Liquigas Malta Limited is a joint venture company between Multigas Limited, a Maltese company in the business of industrial gases, and Liquigas Spa, the largest supplier of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Italy, in which SHV Energy (a privately held Dutch company that is the largest supplier of LPG in the world) has a shareholding.
Liquigas Malta was established in October 2008 following the privatisation of the government-owned Gas Division of Enemalta Corporation. Today the company is the largest supplier of LPG in Malta, in LPG-filled cylinders, bulk LPG (for hotels, industry, and large domestic use), as well as Auto Liquigas since May 2012, introducing autogas in Malta as a cheaper, cleaner and safer alternative to unleaded petrol.
The Business Challenge
The gas energy sector although regulated, is undergoing constant change, and companies like Liquigas need to improve and adapt to new work practices in order to thrive in such a competitive and dynamic landscape. As the market for gas in Malta for domestic and commercial (e.g. hotels, restaurants, etc.) is relatively small and also quite seasonal for the domestic, Liquigas has long recognised the need to diversify and enhance its services so as to respond to demand in an efficient and effective manner whilst maintaining its position ahead of the competition – especially on the basis of quality of service and safety, which are the principal hallmarks of the company.
To take the guesswork out of meeting evolving expectations, the energy company needed to get closer to thousands of local consumers and enterprise customers. Through the implementation of Salesforce, Liquigas is now on the road to becoming a truly customer-centric organisation.
“To achieve our long-term goals, we needed a platform that gives us 360-degree visibility of our business and customers and the agility to react to the ever-changing energy landscape.” said Stephen L. Muscat, CFO at Liquigas.
Nurturing diverse customer relationships
Liquigas has been a leading operator in the field of supply and distribution of LPG gas for a number of years after it successfully participated in the privatisation of what was previously a state-run monopoly. It supplies thousands of households in Malta and Gozo through its relationship with a number of distributors and business partners who provide the delivery service to homes and businesses.
Liquigas has a business-to-business (B2B) division, mainly in the supply of LPG in bulk to hotels, industries, restaurants, sports organisations, large homes, and other bulk users of gas.
The energy provider had always wanted to take steps to nurture customer relationships with both its bulk and domestic customers but was not equipped well enough in terms of a customer data solution to do so. This was further complicated by the reality on the ground that most of the domestic customer relationships were by and large owned by the distributors. That said, Liquigas started to interact with domestic customers through its phone and web channels as well as its call-centre team. Furthermore, given the safety requirements, the commercial customers also started interacting more frequently with Liquigas directly.
Strong user adoption fuels CRM success
Implementing a sophisticated feature-rich Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform was key to Liquigas’ customer-centric strategy. And Roberto Capelluto, the Liquigas CEO was determined to make the initiative a success, so he turned to the people on the front line. “When CRM projects fail, it’s rarely because of system or implementation issues; it comes down to poor user adoption,” he explained. “A lot of people in our sales and service teams had never used CRM before and needed to be convinced it was the best choice for our company.”
Liquigas went live with Salesforce Sales Cloud covering both Commercial and Domestic customer sales in 2019 and the team of Salesforce users couldn’t be happier. “We got the sales and service teams up and running really quickly, which unlocked the 360-degree view of the customer we wanted,” said Muscat. “Strong user buy-in has been the biggest success factor for our CRM transformation.”
Better visibility drives greater efficiency
Sales Cloud underpins the whole B2B sales cycle, helping the team to secure repeat business with its enterprise customers and nurture prospects. It also enables the planning of deliveries and taking of orders through multiple channels, including online through the company website as well as over the phone. It also caters for the scheduling of site visits in the case of commercial bulk customer prospects who are looking to install a gas tank.
With Sales Cloud, the commercial sales team can create an opportunity, which triggers operations planning and customer engagement much earlier than in the past. Appointment scheduling and onsite inspection reports can be recorded in Sales Cloud and stakeholders are given status updates on key processes.
With smarter processes and richer reporting, it’s not just the sales team benefitting from better visibility. “Senior managers can tap into sales insights to see where we can increase efficiency and track how customer relationships are developing,” said Muscat. “We’re currently using this information to help reduce customer churn within our B2B accounts.”
Aligned teams deliver more seamless customer experience
Collaboration between sales and services teams is also easier, which results in a more joined-up experience for Liquigas’ customers. For example, sales managers can see if there are any open service cases before setting up a meeting with a Bulk customer.
Liquigas has also empowered its delivery drivers’ team with a custom app built on the Salesforce Platform.
“We want to offer maximum value to our customers,” explained Muscat. “The app makes it easier for our drivers to indicate when an order has been delivered, or if not, the reason why, as well as opening the opportunity for drivers not to simply deliver orders but actually take new ones as well as sell if they have the requisite gas cylinders on board at the time.” The app built on Salesforce Community Cloud also reduces the administrative overhead and increases transparency. The Salesforce CRM can be accessed via a mobile device or desktop and is integrated with Liquigas’ financial management system as well as its website.
Encouraging continuous improvement and innovation
Stephen L. Muscat with the help of the iMovo team closely monitors feedback from the different users of Salesforce to help optimise and enrich the user experience on an ongoing basis.
“We haven’t started measuring the impact of Salesforce yet, but content users deliver a better customer experience. Salesforce gives us the agility to keep innovating and optimising the platform to meet user needs,” added Muscat. “For example, the sales team wanted a central dashboard to show a customer’s purchase history, so they could see if there was a downward or upward trend.”
Liquigas are already planning the next wave of innovation and hopes to use more advanced analytics to reduce the current reporting overhead internally.
Liquigas gears up for growth in a greener world
Building stronger relationships and boosting customer loyalty will help Liquigas to continue to grow as its industry adapts to a low carbon world. “Sustainability is a huge issue, and we need to be prepared to react quickly to changing customer expectations while still meeting their needs today,” said Muscat. “With Salesforce, we can respond more rapidly to market changes and offer a richer customer experience.”