Eurotunnel, operator of the Channel Tunnel, is currently in the first phase of a technology-enabled customer engagement program that will boost its digital maturity and bolster personalization capabilties.
According to Ian Rabagliati, Product and Experience director at Eurotunnel, implementing Salesforce will help the company, which operates the Channel Tunnel connecting the UK with France, to improve how it interacts with customers and to develop more effective loyalty programs in the longer term. He says:
We're probably not as far up the digital maturity curve as we'd like to be. What this does is jumps us up almost two or three steps. We'll be much more sophisticated in the messaging we're sending out to customers across all channels. We'll be able to personalise the messaging that they receive. We’ll be using different elements of the Salesforce suite to get over some legacy technology issues we have within certain parts of our business to personalise the messages that we give to customers. If we know, for example, that a customer has travelled for a skiing holiday previously, then we can tailor the marketing messages we send to the time of year they will be looking to travel. Internally, the technology will also reduce the effort that's currently put into what is quite a manual segmentation analysis. It will help us reduce the communication we send out to customers but make it more effective.
The firm is currently in the process of rolling out Marketing Cloud, Interaction Studio, and Advertising Studio from Salesforce. The company has previously relied on a range of Customer Relationship Management systems that were implemented in different business units. Rather than relying on a series of spot solutions, the Salesforce implementation will create an integrated, business-wide approach, says Rabagliati:
There isn't a single customer view right now because different parts of the business own different elements of it. And as a result, it wasn't the best solution that we could have used. In terms of how we've solved that situation, this Salesforce project has buy-in from everyone from the Chief Executive downwards.
Eurotunnel started the project at the end of January. After deciding on Salesforce, the Eurotunnel team assessed a range of potential fulfilment specialists and selected Collinson as its integration partner on the basis of its track record in the travel industry. Eurotunnel decided to work with an external partner because it would bolster internal capability, Rabagliati explains:
I think that managing to get a team of Salesforce specialists is quite difficult. We wanted speed to market. We have very small teams at Eurotunnel, particularly on the marketing commercial side. So actually, we wanted a partner who we could work with, who had a lot of credibility and who have done this kind of work before.
The roll out is intended to give Eurotunnel a “huge boost” in terms of the personalization of offerings it provides to customers. Rabagliati also believes the platform will help the business to overcome some tricky technical challenges associated with the organization of the company’s systems and the way content is pushed to customers:
We have two different parts to our website. One, which is the CMS element, is quite flexible. But we also have a historical legacy booking process, which is tied into many different systems within our business. There's not too much flexibility to personalize that system. But Salesforce will enable us to do that work. So, we'll be fulfilling and serving content from Salesforce.
Rabagliati argues that the key to success has been ensuring that everyone in the business is kept up-to-date on progress regularly. This communication has helped to increase interest in the project, too. While his team has moved at pace to implement Salesforce, he says there’s still important work to complete, especially when it comes to cultural acceptance:
There's been a bit of a learning curve for people in terms of trusting the technology. It's different to what people have done before. But we're going through quite a lot of testing and there's no concerns around that. Eurotunnel is an established organisation, but people are embracing change.
The company is still working on its long-term plans for Salesforce technology. The first phase, which should go live next month, is about putting in place the basics to enable more effective customer engagement processes. The second phase will then focus on how to make customers even more likely to use Eurotunnel services. Rabagliati says:
How do you start to use some of the additional Salesforce tools around loyalty? What we want to do over this next year is prove the case for the technology to the business – that this is effective and it's doing exactly what we said it would. And then we'll decide where we go beyond that. So, I think evolving this platform into a full loyalty program is the next step.”
When it comes to advice for other tech and business leaders, Rabagliati reiterates that it’s crucial to ensure senior buy-in to the project and to keep all other parties informed on progress regularly. He also feels it’s important to remember that, rather than just being a technology project, a Salesforce implementation is likely to be demanded by business users with specific outcomes in mind:
Ultimately the success comes down to delivering what we need as a business and from a customer perspective. We’ve found that this project touches many different parts of the business, particularly at the minute, as we're coming to those final testing stages. We’ve ultimately got three products for Salesforce that do different things, so making sure that there's clear owners of those areas is crucial.