Domestic & General often protects multiple items for a single household but struggled to pull together customer profiles from so many data sources, limiting service and marketing capabilities.
With a sophisticated matching engine from IBM, Domestic & General creates an accurate, detailed view of each customer, and uses IBM Campaign to reach out to them with personalized marketing messages.
Enhancescustomer experience with improved support and targeted marketing messages
43% decreasein prospect list cuts the cost of marketing campaigns and raises outcomes
Simplifiesregulatory compliance through greater control of customer data
Business challenge story
Getting to know customers better
If you have a protection plan for a household appliance, boiler or electrical item, you expect a quick response when something goes wrong. But since these protection plans are often offered via the retailer or original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the company that enforces the policy may struggle to get their hands on the information they need to provide stellar customer service.
Domestic & General wanted to tackle this challenge. The company provides appliance care for 22 million products, repairs or replaces two million every year, and commonly protects more than one item in a single household. However, it was difficult for Domestic & General to integrate and connect data from retailers and OEMs to build a single view of each client.
Mark Renton, Head of IT Architecture at Domestic & General, explains: “When a customer calls up, they expect us to know who they are and every protection plan they hold with us. However, even a tiny difference in the address or name they used when they signed up could prevent us from making that connection. By addressing this lack of integration, we saw an opportunity to enhance service quality and better tailor our marketing efforts.”
With the introduction of new, stricter data protection rules around the management of data, Domestic & General also recognized that it was heading towards a regulatory gap. Mark Renton adds: “The advent of GDPR [EU General Data Protection Regulation] was a strong motivating factor to improve our management of customer data. Previously, we could either switch marketing on or off according to a customer’s preferences – we wanted a more refined approach than that.”
Domestic & General initiated a request for proposal (RFP) process, ultimately choosing to work with IBM on the project. IBM helped the company shape a new data integration platform based on IBM Db2®, IBM Infosphere® Information Server, IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management, IBM InfoSphere DataStage® and IBM Infosphere QualityStage® solutions, alongside a multi-channel campaign management tool: IBM Campaign.
“IBM was the only vendor we felt could provide a truly end-to-end offering,” recalls Renton. “They have the global resources to help us resolve problems, and also presented the most powerful matching engine we encountered during the RFP.”
With support from IBM, Domestic & General used IBM InfoSphere DataStage, underpinned by IBM Db2, to gather all customer data from its bespoke ERP application. It ran the data, including details of prospects, clients and items protected, through IBM InfoSphere QualityStage for cleansing. Using IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management, the company developed customer profiles, then fed these back into its ERP system.
“The initial one-off project took three months because we were determined to maximize accuracy and checked every job manually,” says Renton. “The first stage went smoothly, proving that the IBM technology could deliver on what we hoped for. Now, we’re embedding it into our operations: the InfoSphere software will identify any records that have been updated and trigger the data cleansing and matching process. IBM Db2 is the ideal performance tool for big data, giving us full control of customer information.”
Domestic & General connected its digital and contact channels to its newly comprehensive, accurate customer data mart, giving support agents a full picture of each client. Key suppliers can also view a subset of the information.
The data mart provides a strong information foundation for the company’s new IBM Campaign platform, which Domestic & General uses to create and manage compelling, consistent marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Renton adds: “Now that we have a trusted base of customer data for our marketing efforts, IBM Campaign is the ideal tool to make the most of these new insights.”
Becoming a customer-first provider
As a result of the project, Domestic & General dramatically reduced the number of records in its systems, eliminating duplicate information. With a truer picture of each of its clients, prospects and protection plans, the company can provide a more efficient service that translates into better customer experiences.
“We decreased our item records by 33 percent, prospect list by 43 percent and customer records by 8 percent,” sums up Renton. “IBM solutions give us the information we need to provide more tailored customer service – and marketing too. By delivering the right messages to the customer at the right time, we enhance every interaction they have with us.”
With a streamlined client and prospect list, Domestic & General is also increasing marketing efficiency, minimizing the likelihood of duplicated messages. It can also better target campaigns to increase returns on marketing investments.
“We’re no longer limited to just turning marketing on or off for a customer; IBM Campaign gives us much more sophisticated capabilities,” explains Renton. “Because we have a deeper understanding of our customer base, we can send out fewer marketing communications yet achieve a higher response rate.”
By increasing control over and insight into customer data, IBM solutions simplify compliance for Domestic & General for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other applicable regulations, thereby reducing risk.
Renton concludes: “Today, we have a full audit trail for our customer data mart – we now know exactly who made each change and when. Working with IBM, we’re harnessing data to give customers the best possible service, while remaining compliant with data privacy laws at every step.”
About Domestic & General
For more than a century, Domestic & General has given customers peace of mind through specialist appliance care. Today, it serves over 16 million people in 10 countries with protection plans for appliances, boilers and electronic items.
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