Gold Winner: Marktplaats.nl Caters to Disparate Customer Groups
Marktplaats.nl already had two very different customer groups when it decided to add a third. An eBay company and the largest commerce site in the Netherlands, Marktplaats' customers include the people who sell items on its site and those who buy them. Recently, the company began selling banner ads on the site as well, which brought an entirely different set of interests into the mix. After realizing the difficulty in accommodating three different customer groups, the company developed a CRM strategy to better manage customer information, says Floris Regouin, products and process improvement manager.
"In the past we had a home-grown system that was really just an order management system," he says. "We wanted to have one view of the customer and one way of dealing with marketing, sales, and service as they related to our customer relationships." Using the on-demand CRM solution from RightNow Technologies, Marktplaats.nl is now able to segment its customer database, track activity on its website, and measure everything from satisfaction to problem resolution. The company began with its service department, checking the data it already collected for accuracy before rolling out the system to marketing, sales, and finance.
By segmenting customers and analyzing their value to the company, Marktplaats.nl can now customize its approach based on each group's lifecycle. Advertisers, for example, are a low-volume segment that brings in high revenue, so salespeople focus on personalized interactions. For buyers and sellers, which tend to be higher volume and a lower revenue, the support team moderates forums and focuses on increasing efficiency.
"In the past we had several clusters of information and no single view of the customer," Regouin says. "Today we can track every metric, including the most important: the relationship between customer satisfaction and revenue generation." Marktplaats' customer satisfaction score has increased 7 percent in the past year. Customer acquisition is up 25 percent and email answer time is down 55 percent. Additionally, data accuracy has increased from 75 to 90 percent. As a result of these efficiencies, customer churn is down, support staff have more time for customer interactions, and marketing can better coordinate with sales for more synchronized campaigns.
One of the biggest changes is a centralized dashboard. Regouin says it was difficult at first to get people to think outside of silos, but that Marktplaats needed every department onboard to be successful. His team met with each department to understand their specific needs from the database, and made sure that information could be delivered via the dashboard when it was needed. To ensure accurate data, any employee can request a data clean-up, and there are designated members of each team responsible for honoring that request promptly.
As each phase of the CRM initiative showed signs of success, Regouin rolled out the next phase. The plan is to fully implement the strategy by the end of the year. Still, the increased customer insight and efficiency improvements aren't enough to make him sit back and relax. "Even now we're trying to further segment customers so we can target them better," Regouin says. "We're constantly monitoring our numbers and thinking of ways to continuously improve them."
Silver Winner: Nikon Captures the Right Picture of Its Customers
Nikon didn't used to know its customers. The third parties that primarily sold its products in the past were very knowledgeable, and Nikon itself rarely had to handle customer interactions. Today, however, the digital camera market has exploded and sales are often handled by big-box stores whose employees don't have the expertise that specialty camera stores' staff do.
"Our business model has definitely changed in recent years," says David Dentry, general manager of the technical support group. "It's become important for us to talk directly to our consumers, which required a CRM system." Nikon had used RightNow Technologies for seven years for some support functions, but when the company began assembling a customer database it turned to RightNow for a CRM solution as well. Prior to that, outsourced survey companies collected most of Nikon's data. Today Nikon handles its surveys internally and measures customer satisfaction itself.
As a result of organizing its customer data, Nikon has improved service response rates by 50 percent, reduced call response times by 70 percent, and increased survey response rates from 20 to 60 percent.
"We have a 95 percent satisfaction rate now, up from just receiving negative feedback before," Dentry says. "We have such a wide breadth of information on who our customers are that we even do targeted surveys for new products and adjusting our existing products." Nikon now owns its customer relationship from the time customers contact the company with a comment or question to following up through the marketing and sales departments long after that initial interaction.
"We've realized that customers see us very differently from how we're organized internally. We've tried to overcome that by increasing our visibility and asking for their concerns and feedback."
Bronze Winner: BigMachines Strives for Efficiency
Two years ago Big Machines relied on spreadsheets, individual documents, and manual entry to store its customer information. Despite selling technology for improving business processes, the company needed to integrate its own data and make its customer interactions more efficient.
"At the highest level, the objective for using customer lifecycle software was data optimization and integrating all our customer-related processes," says Mei-lin Cheng, vice president of customer services. "Before we implemented our new CRM initiatives, our system was too manually driven."
Big Machines had used Salesforce.com for its prospect and lead management system since 2005, and added the customer service component in 2007 as part of developing a customer-centric strategy. Big Machine created a customer success manager position, once the infrastructure for tracking customer interactions was in place. He is responsible for speaking to every customer regularly,
and measuring how satisfied the customer is with their support and relationship with Big Machines. The company plans to add more customer success managers as its customer base grows.
Every department within the company is affected by the change, from sales to support. When Big Machines' professional services department engages with the customer during an implementation, they input data about what the customer installed and what tools they use into the CRM system. When the sales team has an upsell opportunity, they now have all that information at their fingertips.
Customer service can also access information on all previous transactions when a ticket is created, so they don't have to ask customers for that information. As a result, Big Machines is able to respond within two hours to nearly all cases.
"Our theme is 'our customers' success is our success,' and at the end of the day we care most about customer satisfaction," Cheng says. "We're incrementally making progress in that area, and as our customers change, our organization will change to accommodate them."