“There's a lot of work to be done” and big challenges prevail when it comes to heading up customer experience (CX) for five large brands,” says Techtronic Industries’ (TTI) head of CX, Jason Perera.
Speaking to AdNews about the firm’s digital transformation journey, Melbourne-based Perera explains how his role of heading up digital marketing for the consumer division has moved into building and leading a division that oversees using data and insights to deliver “memorable” customer experiences across both the consumer and industrial sectors.
“CX goes far beyond the marketing and service function – and ultimately, if marketers don’t fully understand the whole flow of consumer data, they’ll get caught out,” Perera says.
“Similar to many companies, CX was a buzzword and for the last few years there was never even a CX function, but where CX now sits has dramatically changed.
“Identifying our customer type and what experiences we wanted to deliver was our first big change and step into the customer-centric world. Each department had a different view and driving a common strategy was needed. To do this, my view is that CX needs to sit outside the traditional marketing or operations function, it needs to work with your C-Level, MDs or senior executives because if you are truly about customer experience, it needs to be cross-functional”
Perera says that while many digital assets – such as websites, mobile applications or self-service portals – sit with most people’s digital marketing or IT teams, he believes many more organisations will move towards having development of CRM or digital assets in the CX team so that acting on customer pain points can be done with speed.
Worldwide manufacturer TTI – which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange – is a $US6.1 billion global business, with 8.5% of that sitting with ‘Rest of World’, which is driven heavily by the ANZ region.
While many may be less familiar with parent company TTI, brands such as Milwaukee, Vax, Ryobi and AEG are more well known and can be spotted in the likes of Bunnings, Total Tools, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. It also manufactures Hoover, but in Australia/New Zealand it sold the rights to Godfreys.
TTI is also pushing 'smart tools'
Aside from Hoover, Perera oversees all of these brands’ consumer journeys throughout the three major segments of B2C (end users using its products), B2B (industrial organisations purchasing its products) and B2R (retail and service agent partners).
He says being across all consumer journeys from awareness to post-purchase is not without its challenges, it’s making strong tracks and TTI’s business has grown “considerably”.
With Milwaukee and Ryobi being its largest brands, Perera explains how TTI’s C-Suite was pushing for a 360-degree view of the customer for each brand, which is why he moved from his marketing role into CX.
“CX has to be at the core of all our customer segments,” he says.
“For the Ryobi B2C customer, we want to know what Ryobi tool you have purchased, help with how to best utilise the tool functionality and then ensure we give you a great experience if you have any challenges with the tool. For the procurement manager for a large industrial organisation, similar but even at a larger scale, we want to know who you are and how we can ensure your team have the right tools for the right job.”
While Perera has worked in digital roles at 7-Eleven in Melbourne and the Royal Bank of Scotland in London – and started at TTI in digital marketing – he says not many manufacturing companies have made it a priority to get across the customer experience function.
From a customer registering for a newsletter, through to logging a warranty online, he says marketers dabbling in CX will “get caught out if you don’t understand the flow of data”, as building that one view of the customer goes far beyond marketing and takes a lot of time.
He explains how TTI has been on a digital transformation journey for the past year and a half as it saw the need to ‘own’ the customer experience.
It now taps Salesforce for its sales cloud, marketing cloud, service cloud, community cloud and soon, “hopefully” its IoT cloud as its seeks to create more ‘smart tools’.
“I own the whole end-to-end journey across sales, service, communities and marketing cloud,” Perera says.
TTI has moved onto the Salesforce platform to gain the Holy Grail ‘one view' of the customer segments, and while some websites still sit on different platforms, the future plan is to unify all digital assets on the same framework.
“I'm a big believer and I think it's a lot easier if you're on one tech stack and have a core framework for all your brands,” he says.
“I know we're very lucky that we don't have those legacies, but if you're on one stack it means you can scale quicker and you've got a better chance of achieving that one view of the customer.
“Integration is less and there's less tech-debt.”
With data being the hot currency, TTI’s recent data capture moves include giving customers extended warranties and extra services if they register their power tools online. This allows the brand to create more personalised comms, track the product lifecycle and offer upsells or new relevant products. He said the aim is to build these communities to help its customers with service or information and in the future of ‘connected tools’, help with giving more personalised experiences based on their product.
Many of TTI's brands also have a strong presence on social media, with Ryobi clocking up more than 5,000 fans:
By the end of this year, Perera’s CX team would have grown from one person in 2017 to 17 people sitting across sales, service and marketing. While admitting “we’re not there yet with the 360 view”, Perera says it’s a challenge, but a good opportunity.
On advice for others looking to own the whole consumer journey and improve CX, he says “take your time and understand your vision”.
“Across our business, different functions had different views of what the customer experience should be. My team is trying to drive the business in working together to deliver memorable experiences across all customer touchpoints and journeys.
“We brought the CX division in, to own the Salesforce platform and to build to that one vision. That’s something that we have learned”, Perera says.
He says what also differentiates TTI compared to other companies is that its development team sits with Perera in the CX team.
According to Perera,“CX teams will be built of digital savvy and switched on marketers” that want to be involved across the whole journey from awareness to advocacy and post purchase service.
Building out its own agency
While on the consumer side leading the digital marketing function, Perera worked with Melbourne agency Fenton Stephens on creative, Isobar for digital and social, and Rapid Media on media, but Perera says certain brands are starting to do more in-house.
“Similar to how we are building the CX division, our head of marketing and myself started to build our own internal digital and content agency with the aim to build the IP, the smarts and be able to turn around more content across more digital assets,” Perera says.
“Agency partners from media to creative will always play a role, will TTI take these ever in-house? Probably not, as it is always great to gain outside perspective and new ideas on how to position our brands or campaigns.”
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