September 3, 2021
Anticipating the change through data and analytics worked as a big differentiator and helped the brand to understand the heartbeat of the customer
Click here to read the coverage on The Economic Times | CIO
Gaining customer trust became of utmost importance during the pandemic. The focus for brands was not only to survive but also make their customers feel valued and being taken care of. Building this trust and customer loyalty amid Covid was essential but difficult at the same time. Tesco, a supermarket chain, managed to strengthen its brand health and customer satisfaction across all metrics last year.
“Tesco has gone through some significant changes driven by fundamental customer behaviour shifts. We have robust customer analytics and insight capability, and the team has the ability to understand the stated and latent needs of our customers. Amidst the pandemic, Tesco emerged stronger both financially and as a trusted brand. And the reason behind that is the ability to anticipate the change and work for it rather than just reacting to change,” said Venkat Raghavan, Associate Director- Enterprise Analytics and Global Head, Tesco.
Raghavan believes that anticipating change through data and analytics is a big differentiator and can bring significant changes to the brand.
Tesco believed that only data and insights are essential to lead in the market during tough times. In addition to the 25+ year strong loyalty program “Clubcard”, the brand redefined its strategy and started working with third-party organizations to provide them with supplementary data to understand customer and market needs better.
“Tesco has a larger view of the data. We connect the dots through our sales and Clubcard data to understand customer purchase patterns, feelings, and perceptions through primary research, customer feedback gathered through our contact centers, and the context of our markets, brands, and competitors from third-party data partners. The need of the hour is not just data lakes and stores, but data ecosystems” Raghavan said.
There were significant customer behavioural shifts in the pandemic, such as the rapid increase in online sales and smaller format stores and customers seeking fresh and healthy food for their families.These changes had to be anticipated, understood, and addressed through the power of analytics and insights.
“There were certain groups of customers who were considered vulnerable in the UK who were at a certain age bracket or had some illness. There were also another set of customers: frontline or key workers, healthcare reps, public service providers, and food service providers. We understood how critical they were to the ecosystem and that they were the most vulnerable given the exposure,” he further explained.
Following these insights, Tesco created exclusive slots for both these segments before opening time for other customers. These slots were available both online and in-store.
When these customers come to the store, they do not have to wait; they could pick up, pay, and leave. From March 2020 to Feb 2021, Tesco witnessed a 4.5% positive change in customer satisfaction compared to last year on the cleanliness of the store, price of the products and ease of shopping.
“We cannot sometimes see some of these insights unless things happen in our stores. What has helped us is our strong capability to triangulate insights from our stores, primary research, contact center feedback, and external data partners to view a connected customer journey and make improvements where possible. For example, suppose you have to be a front-runner. In that case, you have to have such a connected data ecosystem, which can then enable Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning to find opportunities to create a better customer experience ahead of our competitors by a few days or weeks. ” he said.
Venkat mentioned that for the year ending February 2021, Tesco increased its Net Brand Index Score by 4.2 points to 29.5.
He believes that it is all about understanding the heartbeat of the customer rather than just waiting for our data to give us insights to give the data a little more meaning.
The other secret sauce of Tesco is to keep learning from its call center or contact centres. There are always some patterns hidden in call center data which could be about delayed delivery, not getting the slots or needing something urgently but not finding it online.
If a call center takes a few million calls every year, can the company find out the top 5 themes? What is the theme that matters right now and what would matter in the long run? Tesco did something similar and tried to build on those complaints.
“To put your ears in the right places, develop the computing and analytical capabilities to draw the right themes, and give it back as a nudge to the business to keep the cycle going is what makes us improve in front of our customers” he concluded.
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