Customer Retention, a term that is very easy to understand but a challenge for marketers to maintain in today’s time. Global technology company Pitney Bowes needed to drive customer retention in the location intelligence space. As the winner of AMI’s 2018 Customer Retention Award, Pitney Bowes’ creative strategy to improve engagement and retention provided better and more streamlined access to information and an easier way to get support. The overall aim? To increase customer engagement, user satisfaction and an increase/maintain license renewals for its flagship mapping application MapInfo Pro.
Pitney Bowes Knowledge Communities forum facilitates collaboration and information sharing amongst its customers, partners and staff. The Knowledge Communities was launched in 2017 to great success using a range of marketing activities including a community mapping contest and end-user roadshow events. The forum has also been used to collaborate with customers on product development and updates, and for user beta testing.
Let’s take a look at their winning campaign to learn about the best-in-class marketing strategy that won them the Customer Retention Award. You’ve got to be in it to win it. Have you put in your entry for 2019 AMI Awards for Marketing Excellence?
Pitney Bowes needed a way to collaborate with its customers in order to improve client satisfaction, engagement and retention. It also wanted to connect users with each other so that they could get maximum value from their Pitney Bowes solution. The overall aim was to build a sense of community and sharing amongst its users.
Another key driver to develop the Knowledge Communities was to provide a one-stop-shop for Pitney Bowes’ customers to go to for product information. The Knowledge Communities was created to build a user community that would make customers feel connected and included, thereby providing a forum for sharing knowledge, ideas, and information.
Pitney Bowes developed a customer retention strategy that centered on improving customer engagement and, therefore, loyalty. The key was to make it easy for customers to connect with each other and with technical experts to quickly and easily get the answers they need. This would include the ability to self-serve through an online knowledge base, as well as a collaboration space.
The platform was initially created as a location intelligence (LI) community forum known as Li360 but has now expanded to include the other software solutions and has been rebranded as the Knowledge Communities. Targeting existing users, the online portal was launched to connect users with each other and with Pitney Bowes. Users can share information and help each other improve their skills, with Pitney Bowes experts on hand to provide advice and ideas. Technical experts from a number of disciplines including product engineering, product management, and technical support, as well as partners, monitor the community and answer questions.
The portal was launched globally, initially to MapInfo Pro users. Now, the Knowledge Communities supports groups for other Pitney Bowes solutions including Spectrum Spatial, Confirm asset management, data, customer engagement solutions and more. There are also regionally (geographically)-focused groups as well as industry-focused groups, so that users can connect with like-minded individuals with similar interests. Customers and partners can also set up private groups, so that they can create specialised focus groups to discuss specific content.
There has been significant improvement in customer engagement and happy customers resulting in a higher level of customer retention since the launch of the Knowledge Communities.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) showed that the percentage of customers determined to be not as likely to present value-creating behaviours, has decreased from 12.5% (2016/17) to 1.9% (2017-18) and the percentage of satisfied customers increased from 93.0% to 98.1%.
Renewal and maintenance rates continue to see year-on-year growth. The Knowledge Communities has been a great success for Pitney Bowes with the number of sessions/visits increasingly significantly since launch. Pitney Bowes originally set a goal of 5,000 sessions/visits per month within the first six months. They reached this goal within four months, showcasing the appetite for such a community. Visits have been steadily growing and April 2018 saw a high of 15,294 sessions/visits, as per the graph below.
Jonathan Langholz Jensen, Knowledge Communities user, said, “I must say I was originally a bit skeptical about Knowledge Communities, as other companies sometimes make these platforms and then they themselves don’t really put any effort into using it. But I have been very impressed by how responsive everyone from Pitney Bowes has been, and how it’s suddenly possible to get a dialogue with the actual developers behind your programs. A big thumbs-up from here!”
- The Knowledge Communities campaign (originally launched as Li360) was a major initiative for Pitney Bowes in 2017 and is continuing into 2018 and beyond. It has resulted in the following outcomes for the company.
- Because it is an open community, it is accessible by anyone, including non-customers. Pitney Bowes can therefore use Knowledge Communities not just for customer retention but also for new business development.
- The Knowledge Communities put the power to connect in the hands of users and members, which increases their engagement and satisfaction. The community is also driving incremental revenue via training for MapInfo Pro and other solutions. Pitney Bowes customers have demonstrated increased awareness about the full solution set offered.
- Pitney Bowes has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of technical support cases since the introduction of the Knowledge Communities, with support calls down 40% in 2018. This has enabled the technical support team to be more proactive, rather than reactive. The team are spending this additional time on building content that helps customers find the answers they need quicker, including creating articles, blogs, training videos and other useful content for customers.
- As a result of this campaign, Pitney Bowes has been able to grow its revenue base for Location Intelligence products, particularly MapInfo Pro.
- Pitney Bowes was recognised with an Australian Business Award in 2017 in Software Innovation for their MapInfo Pro Advanced Solution, part of the Location Intelligence suite of solutions.
As a result of the Knowledge Communities initiative, Pitney Bowes has been able to improve its customer engagement and satisfaction, resulting in improved net promoter scores and customer retention. The Knowledge Communities program is now also being used for new business development. The integration of the customer, technical and marketing teams in delivering a quality retention and engagement tool is admirable. So much so, other countries are now following Australia’s lead and rolling out the technology which has not only led to an increase in customer retention but is now also being used for new business development purposes.
*This 2018 AMI Awards submission has been provided by Pitney Bowes to share with the AMI community. Congratulations once more to the team on your outstanding achievements!