The COVID-19 pandemic saw many employees transition to remote work, given health and safety risks associated with commuting to and from the workplace, and cohabiting enclosed physical spaces for eight hours a day.
Hence, more people depended on the internet to perform daily work assignments, reach out to loved ones, stay abreast with news and information, and perform domestic tasks like shopping for essentials. Since digital connectivity has become the new normal, companies like Australian telco Telstra have to ensure that customers can rely on them for seamless online services, among others.
Key to this end is equipping Telstra’s customer support and sales teams with fast and data-driven insight, which will enable better delivery of service to clients.
During a recent conference organised by analytics platform Tableau, Martin Leigh, Business Operations Manager at Telstra Consumer and Small Business, along with Svetlana Kuzmenkova, B2B Product Owner for Tableau CRM at Telstra Enterprise, shared how the use of Tableau’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform upscaled Telstra’s relationship with its clients.
“The first ask that we had from the business as we introduced Tableau was to build out a view that really helped us manage and track the quality of our sales across our business,” Leigh said.
At this stage of their review process, according to Leigh, the feedback of their personnel proved crucial in identifying strengths, as well as areas of improvement.
“Through talking to different teams and stakeholders, we identified what the key indicators or triggers were that we wanted to look at pre- and post-sale, that we needed to look at more closely. You know, these triggers indicated to us potential improper sales practice by someone, leading to a negative customer experience,” he explained.
For Kuzmenkova – who has since moved on from her role at Telstra – leveraging data to improve the company’s services was a no-brainer.
“We recognise the point of having data is to improve decision-making, and that improves the business performance and customer outcomes,” she said.
“Over the past four years, we’ve been building a lot of insights using Tableau CRM, and we found that by putting these insights in the hands of our teams, having the data to tell them a story, it really allowed us to connect the sales teams to data and understand what kind of action they can take on the data,” she added.
Adaptation is key
Amid the pandemic, Telstra was also among the companies worldwide who had to transition into a work-from-home setup for their employees. As such, certain changes needed to be made, so that the customer experience can be tailored to the unique situations of the telco’s clients.
“Our goal was to reimagine the conversations we are having with our customers,” Kuzmenkova said. “For that, we wanted to bring every piece of customer data into the hands of our sales agents every day.”
According to her, they launched a campaign at the onset of the pandemic, which involved the updating of every customer account in their core CRM.
Among the data included in the CRM were:
- Challenges that are being faced by the customers
- Each customer’s current health situation
- Preferred frequency of communication from Telstra
- Future expectations in terms of service
To make the process challenging and more inclusive for their personnel, Kuzmenkova explained that they turned the activity into a healthy competition across teams.
“By the end of the campaign, not only have we achieved 99% completion rate across all accounts, but we also significantly improved the quality of our content data and understanding of customers, which made the handover process very smooth for us,” Kuzmenkova shared.
Ahead of the curve
Just as it is important for people to have fast and reliable internet connectivity in today’s digital world, Telstra’s sales teams must also have immediate access to customer insights that will make their service delivery more efficient.
Among the many benefits of Tableau CRM, Leigh considers the “intraday reporting” functionality as a game-changer. He used their sales performance as an example: “Previously, we had to wait until the next day, or sometimes two or three days to get the data.”
Information became a little uncertain especially during weekends.
“When you place orders on a Friday, things happen over the weekend, and you’re not getting to the data in a timely fashion,” Leigh remarked.
Telstra then began to adopt Tableau CRM, and the changes in data reporting were instantly felt by their teams.
“We’ve got our orders report refreshing every two hours; it shows us where our orders are at different stages in that order pipeline. So the next time the dashboard refreshes, it will then change that status if something’s happened to that order,” Leigh said.
In case orders are held up, Leigh pointed out that they can easily determine where the delay occurred, and for what possible reasons.
“It allows us to then identify issues with those orders or coaching opportunities, so we can actually go and do something in the moment, rather than waiting until the next day or a couple of days to be able to do something,” Leigh said.
Aside from ironing out delivery issues, Tableau CRM also allowed Telstra’s teams to instantly see which products are in high demand, and which ones need to be re-evaluated.
“It lets us know, what offers are resonating better? What products are we selling more of? How are our teams performing over the period of time during the day? And with that full hierarchy view, it allows us to understand our channel or store’s performance or team’s performance. Are they performing better? Or are they performing not as good as the last one? What phones are we selling more of on the day, versus the previous day,” he explained.
While faster access to data broke new ground for Telstra’s sales teams, different data sets were still lodged onto different dashboards— eight to be exact, according to Leigh.
The Tableau CRM platform is also capable of consolidating dashboards, so all the data now sits under one roof.
“We built this into one view that can be used by our teams to manage our customer experience. The dashboard uses AI (artificial intelligence) to help us identify activity or transactions that could put our customers at risk after a sale has been made. It will highlight one or multiple of those indicators. And then let our team know to go and do something with these transactions and look at them in more detail to understand where that issue here has taken place. And then we identify those issues, (and) we can then take the appropriate action,” he said.
“The next phase for this report will be to bring in reinforcement learning,” he added.
“What that means is that the dashboard will learn from the outcomes that we enter as part of our investigations over time, giving us a much more targeted report. As you can imagine, we do thousands of sales every day. So for us, doing good business responsibly is a key pillar for us as a company, to ensure that we’re doing the right thing for our customers. And having an automated way of reporting that improves its logic over time is a key focus for our business to ensure we can deliver a quality sale to our customers ongoing,” Leigh concluded.