In reviewing their customer relationship strategy, Toshiba was hindered from achieving a holistic view of their customer because they had different customer acquisition vehicles, low customer acquisition rates, disparate customer data sources, and a complicated process of getting customer information to their call center in a timely manner. And since their customer information was spread among different data sources, Toshiba could not effectively provide timely offers to their customers. Understanding the complexity of the issues they were tackling, Toshiba decided to take a phased approached to ensure the overall success of the initiative. The first phase was to replace their current customer acquisition infrastructure. Once the customer acquisition infrastructure was implemented and in production, the second phase would be to implement outbound marketing communications.
Toshiba's objectives in phase I were:
Increase customer registration rates
Reduce the number of disparate data sources
Improve the quality of customer information
Improve the quality of customer information
Toshiba ships tens of thousands of notebooks a month. The only way customers could register their notebooks was by mail, telephone, or the Toshiba website. This practice resulted in customer data being compiled in different formats and across multiple databases. Also due to the disjointed registration process, customer acquisition rates only averaged 20%.
Phase I Solution - RealConnect Marketing
Toshiba researched the available products and vendors in the marketplace and selected DataLode because they have proven customer acquisition technology in products covering 21 languages shipped around the world.
Toshiba first deployed RealConnect Marketing in May 2001 to replace their current registration process, and it was installed on every Toshiba notebook shipped in the United States. To ensure the best customer experience and the highest acquisition rates, Toshiba modified their existing registration process. Prior customer complaints, such as trying to find and enter serial and model numbers, were resolved by automatically detecting and populating this information within the RealConnect Marketing application. This not only made it easier for Toshiba's customers to provide these critical customer support data points but also ensured the accuracy of the data provided. In addition to product information, Toshiba asked for demographic and usage information for future outbound marketing communications.
After implementing RealConnect Marketing, Toshiba registration rates doubled to more than 40%, the call center received customer information within 24 hours of the product purchase, and disparate customer data sources were reduced by 50%. Perhaps the greatest benefit came by providing the infrastructure to enable Phase II, which meant an increased capability for outbound marketing and sales communications and ultimately an opportunity to generate more revenue.
Toshiba's objectives in phase II were:
Provide relevant communications to their customers
Increase extended warranty sales
Solution Phase II - RealConnect Commerce
Since DataLode's RealConnect technology is modular, adding other products such as RealConnect Commerce or RealConnect Support does not require additional distribution of technology to implement - only a simple configuration is needed on the RealConnect Server. So Phase I ensured that Toshiba was in a position to "turn on" outbound marketing, sales, and support communications within a few days notice to DataLode.
Toshiba decided to start their outbound communications in June 2002 with a highly targeted offer to sell warranties to customers directly. Previously warranties were only available for purchase via their website. After reviewing their customer registration data and historical warranty purchases, Toshiba developed five different extended warranty offers to present in real-time to new purchasers of notebooks. The offers are presented based on the information that the customer provides during the product registration process, and so the customers get a relevant sales offer based on their personal demographics, product, and product usage.
How it works
The customer registers their Toshiba notebook and sends the information via modem or a connection to the Internet to the RealConnect Server. The customer responses within the registration are checked by the RealConnect Server to determine if the extended warranty offer criteria have been met. If so, the extended warranty offer is sent back to the customer within seconds. If the customer would like to purchase the extended warranty, they are presented with a pre-populated purchase screen containing information provided during the registration is presented so that only the credit card number and expiration date needs to be entered to complete the purchase. The customer then sends the purchase request to the RealConnect Server, where the credit card authorization is processed using industry standard SSL security and encryption. Upon successful credit card authorization the customer receives an approval screen with the financial transaction details of the purchase as well as an email confirmation receipt. Typically the entire financial transaction takes less than 10 seconds to complete.
"By providing personalized warranty offers, Toshiba's customers are receiving the best Toshiba service and solution to meet their individual needs, which has resulted in higher customer satisfaction and an overall better customer experience," says Tyler Beaty, Toshiba Services Marketing Manager. "In addition, by implementing RealConnect Commerce, Toshiba is using a new direct sales channel that makes the purchase of our products and services simpler for our customers and has resulted in significant revenues with higher margins."
Of the 60% of customers receiving a personalized offer, a high number go on to purchase the extended warranty, which allowed Toshiba's implementation of RealConnect Commerce to be profitable within the first month. Based on Toshiba's phenomenal success, another international subsidiary of Toshiba just recently implemented RealConnect Marketing and RealConnect Commerce.
Continually looking to improve their communications, Toshiba, using the comprehensive reports and customer feedback provided by DataLode, Toshiba modified their warranty offers on February 1 and within the first month increased their sales by 37% and their average sales price by 4%.
Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (TAIS) is an operating division of Toshiba Corporation, a $41 billion world leader in high-technology products. The Computer Systems Group within TAIS is responsible for all U.S. sales of notebook computers, PDAs and servers.