Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Customer experience is about delivering convenience, control and choice in a personalised way, Australia Post’s new chief customer officer claims.
Speaking at today’s Salesforce Future of Marketing conference in Sydney, Aus Post’s Christine Corbett said it’s not enough for the postal giant to bring personal engagement to customers in the physical realm. It must also replicate the face-to-face personalised experiences and services it has been providing for 207 years in the digital sphere.
Corbett was appointed Australia Post’s first chief customer officer on 1 July, a new position she said reflected the need and desire to put customers first in all organisational decisions. The all-encompassing portfolio includes brand, marketing and community engagement, customer experience and design thinking, plus oversight of all customer channels including retail stores, the contact centre and digital channels and consumer and SMB divisions.
“We needed to ensure that with every business decision, we know who is advocating internally for the customer,” Corbett told attendees. “We’re proud to say we are a customer service organisation, but even that word ‘service’ is coming at the end, not the beginning. The creation of a chief customer office is saying we need to start with the customer.”
The latest executive-level position is one of several step changes being made inside Australia Post as the organisation makes the significant transition from postal and parcel service provider to ecommerce and digital player.
With a workforce of 50,000 people, Corbett said putting customer advocacy front and centre is also about recognising the intersection between things that matter to both customers as well as employees.
Specifically, the key to the future is to help customers in a particular journey, she said. “When you are a consumer, it’s really about online shopping, and making that easier,” she said. “For small businesses, a lot struggle to go online and grow, it’s how to help them do that and increasingly, how they export.
“We have been a company that’s been something to everyone. Rather than being this ubiquitous brand everyone has had some sort of experience with, it’s about starting to personalise that.”
Corbett said Aus Post is using Salesforce as its customer interactions hub. It has rolled out the vendor’s Sales Cloud for its sales teams, contact centre technology for customer service, and is now also using its Marketing Cloud.
“Marketing Cloud has been important in helping us go from email marketing - and we thought we were cool to start doing that a few years ago - to starting to personalise that based on what matters and what that means to an individual,” she said.
As a way of illustrating the changing marketing approach being embraced, Corbett pointed to a ‘collected post’ campaign running for the past two weeks to promote parcel collection services. The campaign is based on segmenting 1 million known customers using different behaviours and journey stages, such as whether they live in an apartment or house, if they’re an active or lapsed online shopper, or if they were away from home when the team first sought to deliver a parcel to their home.
Using these segments, the campaign is delivering a more personalised experience. Aus Post has developed personalised videos, combined emails with Facebook audience insights and Google search, to help tailor messages so customers know what’s available in their local area. Corbett said the objective was to improve that first collection experience.
And she said it’s working. Aus Post has seen a 30 per cent increase in registrations to its collected post services and parcel lockers. Importantly, it’s also had its third-highest week in terms of people using parcel lockers since they launched nearly four years ago. This puts the week on par with the busy Christmas period.
“We put that down to personalising and tailoring based on what journey our customers are on,” she said.
It’s early days, however, and Australia Post needs to move further into the one-on-one space, Corbett said. She noted the organisation is becoming more mature in design-led thinking and bringing customers in early on to co-create the next generation of products and services.
“Design-led thinking, personalising and combining all of our channels will help us put convenience, control and choice into the hands of customers,” she added.