2020 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Customer Service Excellence

Leading through service, reliability and creating a customer-centric culture.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goalsindustry, innovation and infrastructure

Why Customer Service Excellence Matters

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

Customer Service Excellence 2019:

For over 140 years, customers have relied on Greif’s industrial packaging to ship their most important products. They depend on our business acumen and ability to quickly and reliably provide quality packaging. Our value and technical expertise have set us apart from our competitors for over a century. We focus on meeting our customers’ expectations, a key aspect of Greif’s vision of, in industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world. We are committed to finding the best ways to serve our customers.



Customer Service Excellence Award Winners

Honoring our facilities that demonstrated best-in-class customer service performance throughout 2020.

The Greif Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Team, led by our Chief Administrative Officer, manages our customer service practices and policies. The CSE team is comprised of 10 representatives from various business units and regions within Greif. The team meets monthly to discuss customer service initiatives, while tracking progress on Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and Net Promoter Score (NPS)—our measures of customer satisfaction and likelihood of a customer recommending Greif to others. Our CSE Team partners with all global business units to share best practices, improve communications, drive processes, engage cross-functional leaders and develop a curriculum and training to bolster our colleagues’ skills and behaviors related to providing exceptional customer service.

Our Global Commercial Excellence team supports our CSE Team through improved structure and alignment to sales, communications, market research and pricing functions. This structure also allows us to better organize around the key markets that Greif serves, ultimately improving our ability to address the unique needs of each customer we serve. Every Greif colleague supports our customer service efforts through everyday behaviors and advancing our operational excellence.

Every Greif professional colleague receives CSE training. During this training, these colleagues focus on developing seven CSE skills. As each colleague advances in the program, peers provide feedback to each other, reinforcing learning on a daily basis and helping to instill the customer service culture we are working to achieve. The CSE training is offered through a blended facilitated and online program as well as fully online modules. Online CSE training is offered in 19 languages. We use this training to provide our customer service professionals with the skills and tools they need to provide the best service possible to both internal and external customers. Over 3,000 of our professional colleagues have completed this training and all new hires are required to complete it via online modules. We will begin developing CSE training for our manufacturing colleagues, building on the success and learnings of the professional colleagues program, in 2021.

Across Greif, we view feedback collected from our NPS survey as an opportunity to address our customers’ concerns and provide corrective actions when necessary. After each NPS survey, we connect with all respondents and focus on engaging each survey detractor – a customer that rates Greif poorly – to understand their perspective and create improvement plans addressing their concerns. As a result of these engagements, we are focusing on improving our communication with our customers, proactively engaging them so they have the time to respond to communications appropriately – one of the seven skills we are teaching our colleagues through training. We continue to leverage the increased customer interactions that accompany each survey into enhanced service offerings for our customers and better strategic insight into their business needs.

In 2020, we conducted a Voice of the Customer project engaging over 600 Greif customers through interviews and surveys. Through these engagements, we worked to determine additional insight into our customer satisfaction scores and better understand what factors lead to lower CSI scores. Based on our learnings, we are improving our speed and responsiveness to customer requests and improving our approach to issue resolution and communication. We are developing specific work streams to solve the internal pain points that we face to better answer customer requests.

Customers also communicated a clear need for sustainable products. In response, we are adding sustainability performance indicators focused on meeting with customers, identifying clear objectives and setting post-consumer resin (PCR) product targets for each facility that produces PCR. The Global Industrial Packaging Leadership Team monthly tracks these sustainability performance indicators. We are also training additional colleagues in EMEA and APAC as well as our sales force on the Greif Green Tool and how to support our customers’ sustainability targets.

We are evaluating the quality of our sales visits through analysis and coaching sessions by sales leaders. Our sales account managers are more prepared than ever to address our customers’ needs and provide quality visits with our customers. To ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a series of webinars and virtual plant tours. Our webinars covered topics such as sustainability, product deep dives and innovation. Through this virtual approach, we were able to conduct more plant visits than prior years. In total, we hosted over 1,200 customers in virtual meetings during 2020 and received positive feedback from those involved.

Our virtual webinars and plant tours contributed to the continued advancement of our strategy to develop new opportunities and expand our small plastics and jerrycan business. Through these engagements and full support from management, we identified solutions to potential challenges including supply chain issues in Russia. In Italy and Russia, we are installing machines to produce small plastics and jerrycans for a multinational company to use across their agricultural, chemical, food and pharmaceutical businesses.

In 2021, we will continue implementing changes based on the findings of our Voice of the Customer research and engage more customers via virtual tours. We will also develop deeper industry-specific insights to be even better consultative partners with our customers.


Our long-term objective is for each business segment to achieve a CSI score of 95 or greater. We have seen continued increase in both NPS and CSI performance since 2015 despite challenges posed by constraints and delays due to COVID-19 this year. Our success in improving our NPS score is a result of our colleagues’ daily efforts to advance customer intimacy and identify action items to improve customer service excellence. We offer continuous training to our customer service colleagues to ensure we are always improving our ability to deliver value to our customers.

Customer Satisfaction Index












FY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019FY 2020
Net Promoter Score




















NOV 2015MAY 2016NOV 2016MAY 2017NOV 2017MAY 2018NOV 2018MAY 2019NOV 2019FY 2020

*In 2020 Greif transitioned to conducting our NPS survey once annually.

Highlight Stories
Highlight Stories

Huayou Cobalt Supplier of the Year

In 2020, Huayou Cobalt named Greif’s Flexible Products & Services business in China the “Excellent Supplier of the Year” for their commitment to understanding and delivering upon the exact needs of their customer. Greif supplies three Huayou Cobalt plants with a variety of big bag products. This award is the fifth consecutive year Greif has been recognized with this award and our latest achievement in a partnership that started in 2013.