First by horse, next by ship, then by plane. Since its inception 200 years ago, the Australia Post has served to connect its citizens to the rest of the world. But these days the government-owned postal service is also a digitally savvy e-commerce driver and player, intent on building a single client-based ecosystem where it knows customers’ interactions in the digital environment.
CMO.com APAC spoke to Darren Boyle, Australia Post’s head of digital performance and analytics, who spoke at this week’s Adobe’s Digital Marketing Symposium, in Sydney. Boyle has been with the organisation for nearly four years and is responsible for helping to drive its digital experience into the future for its customers.
CMO.com: Empowering Australians to communicate is one of Australia Post’s core tenets. What are some of the challenges the organisation faces to make this possible?
Boyle: Our origination process was built on connecting people to each other, and government and businesses to their customers for over 200 years. This has been disrupted with the adoption of new technologies as consumers and businesses use new and ever-changing methods to interact. The challenge and the opportunity for Australia Post is to transform into a leading e-commerce solutions provider meeting the needs of every Australian in the new digital environment.
CMO.com: How do you create an organisation that can deal with new challenges as they emerge?
Boyle: There are a couple of ways we’re looking to do that. We have integrated our core IT teams with some of our digital teams to enable very quick iterations, data-led decision making, and lots of pivot points. We’re really trying to have lean development, particularly in the digital space.
We are also looking to invest in our infrastructure. We’ve got two new parcel sorting centres–one in Melbourne and one in Sydney. This allows much greater parcel-sorting capabilities, which then allow us to build digital products and services on top of that for our customers.
CMO.com: How do you capture user experience and integrate it into the design of new services?
Boyle: We have a multifaceted environment. We have a central customer experience team that looks at products and services from a holistic view, and then a team within each one of the channels. In the digital environment, we have our customer experience team, we do contextual inquiry, eye-tracking, three or four rounds of design, design thinking, and then we’ll loop these results back into the customer experience team to make sure all the channel touch points are aligned.
CMO.com: How do you create functional feedback loops that enable you to respond to information that is relevant?
Boyle: The answer to that is multiple sources of information. We have an enterprise-wide NPS-gathering feedback tool that looks at all the interactions across multiple channels, and then each channel has its own feedback loop.
CMO.com: What is “digital experience” and why is it an important concept for Australia Post?
Boyle: Customers now expect seamless experiences online. Organisations now need to think about the end-to-end journey of a customer, and it’s a question of why they are coming to your digital environment. For example, rather than just designing a beautiful website, look at it from the view of: What is the customer coming to your environment to do? Ask what products and services are going to be relevant to them based on who they are, and then serve them that content and experience.
CMO.com: Where does mobile fit into your overall approach?
Boyle: Very strongly. Half of our traffic comes from mobile devices. With all the new experiences we’re designing, we look at mobile as an integral part of that. We’ve got mobile apps, we’ve got mobile specific websites; all the new experiences we create in our digital environment are mobile-friendly.
CMO.com: Is there still a strong requirement to provide a traditional website interface rather than focusing on a mobile-first approach?
Boyle: Given our customer demographics, I would say no. It goes back to our core brand tenet of being relevant to every Australian, every day. Although we get a significant proportion of visitors to our digital environment through the mobile channel, we must present an experience relevant to the customer on the channel they choose to come through. Mobile is key, even though we’re not what I’d call a traditional e-commerce vendor.
CMO.com: What role does personalisation play in Australia Post’s overall ethos and approach?
Boyle: Personalisation is becoming more and more important to us. We have the MyPost brand, where there’s a very strong drive to have a known user experience. We capture relevant information from the customer to provide them with a targeted and more tailored experience–both physically and digitally. The more information we can ascertain from our customers, the more we can tailor the message for them.
CMO.com: Do you expect customers to identify themselves, or is the onus on you to know who they are?
Boyle: We’re attempting to get customers to log in more, so it’s beholden on Australia Post to provide more utility as a known user. Anyone who logs in to MyPost as a known user will get additional products and services, or additional detail that an unknown customer can’t get.
CMO.com: What issue, challenge, or technology do you believe you will be looking at in two years?
Boyle: The big focus is to build the digital ecosystem to allow us to capture data and information about our customers. This allows us to then respond across multiple touch points across multiple customer journeys and build a core cloud-based ecosystem that will be key to Australia Post and its e-commerce agenda.
There are other macro challenges, such as building out our network and having a world-class infrastructure and parcel-delivery network. This requires pulling all of our data into a single repository so we have a view of our customers and the omnichannel touch points we have with those customers.
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