

Customer journey

Customer journey

In a global 2021 project, Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties mapped the customer journey for a typical buying process, from the first contact to delivery and invoicing. The project aimed to improve the customer experience, particularly in the form of responsiveness.

From an inside-out point of view, the business unit analyzed the importance of individual touchpoints for customers and compared its performance against competitors. For this purpose, it con­ducted extensive qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in all regions.

To validate this internal perspective, Clariant also interviewed more than 50 customers about the performance of Clariant compared to its competitors regarding all touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

In this project, Clariant identified and prioritized key improvement levers per region. It thoroughly analyzed underlying processes and pivotal touchpoints and made improvements to achieve better responsiveness.

Data-driven strategies

Data-driven strategies

The pricing, sales, and digital commercial teams of Corporate Planning & Strategy accompanied a growing number of data-­driven initiatives on customer segmentation, cost-to-serve analysis, customer engagement, value-based pricing and selling, sales enablement, and cross-selling in 2021.

For example, Clariant introduced algorithm-based price optimization modeling. These algorithms recommend pricing corridors for individual customers and products. This automated process saves significant time for analysis and computation.

Additional price management tools help the company to integrate different perspectives and information, to arrive at optimum prices, and to track them. In 2021, a real-time cost pass-through analysis helped to better control the impact of cost drivers on end prices.

Clariant also started a commercial data-lake project in 2021. From 2022 onwards, the data lake will support the company’s advanced analytics strategy by creating prescriptive and predictive models to transform insights into impact.

Customer privacy

Customer privacy

In 2021, Clariant received no substantial complaints from outside parties or regulatory bodies concerning breaches of customer privacy or losses of customer data. Similarly, Clariant is not aware of any identified leaks, thefts, or losses of customer data.