Mason Companies, a catalog-oriented retailer with 11 brands encompassing footwear, apparel, gifting and food, knows the importance of providing contact center agents with all the information they need to handle a query and complete a sale. By adopting a centralized master data management (MDM) solution that pulls together all customer contact information — from social networks, web contacts and other media — the retailer is seeking to improve the productivity of agent-customer interactions.
“We need to bring all the customer information together from marketing and sales channels and show it to our contact center agents, so they can leverage it from a marketing perspective,” said Adam Stavn, CIO of Mason Companies in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “During the busy seasons for our different products, we may have well over 1,000 contact center agents working in different locations throughout the U.S. These agents need a full, clear picture of the customer that’s calling, to ensure that the one interaction they have with us during the season will be profitable.”
Mason Companies has adopted the Customer MDM solution from Stibo Systemsto handle a database consisting of “many tens of millions” of customer records, said Stavn. The retailer already had been using a Product MDM solution from Stibo that has helped streamline product data integration processes. “We’ve seen significantly decreased times to get things in production because it’s easier to launch new products and new processes,” said Adam Birkholz, Senior IT Systems Architect for Mason Companies.
In addition to centralizing customer data, the retailer is in the process of extending its e-Commerce platform to handle all commerce functions. “We’re dropping the ‘e’ off of our e-Commerce platform, so it’s becoming just our commerce platform,” said Birkholz. “The commerce platform will float on top of the MDM platform, so it will not only present information to the agents, but they can also proceed with customer requests such as placing an order or updating information.”
Operating separate platforms for its contact center and commerce operations had created complications from a “resource and services perspective, in terms of managing two development platforms,” said Birkholz. “We’re seeing a lot of opportunities to streamline the operation and minimize our costs.”
The retailer projects that its platform will be operational by October 2018, with a planned go-live in Q4 2018 or early 2019.
Cleaner Data Brings Strategic Benefits
In addition to improving the profitability of current operations, the integration work is designed to give Mason Companies a set of strategic advantages moving forward.
“Some of our biggest customer data management challenges in the past have involved legacy systems with different data models,” explained Stavn. “We acquired a company during the past five years with a different customer structure than ours, and now we’ll be able to consolidate all the data into one database. Having this ‘one source of truth’ about customers allows us to build our strategy, adapt to new technology much more quickly, and acquire new companies faster. Flexibility is what we’re looking for.”
Possessing a “clean” customer database will allow Mason Companies to “demonstrate the integrity of our customer file when it comes to auditing and interactions with other companies,” said Stavn. “Additionally, when we’re looking at other companies, we can better understand the quality of their data. It will be easier for us to envision how we could integrate with their solutions, as well as making it easier to integrate with a third party.”