NZ Post

We recognise the power these platforms have to enable robust, resilient, integrated services & make us a competitive, world-class organisation.”

Tammy Auranen, General Manager Customer Solutions | NZ Post

NZ Post turns an investment in technology into an investment in the mission

“If there was one thing I wish people knew about us, it’s this: we aren’t a declining mail business. We’re the largest delivery business in New Zealand. We’re expanding our services, staying competitive, and leveraging technology and data across the organisation to transform our offerings,” said Tammy Auranen, General Manager, Customer Solutions

NZ Post provides courier delivery solutions and products to help people communicate and do business. It divides its customers into three distinct groups: 

  • Consumer customers who are using delivery services for personal needs
  • Merchant customers who are small and medium-sized businesses that are especially mindful of ROI
  • Enterprise-level customers and large organisations which need to meet expectations that have been set by the larger shipping industry, such as shipping cost estimates and delivery tracking.

More about NZ Post

  • NZ Post has been keeping New Zealander’s connected by delivering to households for over 180 years 
  • Today, it’s an organisation of 7,000 employees and contractors
  • The Data and Technology team is over 150 employees strong, with Customer Solutions comprising of 50 employees 
  • Supported by 20 developers, 15 of which are MuleSoft 
  • Fun fact: NZ Post has made a commitment to sustainability. The organisation’s stance is that behaving responsibly and ethically has been critical to staying in business for so long, is fundamental to future growth, and sees the big role sustainability will play in that. The organisation has promised to become carbon neutral by 2030, offers a soft plastics recycling service, and “we are investing in electric vehicles and hydrogen trucks to make an impact on our carbon footprint — we have such a large fleet, after all,” said Auranen
The Customer Solutions team, (where Ms. Auranen works), is at the intersection of these three groups, working to support the larger business with innovative solutions. When a stakeholder comes to them and says “we need to transform this,” Auranen continued. “My team works with stakeholders across our business to develop solutions with the goal of providing a world-class customer experience. And in order to do that, we need to make investments in technology.”

Recognising when something is operations-centric vs. customer-centric

As is probably no surprise with a name like Customer Solutions, Auranen and team strive to put the customer at the centre of everything they do. So, when a stakeholder says they need to rethink a program or service, they naturally start with that customer’s customer. “Recently, our leadership team met with some of our large retail customers and asked them ‘if you could wave a magic wand, what would be the one thing you'd like to see from NZ Post?' and they said 'robust, resilient, integrated services,'” said Auranen. Which was something the team was indeed providing. They could identify where a package or parcel was at any given time, when it was received, what channels or services were called upon by the merchant to get it there, and so on. 

The only catch: package recipients aren't really NZ Post's customers. The people paying to ship something to those recipients are.

“We had to establish the concept of a customer in our systems. We had to identify when, say, Becky might be receiving a package as that end beneficiary and when she might be a paying customer, or working for one of our merchants. We need to connect those profiles on the backend so that we could toggle between Becky’s experience as a recipient and as a paying customer, because one could easily affect the other,” said Auranen. 

In other words, the team had to build a complete view around Becky, not Becky’s parcel.

This is where the cloud came into play.

NZ Post brings a customer-first strategy to life on the cloud

The team launched an integrated contact centre on the Salesforce Customer 360 for government. It gives NZ Post the tools to not only deliver robust, resilient, integrated services but also collect the data and insights they need in order to build a single source of truth around their consumer customers.

Here’s how it works:

  • Self-service: customers are invited to visit NZ Post’s website and create a profile within the community portal. Once in, they can browse services, track a package, redirect deliveries, and more. They can also log a service request ticket if they are in need of more help. 
  • Customer service: service tickets logged through the portal — as well as tickets created from phone calls, email outreaches, etc. — are automatically pushed to NZ Post’s Service Cloud instance and assigned to a customer service representative. Here, the rep can review the ticket’s history, tag subject matter experts on any questions, schedule next steps, and close the case.
  • CRM: key operational metrics are available for every account in Sales Cloud, which the team is using to start building a 360-degree view of an account’s history with NZ Post.
  • Integration: MuleSoft enables the contact centre to integrate with other systems used by various teams internally, bringing that much more data, history, and information about a consumer into a single view. “When you have been in business as long as we have, you have a lot of data stored in systems that can’t just be turned off. We use MuleSoft to simplify our IT landscape and create more efficiency,” said Auranen.
  • Outreach and engagement: Marketing Cloud was layered on, giving the team the ability to build targeted email and/or advertising campaigns, and personalised journeys based on AI-generated recommendations using the data stored in NZ Post’s CRM.
  • Platform-level services: Lightning Platform offers a web-style interface for building custom apps — no new lines of code required — and Sandbox gives the team an environment to test everything before it's pushed live. Lastly, integrated reports and dashboards summarise information in real-time, making it possible for the team to “really leverage the data. When somebody calls our contact centre, we want to have the information at our fingertips. Reps shouldn’t have to go to five different places to find out where a parcel is,” said Auranen.

“We are taking a customer-focused approach to the work that we do within the technology function, and delivering real value through a business partner, service brokerage approach,” Auranen continued. 

Results impact the customer in many ways

NZ Post has used this strategy to scale service delivery without incurring additional costs:

  • 208 APIs facilitate automated system integration and expand service delivery
  • Those APIs support an average of 773 million requests per month, demonstrating the scale that’s possible with this sort of IT strategy.
  • Roughly 30% of the team’s APIs have been refactored into new architectures and made available for reuse 
  • New contact centre capabilities have been used to manage as many as 546,000 phone calls in a quarter, and 809,000 phone calls in a year. And, fun fact: the team is using these numbers to drive partnerships with customer stakeholders, reducing call volume by offering of more self-service options and increasing visibility to the status of a parcel across NZ Post’s network.
  • Last year NZ Post deployed 116 data-driven campaigns resulting in over 9 million touchpoints for Consumer and Business customers

But perhaps even more important than the numbers is the resulting impact they started to generate — internally. More employees wanted to work on the platform because they could see the potential and the opportunity that came from the team’s investments, and they wanted to be a part of that. After all, the employee experience usually correlates with the customer experience; i.e.: excited customers attract high-performing employees to the forefront of change, and high-performing employees deliver the kind of innovation that continues to move that forefront forward.


5 best practices from NZ Post

Developing a customer-first strategy is just one of the five best practices demonstrated by the team — best practices that make a great starting point or “to-do” list for your next digital transformation project.
“Now, we can see the customer come to life and create more personalised experiences. When someone calls in, we will see their history with us, suggest next steps based on their preferences, and take action accordingly,” said Auranen. “We recognise the power these platforms have to enable robust, resilient, integrated services and help make us a competitive, world-class organisation in the industry.”

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