The secret behind Australian Red Cross’s agility to the bushfire crisis




Image of  Kangaroo- Red cross Australia

Customer engagement 

April 2018 marked the official birth of customer experience (CX) as a specific function at Australian Red Cross. Fast-forward 19 months and the not-for-profit has managed to reduce customer churn, increase lifetime value and save an impressive Aus$4m (USD$2.8m) on marketing spend.

Belinda Dimovski, director of engagement and support at Australian Red Cross reflects on how this journey, in particular the focus on personalization, has transformed the organization in the midst of domestic disasters like the recent bushfire crisis.

How did this customer experience journey start for Red Cross?

Belinda Dimovski: I spent my first six months really trying to understand the rhythm of Red Cross. It was clear – and the team were quick to tell me ­- that the silos of specific campaigns were not considering the overall experience of the customer and the multiple touch points. Actually standing up a customer experience function was an exciting was to unpack the problem.

We started with a couple of projects. Understanding our segmentation was one, the face-to-face fundraising experience was another. We journey mapped all touch points, brought our brand tracker and marketing campaign functions in-house and supported the development of new products.

We are building on what we have learnt so far, testing our personalization theories and continuing to refine and develop better customer experiences. Over the last 18 months, we have seen the positive results of more effective marketing spend, in-house campaign management and improved measurements of trust and respect.

The abstract for your session at CXN Live: APAC Online in March highlights the significant financial savings from your CX projects. How did you manage to make those savings and simultaneously provide a more personalized service for your customers?

Dimovski: We made a range of strategic decisions. Instead of having external agencies develop our four bespoke campaigns across the year, we decided to bring the function in-house. We took on the function of understanding our customers, including their preferences in content and engagement so did not just spamming them with information.

To do this, we created personas, segmented our data and audience and sculpted a bespoke set of journeys based on those personas. By streamlining how we messaged these individuals, we became more targeted in our approach. We now update individuals simply, clearly and with meaningful information. For example, we are starting to inform them on the positive impact their funds are making to programs they care about.

Save your seat for CXN Live: APAC Online 2020

To keep ahead of your APAC customers, not only should a minimum expectation be met, but innovation must be continuous. That’s why CX Live APAC discusses both established trends in the region, and showcases how some of the most innovative companies around are impressing their customers.

 

How has the new personalization strategy put Red Cross in a better position to handle the bushfire crisis?

Dimovski: We identified a customer segment that were interested in supporting those affected by domestic disasters and had worked on the most effective engagement strategy to use on that segment. We had determined the optimal balance of effective storytelling and service information to engage a response.

When the bushfire crisis came to be, we put this plan into action. It was there for us to implement.

What would the difference have been if you didn’t implement this transformation project?

Dimovski: If we had not implemented the transformation project we wouldn’t have been able to identify the different segments of supporters and we would not have been able to respond across all social, EDM marketing, media and face-to-face channels in the agile way we did.

The transformation project has enabled us to pivot quickly, be flexible in our approach and put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Finally, any mistakes to avoid with CX transformation projects?

Dimovski: It is impossible to completely avoid mistakes, but you have to plan ahead and understand what may be your pitfalls and be ready to pivot. The assumptions you make, the things you test, the behaviour you may expect may not occur. My big takeaway from this would be that CX leaders should not be fixed on the solution and instead ensure there is built-in flexibility to withstand the unexpected.

Tune into Belinda’s session at 9am SGT on March 19 for her words of wisdom on launching personalization projects to delight customers and boost retention levels.

Save your seat for CXN Live: APAC Online 2020

To keep ahead of your APAC customers, not only should a minimum expectation be met, but innovation must be continuous. That’s why CX Live APAC discusses both established trends in the region, and showcases how some of the most innovative companies around are impressing their customers.

 

RECOMMENDED