Omni-channel retail core to customer experience for Aussie brands

Aussie brands share their omni-channel retailing efforts and how these tie into their wider customer experience strategies during the Customer360 Symposium

From left: Auto & General's Jonathan Kerr; Optus Business' Karen Platt; Super Retail Group's Kevin McAulay; and NIB Health Fund's Rhod McKensey
From left: Auto & General's Jonathan Kerr; Optus Business' Karen Platt; Super Retail Group's Kevin McAulay; and NIB Health Fund's Rhod McKensey

Ensuring seamless integration between online/offline channels and staff lies at the heart of customer centricity for two Australian brands.

During a panel session at the Customer360 Symposium in the Hunter Valley, representatives from NIB Health Funds and Super Retail Group shared how they are joining the dots between offline and online in order to improve interactions with their customers. In both cases, a clear alignment of staff and process is vital.

NIB Health Funds chief marketing officer (CMO), Rhod McKensey, explained the organisation has established a formal customer framework designed to tackle four key areas of engagement: Reducing failure demands; making it easier for customers to do routine transactions online; providing superior service in ‘moments of truth’; and delivering ‘wow’ experiences.

“What we are trying to do is make customer experience a differentiating factor for our business,” McKensey told attendees.

A dedicated customer service team oversees delivery of the customer plan, and is also responsible for embedding business improvement capabilities and developing a culture of continuous improvement across NIB, he said. Other tasks include refining customer centric processes that improve acquisition, retention as well as internal efficiencies; and developing tools that enable people to have access to the right information at the right time, and in the right format.

As an example of the framework in action, McKensey said NIB launched a systematic program to listen to 600 hours worth of calls to the contact centre and better understand why they were calling. It found 30 per cent of calls were because the brand had failed to do something it promised.

“We do have extensive NPS [Net Promoter Score] usage across the business, but it doesn’t give us the level of insight we achieved by listening to those calls,” he claimed.

One consistent problem for customers was that their membership card didn’t work when they went to visit the dentist or optometrist. Although call centre consultants had devised a workaround, what NIB needed to do was dig deeper to find the root of the problem and reason to call, McKensey said.

It turned out that when Australia got rid of $0.01 and $0.02 currency, IT had designed systems to not support transactions unless they were rounded to $0.05.

“The only way to discover that is through deep diving into what the real issues were,” McKensey said. “Our goal is to get these [failure demands] to zero, but it’s a hard thing to do and there is no silver bullet to deal with the problem.”

Another core NIB objective is to provide superior service across the customer lifecycle, such as when an individual joins, is thinking about leaving, has a change in lifestyle and amends their policy, or goes to hospital.

Exceeding customer expectations is a major theme of the Customer360 Symposium, and McKensey said NIB is also looking at how to achieve the ‘wow’ factor more regularly. One recent example is giving customers the ability to take a photo of a claim on their mobile phone and have it processed within 24 hours.

At Super Retail Group, general manager of marketing, Kevin McAulay, said its customer approach online ties into the wider knowledge that its products are a “means to an end” for customers. The retailer is focused on aligning online and offline through staff and technology.

“We realise now that consumers often have more information at hand than our own teams in-store,” McAulay said. “To combat this, when we are building these solutions for customers, we‘re making sure they also work for our team.

“We also make sure everyone available online is available in-store. As team members, when a customer refers to something online, you need to know about it in-store. We pay our team members to watch a DVD featuring the latest products, new information and stuff they should know about the business. These go across all our core businesses and educate the team on what customers are likely to have seen in the market and our messaging to them, and so on.”

Ensuring customer loyalty program experiences are seamless regarding of channel is another major customer experience piece for Super Retail Group’s brands, which include Supercheap Auto, BCF, Ray’s Outdoors and Rebel Sport.

Related: How Supercheap Auto used big data to model customer loyalty

“With BCF, we have a strong club and we make sure any benefits we put out to these customers feels special to those customers,” McAulay continued. “You don’t automatically get a 10 per cent discount; what we do is drive affinity of the brand through their passion to boating, camping and fishing, and offer club member pricing. Within that we target customers around the products they purchase and give them special exclusive offers.

“We also make sure we have consistent pricing no matter what part of the business you deal with and your club pricing is there in-store, at an event, or online. We have found that to be one of the most important parts of omni-channel retail engagement.”

More from Customer360 Symposium

- Nadia Cameron travelled to Customer360 Symposium as a guest of Ashton Media.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

​ Creating a purpose-driven brand

So you want to be a brand with purpose. But what does it actually mean to build a brand with real meaning?

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Customer experience crisis: Proactively mitigating the risk of broken promises

Last Friday, three weeks after United Airline’s spectacular customer experience disaster, customers received a letter from the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz.

The politics of branding

There have been some real doozies lately. I’m speaking of campaigns where brands have dipped their toe in - or jump straight into the deep end – of the political spectrum, aligning with social causes that seem to be the flavour of the day.

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Thank you Shane Blandford for carrying my Smarketing vision into KM !

Peter Strohkorb

​CMO Interview: Why aligning sales and marketing drives innovation at Konica Minolta

Read more

Thanks for helping me putting those threads of thoughts together. Simplification and connection - neat idea.

Mark Bayly

Tips from IAG on how to craft human-centred design

Read more

The problem with Box is that they made a couple of big mistakes - they first hired a bunch of unprepared kids and gave them big roles and...

Tim Woods

CMO interview: Why Box's marketing chief is rewarding staff for failing

Read more

At this point, being hit hard will also be subject for a detailed study. In honesty, too early to tell but there are precedents to follow...

Sean Lindeman

Australian Government to abolish 457 visa program

Read more

iflix is really a company with great potential. As a young company, iflix has forward-looking insights and able to identify data-driven m...

Serene Chan

How iflix used consumer intent data to gain 1 million subscribers in six months

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in