The HKBN Group

We believe strongly in Purpose before profit. If we do the right thing, profits will come.”

Samuel Hui | Co-Owner & Chief Transformation Officer, The HKBN Group
 
 

Learn how HKBN created a digital-first but customer-focused strategy that adds value to the market it serves.

 
 

How a digital first, agile approach led to The HKBN Group’s success in responding to Covid-19

The HKBN Group (HKBN) is a Purpose-driven business which aims to ”Make our home a Better Place to Live”. More than 5,500 of HKBN’s employees — called Talents — are united in this Purpose and the belief that wherever HKBN operates, its work should create a lasting positive impact and inspire other businesses to do the same.

HKBN’s response to COVID-19 exemplifies its commitment to this purpose. In early 2020, the business launched the #ToughTimesTogether campaign and offered a one-month free service to its entire residential customer base - this represented one in three families in Hong Kong enjoyed the offer. It also supported the community with initiatives like internships for 100 grads and 10,000 free broadband lines for disadvantaged families.

“While one free month may not make a huge difference on its own, we intended to inspire our partners and friends to do the same,” said Samuel Hui, Co-Owner & Chief Transformation Officer at The HKBN Group. “We believe strongly in Purpose before profit. If we do the right thing, profits will come.”

The business’ ethos is closely aligned to that of Salesforce which has been a key partner in HKBN’s digital transformation and its success in responding to COVID-19.

More than one million customers reached in one week

HKBN conceived the idea to waive one-month’s service fee for each residential customer exactly one week before launching the campaign. This would have been impossible if not for the business’ earlier deployment of MuleSoft and Marketing Cloud.

The deployment reduced the time HKBN took to launch campaigns from more than ten days to less than two. It also helped HKBN to establish a 360-degree view of customers for a personalised and seamless experience across different channels. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has added to these benefits by allowing HKBN to optimise the timing and content of messages based on past campaigns. Analytics gained through Einstein Prediction Builder have supported this and helped fast-track decision making. 

All of this contributed to a rapid and successful campaign with more than 40 percent of customers downloading the myHKBN app and redeeming HKBN’s free service offer.

“With the capabilities of Salesforce, we are able to realise our mantra to ‘Make our Home a Better Place to Live’ via the #ToughTimesTogether campaign,” said Hui. “It also speaks to the agility of the team that we were able to launch our largest campaign ever in just one week. This would have been impossible to do three years ago without breaking all of our systems.”

 

The way MuleSoft allows us to structure and integrate our systems is extremely important as we scale through both organic and inorganic growth.”

Samuel Hui | Co-Owner & Chief Transformation Officer,
The HKBN Group

Bringing Talents and customers closer together

HKBN has been steadily building out its 360-degree view of the customer and using Salesforce to manage customer interactions and streamline activities like resource scheduling, reporting, and approvals. For example, today, all project pre-sales work is coordinated via Opportunity Teams and Chatter on Salesforce to ensure accountability and structured engagement with the customer.

The business has more recently extended Sales Cloud to all five regions in which it operates. These include Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Hui said the next step would be to further streamline workflow across regions in order to free Talents up to spend more time with customers. “Our goal is to achieve three times more face time with our customers which will benefit our customers with a better experience and benefit our Talents with higher commission as a result of greater productivity,” said Hui.

Unlocking more data and productivity

The HKBN Group has grown five times bigger in the last five years. Mergers and acquisitions have contributed to this growth and left the business with multiple systems. MuleSoft has resolved this technical debt by providing an integration layer where different systems can talk to one another. This allows HKBN to unlock and unify data from various systems to better understand its customers and therefore provide faster and more personal services. 

For example, before such integration, the sales team would have to match across separate systems to see if one single address was covered by any of HKBN’s networks. Now, the team can run just one search on Salesforce and find out the answer quickly. HKBN has also turned its consolidated address database into a product which other businesses can access through an API.  

HKBN has additionally used MuleSoft to power HOME+, HKBN’s newly launched e-commerce portal in collaboration with leading industry partners. MuleSoft brings together all of the portal’s back-end systems to enable a digital friendly customer experience.

Sam Tan, Co-Owner and Chief Innovations Officer at The HKBN Group, shared that HKBN has also used MuleSoft to build an integration library with reusable components. The library supports an agile response to new business requirements by enabling new technologies to be deployed three times faster than previously possible. 

“The way MuleSoft allows us to structure and integrate our systems is extremely important as we scale through both organic and inorganic growth. In fact, we see it as such an integral part of our future that we’ve certified more than 80 MuleSoft Developers on our internal team, as well as a number of Architects,” said Tan. "We are now ready to help our customers grow through our experience of success."

Preparing for the future as One-HKBN Team

HKBN continues to consolidate its data and synchronise workflows across regions and business units. This will support the business to better operate and provide customers with more unified experiences such as ”Barter and Bundle”.

Under the “Barter and Bundle” program, HKBN allows enterprise customers to pay for telecom or technical support services with coupons. HKBN then passes the “bartered offers” onto its retail customers. Salesforce is key to orchestrating this program as it helps HKBN to match coupons with customers who will enjoy them. For instance, a petrol coupon holds little value to a customer without a car so HKBN uses data-driven insights through Salesforce to distribute these coupons to those who do.

With HKBN serving one in three households across Hong Kong alone, this matching would be impossible if not for Salesforce and a unified view of each customer.

“Many businesses have been struggling during the pandemic and so we ramped up our ‘Barter and Bundle’ program to help them offset their costs. It also allows us to take what was once an infrastructure cost and turn this into marketing spend which we can use to acquire and engage with retail customers,” said Hui. “The program is a win for our customers, a win for our business and a great example of how Salesforce helps us to collaborate across different teams to deliver on our purpose.”

The business’ success with Salesforce would not have been possible if not for the engagement of all its Talents, including its top executives. HKBN approached its digital transformation as an organisational change management project after a previous IT-focused effort failed. HKBN learned that in order to succeed it needed Talents to shift their mindsets and transform their skill sets.

HKBN also realised the pitfalls of over customisation and chose to adopt a strict design principle of leveraging 90 percent of Salesforce “out of the box”. A Salesforce Architect from Salesforce Professional Services helped the business adhere to this plan and deliver on a limited number of custom requirements.

HKBN now has a large team of MuleSoft Certified Developers and Architects in Hong Kong and is using its experience to help other businesses increase their agility and efficiency. The business' “Transformation-as-a-Service” offering includes strategic and technical consulting services and has been recognised with a Salesforce Partner Innovation Award.

“What we’ve achieved with Salesforce has become very visible to our customers and others in Hong Kong. We have received many questions about how we’ve done it. That’s really what led us to become a Salesforce partner. We want to help as many businesses as possible to learn from our pitfalls and grow,” said Hui.

 

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