AkzoNobel opens Customer Centre at Dulux HQ

14 July 2016

AkzoNobel UK has opened a brand new Customer Centre at its decorative paint headquarters in Slough, housing a pioneering Virtual Reality suite, which will enable retailers to immerse themselves in the Dulux customer experience and view product innovations before they go to market.

The 6400ft2 facility includes an innovation lab and ‘living zone’ furnished and finished by Dulux colour and design experts, to bring current and future decorative trends to life. Other features include a showcase store environment, indoor and outdoor hospitality spaces.

The centrepiece of the new facility is a Virtual Reality installation, which offers retailers the opportunity to create and trial potential store layouts, so that they can instantly weigh up the impact, convenience and fit of different in-store display options, before products hit the shelves.

The opening of the Customer Centre coincides with the appointment of former GlaxoSmithKline marketer, Jenny Hall to a brand new role as Customer Experience and Transformation Director. Jenny, who joined AkzoNobel in 2011, has undertaken a series of senior marketing roles across the Consumer and Trade business, most recently leading a strategic review of Dulux’s stores network.

Jenny leads a newly formed Customer Experience team, with the objective of developing a world-class customer experience for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK and Ireland. The new structure reflects AkzoNobel’s wider ambition to drive all future growth through a customer-centric ethos.

Matt Pullen, Managing Director of AkzoNobel UK & Ireland said: "AkzoNobel are committed to constantly improving Customer Experience and the new Customer Centre delivers a real step change in that experience.

"It means our product and service offer is more tailored to individual customers’ needs and employs technology, such as Virtual Reality to help customers to visualise and optimise store layouts and experiment with new design options. The centre is also the perfect showcase to lift the lid on product and service innovations before they come to market.

"This facility is designed to cement AkzoNobel’s place as an industry leader in marketing, category management, technology and design, allowing us to explore new business opportunities and work collaboratively to unlock future growth in our industry.”

Regarding Jenny Hall’s appointment, Matt Pullen added: "Jenny is a highly talented colleague who has made a major contribution to the success of AkzoNobel brands in the UK over the past five years. Her new role recognises that to drive future growth and differentiation in the market, we need to adopt a customer-centric approach.

"She leads a brand new team from across the business with the clear objective of putting the Customer at the Heart of our business, ensuring that we are focused on delivering a world class customer experience that ensures our brands and our business are first choice for all our customers.”

Commenting on her new position, Jenny Hall, Customer Experience and Transformation Director for AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK & Ireland said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen to lead the new Customer Experience team.

"Our objective will be to inspire and create organisational change to deliver an unrivalled customer experience and, in turn, generate new commercial opportunities, competitive advantage, employee engagement and ultimately customer loyalty.

"The combination of this new team and the opening of our amazing new Customer Centre will enhance customer experiences and ultimately move us closer to our goal of inspiring and enabling beautiful living spaces for all.”

This is part of a drive by AkzoNobel to harness innovations and technologies, which set new standards for the industry and crucially put the needs of the customer first.

Dulux Amazing Space was launched in October 2015: a pioneering online interior design service provided by Dulux Design Experts and including a 30min consultation, a personalised digital style guide and a 3D room visualisation making design and colour expertise accessible for all.

The Dulux Visualiser App: an easy to use smartphone app that lets you pick a colour from any source and, with augmented reality technology, allows you to see the colours come to life in your living space.

The Dulux Academy: launched in March 2016 next to the Customer Centre at AkzoNobel Decorative Paints HQ, the Academy will enable more than 4000 people every year including professional decorators, store staff and employees to receive advanced training on product knowledge, application techniques and the essential principles of colour, design and sustainability. The Academy will also equip decorators with the skills to build, run and promote a successful business.

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