Eurostar's personalised marketing push already paying dividends

eurostar commons
Creative Commons Photo: Herbert Ortner

The train operator has adopted a range of Salesforce capabilities over the past three years to better personalise its marketing and customer service for customers, with some impressive results

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Eurostar has been able to boost its email engagement, speed up its customer service response rate and save on digital advertising spend thanks to a range of Salesforce software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools.

The popular high-speed rail operator has a key goal as a company to be the "most loved travel company in Europe” by being more customer-centric, so a unified customer relationship management (CRM) approach across customer service and marketing was a key strategic step towards this.

The company started its CRM journey with Salesforce in 2014 by replacing five legacy systems for dealing with customer queries with Salesforce's Service Cloud. The company later adopted Marketing Cloud in 2015.

Speaking on day one of Dreamforce, Anthony Robles, lead business systems manager at Eurostar said: "Building a single customer view was a major milestone in 2016." By reaching this point the company could start to personalise its messaging across channels, from email to social media, and better target customers.

Louise Masmejean, digital media performance manager at Eurostar said that the adoption of Marketing Cloud "drastically changed the way we send email communications" to customers. "Going from a manual process to sequenced, triggered, automated emails,"Masmejean said. "So from mass-produced communications to data-driven, tailored communications. Also moving from performance reviews to deep-dive analytics and actionable insights."

Eurostar shifted to a three-pronged, more automated approach to email: post-booking, pre-travel and post-travel. This was to "give customers information at the right time to inspire them about where they are about to go," Masmejean explained. The response rate subsequently improved by 15 percent simply by sending triggered emails.

Next, the company wanted to launch a chatbot to reduce the volume of simple queries it was processing in its contact centre.

For example, Eurostar can now process compensation requests through a chat interface with just three steps, as the customer context is already there in Salesforce, instead of the old manual process over the phone. Robles says this has brought a 25 minute process for customers down to just five minutes to generate a voucher.

Eurostar is also using Social Studio to respond more quickly to customer queries on Twitter and Facebook and has set ambitious response speed targets of 15 minutes for Twitter and 30 minutes on Facebook.

Finally, by unifying customer data under Salesforce's data management platform (DMP) and combining this view of the customer with its advertising studio tools, Eurostar is able to automate and optimise its digital media buying strategy.

For example, the marketing department can now identify families planning to travel during half term and target them with child-friendly content, such as its recently launched Odyssey VR experience on-board.

By setting exclusion lists and frequency caps on ad impressions (Eurostar caps an ad at five impressions per customer), the company has been able to save six percent on its monthly ad spend when it comes to overly re-targeting customers.

This tool also allows marketing to tactically re-target customers who abandoned a purchase at the final stage by sending a personalised offer. This saw a 400 percent increase in email engagement for these specifically targeted customers.

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