Salesforce enable EW Technologies to analyse every detail of its business
It’s hard to comprehend that most households in Ireland, and around half in the UK, suffer from problems caused by our planet’s most precious resource – water. As rainwater falls it is remarkably pure, or, as hydrologists describe it, soft. But in countries like Ireland, by the time most rainwater finds its way into the drinking water supply, it has turned from soft to hard, by acquiring high levels of natural minerals like calcium and magnesium.
The higher mineral content in hard water can provide health benefits, and most water drinkers say that hard water tastes nicer than soft. But when hard water is heated up it forms a white calcium deposit called limescale, which, over time, causes damage to appliances like kettles, washing machines, and dishwashers, and to water heating systems and pipework, reducing their efficiency and lifespan. And for people with sensitive skin or hair, hard water can further irritate these conditions.
The answer is to fit a domestic water softening unit. And in just 20 years, with the help of Salesforce in recent years, Dublin-based EW Technologies (EWT) has gone from fledgling start-up to become Ireland’s leading water softening and drinking water systems business.
EWT supplies and maintains the equipment that turns hard water soft for millions of people, a remarkable success story underlined by recent expansion into the UK and Poland.
The perfect customer experience
EWT prides itself on providing ‘the perfect customer experience, every time’, and the business gets consistently high marks for customer satisfaction, in both its own and independent, large sample size review programmes.
But just three years ago, EWT relied upon heavily modified, legacy accounts-based systems for its customer relationship management activities.
“It was completely inadequate, inefficient, and time consuming. We knew we needed a much more comprehensive and automated system of handling our relationships with customers,” said Brand and Sales Manager Yaroslav Gruzdev.
EWT’s ultimate goal is to become a 100% online business, where the customer doesn’t need to talk to anyone – unless they want to – with the entire product selection, buying, and installation booking process automated and online. Ideally, the first-time a customer sees a friendly face from EWT is when one of their engineers arrives to install the equipment.
Building successful journeys
Automation drives efficiencies
Having the capability to communicate so effectively with customers through Marketing Cloud has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving EWT to ability to provide reassurance about its engineers’ safe practices, including the use of masks and PPE.
And by capturing the data on each customer as they place an order, between then and the installation day, EWT can see which other products they may be interested in, such as special taps or drinking systems, and to present those personalised suggestions to the customer to see if they would like to add those to their basket.
“As a result of marketing automation and improvements to the customer experience, our cross sales rates have risen from 2% to 11%,” said Gruzdev.
Salesforce automation is also directly driving higher and higher customer service standards, through the use of instant online reviews, capturing the opinions of customers about their installation engineer, for example. Great reviews are feeding positive social media activity while constructive feedback informs Salesforce Trailhead training and personal development activities.
"The custom trailheads have been a great stepping-stone for onboarding me when I was starting off. I gotot off to a running start and got quick and easy overviews of exactly what I needed to know. It’s absolutely brilliant for looking back over the process if you can't quite remember the right steps," says Ryan Godfrey, Customer Support Agent.
Using Salesforce for comprehensive data management and analytics from each engineer’s working day, combined with feedback from customers, is also enabling constant efficiency and customer service improvements.
For example, by automating the process of establishing in advance the precise location of the customer’s water supply into their home, appointment cancellations are avoided, and many minutes saved, with this time saving soon turning into hours when multiplied across the entire field force.
And by plotting customer locations against EWT’s field force and warehousing arrangements in Salesforce Maps, the company can make informed recruitment and resourcing decisions, to ensure that it’s serving customers most efficiently.
“Automating things like this is just great, because it happens so easily and efficiently, we don’t need people on phones, ringing up customers asking if they would mind providing a review – and the information we get back is priceless,” commented Gruzdev.
Since EWT has embraced Salesforce, direct sales through the EWT website have risen sharply from 2% of the total, with the remainder coming predominantly through telephone sales, to a remarkable 62%.
Its mobile field service engineers are attending up to 2,500 appointments each month, comprising of new installments, services and callouts. A huge 68% of appointments are made online, all organised through Salesforce, managed by a single coordinator based in Poland, compared to a team of around 35, each responsible for organising the activities of just one engineer.
Phone calls from customers seeking assistance have been steadily reducing, while the productivity of EWT’s field force has increased too. “Previously each engineer was given a list of jobs for the day, and the engineer would decide the order and route to be taken,” explained Gruzdev.
“In our legacy system, each engineer had one member of our call staff assigned to them, and they would book in the jobs and decide on the route the engineer would take. But this was impractical when we wanted to scale up our operations, so we moved to a new system with call staff booking in jobs, and one planner handling the routing for all engineers. This way we could scale up our engineering capacity without having to scale up our call centre.
“Now with Salesforce, each job is organised and scheduled in the most efficient way, with the best order and the fastest route already worked out in advance. We know what items each engineer needs to have in the van to successfully complete installation, when a visit to a warehouse to restock will be required, and any specific information or requests related to each individual job.”
As soon as the job has been successfully completed Salesforce generates a payment link and an invitation to complete a review, at which point the engineer moves on to the next appointment.
“The integration of all these elements is fantastic and would be impossible without Salesforce. As a result, in Ireland the revenue each engineer is generating has doubled, compared to pre-Salesforce days, while revenue per engineer in the UK has increased by 50%,” explained Gruzdev.
And ensuring that jobs are intelligently sequenced is great news for engineers too, as their income goes up the more jobs they complete each day, assisting EWT’s efforts to attract great people into their ranks. And when a job is unexpectedly cancelled or postponed, instant messaging to the despatcher quickly produces a fresh schedule, optimised for best results.
“I’m a data and numbers person so I just love the analytics capabilities,” concluded Gruzdev. “What has really impressed me about Salesforce is how it has enabled us to analyse every detail of our business processes, and how our people operate. We can then use that information to make smart decisions and to use automation to deliver major improvements and efficiencies across the board.
“Salesforce delivers the indisputable evidence of what each business challenge or issue really is. It’s crystal clear and it takes the emotion out of decision-making. But at the same time, Salesforce enables us to address those challenges and issues, by deploying the tools and solutions that make things better, for us and our customers.”