Z Energy

Salesforce helps us connect the different parts of our business so that we can build a richer view of our customers and create better relationships with them.”

Kieran Turner | Head of Data and Analytics

Z Energy powers more relevant and valuable customer engagement

Z Energy is a New Zealand energy company which supplies fuel to nearly half the local market. The company serves retail customers through its own network of service stations and through those operating under the Caltex brand. It also provides fuel to commercial customers such as trucking companies and vehicle fleet operators.

The strength and breadth of Z Energy’s operations keep New Zealand moving while enabling the company to invest in the future. The company knows it needs to transition to a low carbon future and it has set out specific targets aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Z Energy is also transforming customer engagement to help it maintain relevance.

“If we want to remain relevant to our customers, we need to know more about them and be able to talk to them in a way that adds value,” said Kieran Turner, Head of Data and Analytics. “Salesforce helps us connect the different parts of our business so that we can build a richer view of our customers and create better relationships with them.”

Centralising customer engagement

Z Energy has grown through acquisition, resulting in a build-up of legacy systems and disparate sources of data. It wanted to reduce the complexity in its operations and went through an RFP process to choose a single platform for customer engagement across all its brands.

“One of the things that appealed to us about Salesforce was its ease of use for end-users and that’s held true as we’ve got our teams onboard the platform,” said Turner. “We’ve also found that the Salesforce team walks the talk; they’re committed to helping us get the most out of the solutions we have.”

The first phase of Z Energy’s Salesforce journey was to get Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud up and running, helping the company pivot to more automated and dynamic email engagement with commercial customers.

Z Energy has also implemented a customer churn journey which, in its first six months, allowed the company to capture 1,500 business customers and talk to them about the benefits of its business product. Through a series of emails or direct mailers, phone calls, and the potential of a free coffee, Z Energy was able to re-engage over half of these customers.

With the use of customer management in Sales Cloud and the automated journeys of Marketing Cloud, business customers were also guided through a seamless transition to the company’s new SME product Z Business Plus.

Around the same time, Z Energy decided to connect more of its data onto the Salesforce platform with a focus on engaging more directly with retail customers. Up until that time, Z Energy relied on third-party data and joint promotions to reach these customers. However, with the launch of its Pumped loyalty programme, Z Energy had an opportunity to connect with retail customers 1:1. So it set to work laying the foundation for more personalised engagement. This involved the creation of integration pipelines to automate the flow of data from third-party platforms, internal legacy systems, and the company’s (Point of Sales) POS into Salesforce.

“The second phase of our implementation was about creating a standardised view of our customers that would help us understand them and be more data-driven in our engagement,” said Kris Hamilton, Head of Data Solutions at Z Energy. “So rather than hit customers with every communication we send out, we can send them more valuable information or offers based on their behaviour or preferred brand.”

Ellie Kelman, Marketing Automation Manager at Z Energy, added, “Operating in a complex environment with multiple brands, loyalty programs, and customer identifiers, Salesforce helps to facilitate a more cohesive view of the customer.”

Optimising the customer experience

Marketing Cloud smooths the onboarding of business customers onto its new Z Business Plus product with an onboarding journey that includes a series of emails and phone calls. The journey drives customers to activate their accounts, utilise the product features, get the most out of Z Business Plus, and share their experience as a new Z Business Plus customer.

“Originally, we only engaged with customers upon completion of their account setup. However, we now have an onboarding journey which provides a rich lead to customer experience, keeping customers up to date on the progress of their new account and the first 60 days of their journey with Z,” said Kris Hamilton.

The onboarding journey has successfully increased the rate of card activations and reduced the number of customers dropping out of the program. The flexibility of Marketing Cloud has also enabled Z Energy to easily improve on the journey, and after identifying moments to engage customers earlier, the company was able to reduce the average card activation time from 12 days to nine.

“One of the things that Salesforce allows us to do is act on our insights. Our lapsed re-engagement campaign is a great example. Using data-driven engagement and leveraging our targeted offers campaign management in Sales Cloud, we’ve seen an overall re-engagement rate of 70% of those customers identified as lapsed,” said Anna Koot, Marketing Specialist – Business at Z Energy.

On the consumer side of the business, Salesforce is helping Z Energy draw on new sources of data to get closer to its customers and win them over with personalised offers. This data includes information from the Z and Caltex apps as well as information collected from POS systems and online competitions.

“Now using zero-and first-party data, we can aggregate a customers’ transactions over a 180-day period and see how frequently they’re visiting us and what they’re purchasing. We can then use these insights to create very specific offers targeted at small groups of people,” said Hamilton.

These benefits are in addition to the efficiencies and speed to market gained by using Marketing Cloud and features like AMPScript which simplify personalisation. For example, the company’s recent launch of Z Electric required the creation of just one dynamic and personalised email as opposed to nine separate ones for each audience.

Creating and sharing best practice

Wunderman Thompson has been a key partner in many of these activities and is continuing to work alongside Z Energy to maximise customer engagement.

Z Energy has also established an internal Centre of Excellence to build on its data and marketing capabilities. It has brought on Social Studio to monitor customer sentiment about the brand and specific initiatives like Z Electric, as well as Interaction Studio to better understand how customers interact with their digital products.

“What we’re experimenting with at the moment with Interaction Studio is listening to the leads that come through to our platforms so we can augment our data landscape and identify the next best action to drive faster conversion,” said Hamilton. “We also believe it will allow us to trigger offers based on specific events or behaviour. For instance, if a customer were to visit a station three times in one month, we could trigger an offer for free coffee on our digital pumped screens, when they approach the next time.”

Service Cloud has recently been implemented at Z Energy and will help the company provide personalised second tier support to consumers who use its apps. This implementation has been approached like all other activities with an agile mindset and agile methodologies.

Z Energy is also leveraging Trailhead and Trailhead Playgrounds to learn and experiment with new features.

“Trailhead has been a game changer for us as it has allowed us to create specific learning paths for our internal users and fast track the onboarding for new squad members. I was also blown away by Trailhead Playgrounds as it has allowed our developers to test their proof of concepts (POCs) before committing to our development environments. This also meant we could definitively design our end-to-end components, before touching our development pipeline. It's a great example of how Salesforce is providing the tools and helping us move with the times, to speed up some of our activities,” said Hamilton.

“More broadly, we’ve successfully made the transition to a single, scalable platform for engagement and are in a really good position to execute on future needs.”


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