While promoting company marketing campaigns and events, retailers must ensure that the message is accurate, timely and fits with the overall company brand. Failing to meet these objectives can lead to weak marketing messages and missed revenue opportunities.
For one initiative, Fabricland, a Canadian fabric retailer and distributor, focused on connecting directly with loyal customers to help boost brick-and-mortar traffic and sales. By conducting invitational calls to its Spectacular Sewing Club members, Fabricland informed customers personally about special in-store VIP events and offers.
In an effort to deliver automated voice messages and bolster customer engagement, the retailer partnered with voice solution provider SPLICE Software. In the months after implementing the SPLICE automated human voice notification pilot system, FabricLand experienced a 50% increase in response rates; a 150% increase in year-over-year (YOY) event sales; and a 66% reduction in event costs.
Fabricland initially used on-floor staff members to place individual phone calls in store locations, but the process of making those calls and gathering the desired response had room for improvement. For example, many associates had to make calls when they could have been tending to another task in the store. And because the calls weren’t a primary part of the associates’ jobs, they wouldn’t always have time to reach their entire list.
“Each store would probably need to hire six to 10 more people to make those calls for them,” said Candy Watkinson, Office Manager and Advertising Coordinator at Fabricland. “For example, a store in Calgary would have 1,200 calls to make. One person can’t make 1,200 calls. The store still had to go out and hire a casual staff to make these calls. The company had to pay them by the call, which also meant that when all these call sheets came in, we had to verify whether they made the call before making the payment. Then every store had to send back the information to the head office.”
In addition to these calls being time-consuming, associates also needed to be highly knowledgeable of the events and accurately present them to a Club member over the phone. These skills could vary among the floor staff, preventing some of the messages from being conveyed effectively.
“For Fabricland, the most powerful aspect of the solution is reaching that extra 80% to 90% of people on their list and making sure they’re aware of the event,” said Tara Kelly, President and CEO of SPLICE Software. “It also created a fairness factor in which everybody got the message at the right time, so that some people didn’t have more opportunity then others.”
Building A Consistent Brand Voice
Building the content and messaging for the voice messages depends largely on how much data the retailer is able to pull from prior customer engagements, according to Kelly. SPLICE crowdsources voice talents who speak numerous languages and dialects, and can vary in tone to convey different messages to consumers. However, Fabricland opted to send the same call to all its Club members to focus on building a consistent voice for the brand.
“Fabricland doesn’t use the data piece extensively,” Kelly stated in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I think the part that they love the best is the simplicity, the consistency, the safety and the ease of use with SPLICE. They might specialize around store hours in certain regions, as well certain days of sales. Although they’re doing a little bit less on the data segmentation with their clients, but it’s exciting to know that they now have the capability to go in that direction.”
SPLICE then delivers a detailed data report after calls are made, outlining metrics such as:
Number of calls attempted;
Number of people who received the call live;
Number of calls that went to voicemail;
Number of hangups; and
Time per call.
The success of the program has convinced Watkinson that SPLICE can be utilized not only with Club-exclusive in-store events, but also for promotional sales for holidays such as New Year’s Day and Canada Day.
“Since the Calgary office has taken over the advertising and marketing of the business, we’ve changed a few things and realized that the telemarketing aspect is a draw for us,” Watkinson noted. “When we send out those ‘robo-calls,’ customers show up in the store, so we know that the platform works for our members. We have since added two or three more programs since the end of 2014. Going forward, looking at my advertising schedule, we have telemarketed plans set up in February through June, and we’re going to try to do this once a month.”