Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

How to deepen ongoing engagement with your customers

Wine barrels

In April, 2014, more than 150 customer experience, data, marketing and business leaders participated in the first Customer 360 Symposium run by  Ashton Media.

This is the final of three posts based on a presentation given by  Paul Smitton, Executive Manager Customer Engagement at  Qantas Loyalty,  who talked about how Qantas created diverse and authentic customer experiences that linked back to their core travel offering.

In the previous post Paul shared how Qantas give their customers the experiences they really want.

Reach out  to deepen engagement with your customers

Qantas is also an online business so we wanted to find new ways to reach out and engage people more face to face and make it more personal. We launched two things which were pretty interesting.

Wine barrels

One was what we called our T3 cellar door in Sydney and with about 10 million customers that go through the domestic terminals in Sydney and Melbourne every year; it’s a great way to have engagement with a high value consumer group. The cellar door was something that we ran for three months and it was very successful in boosting awareness and getting engagement.

We’re also running an animatic machine in our domestic business lounge in Sydney. We’re calling that our Sommelier Animatic and because obviously part of the core proposition of the lounge is that you get free food and wine, having an animatic machine where you actually deduct points to have a glass of wine, it needs to be good quality wine so this is typically stocked with Grange.

Customers love the fact that they can come in there, put their membership card in and have a glass of Grange which is good fun. It’s also showcasing technology, it’s allowing us to show how the chip enabled membership card can real-time access your points balance, deduct some points for you and you get a glass of wine. So that’s been really engaging.

Create a really strong online customer experience

We also just in the last couple of months, realised that part of the whole proposition was that it needed to be a really strong online experience for the customer and so launching a new web platform in January with high res was a key part of that as well.

What this allows us to do is to be really personalised. We have different landing pages. We can also introduce things like retail at our point of sale and our terminals so that customers are able to leverage those different contact channels. That’s another part of the deepening of that ongoing engagement with those customers.

Invite your customers to join in the process

The other things that we do are things like member wine panels. Members love to get involved so we invite customers to come along and help us select the products as well.

So as well as the inflight wine panel that choose wine for inflight, we also have a member panel and this is a great way to get that deep engagement. We have our wine makers come along and give them lessons on how to taste the different products, but also to help select products that they like as well that we can then sell.

We also run over 50 events throughout the year and those events are really great. They actually don’t make money in and of themselves, they’re really an engagement activity, and by having those events, whether it be a new release of a new product or at a great new restaurant that we’ve discovered, those sort of events are really priceless and they’re priced at a point where the customer can get some tremendous value.

We don’t make money off it but they come along and they feel engaged and it deepens the ties to the brand. We’re also driving more and more social activation as well. Because food and wine is one of those things that is very timeless, people love to talk about it all the time. That’s a great way to strengthen our relationship with our customers.

So the interesting thing, really, in terms of outcomes is that when we look at our Epicure customers and we compare it to the wider base, it really gets interesting, because we’re making money, we’re making millions of dollars out of selling wine. And that’s great.

Have a steady revenue stream that links back to your core product

It’s nice to have a new and steady revenue stream selling something different but what it really is, is a way of deepening engagement and bringing that back to the core. What we see is, when we compare people who buy wine versus our other customer base, a 411% increase over non buyers in terms of flight sales which is huge, right. That’s four times the value when you’re an epiQure customer versus a non epiQure customer.

Form coalition engagements

Because we run a coalition program and we have a whole range of partners whether it be credit cards or iSelect which is a great new partner, people like that in the program. What we see is when they engage in epiQure, there’s a 273% increase in terms of coalition engagements.

We see them engaging in other categories as well which we know the more they engage across those different categories, the more sticky they become to us as well. Also in terms of point sales, we sell more points. One thousand percent more points so it’s a pretty strong improvement over the non epiQure customer.

Find other categories to deepen customer engagement

What we’re doing now is saying, how do we take the fact that food and wine has been a really strong area for us and then start looking at the next interest group? How do we find other categories that we can deepen engagement, have a direct benefit around  ancillary from that category, but also use it as a way of having another domain that we’re entering into that brings deeper engagement back to the core?

That’s pretty much what we’re doing and I think it’s something interesting that everyone can think about. How do you think about other sectors that are maybe not your core traditional strength? How do you go to something that’s related or not too far unrelated where you can deepen engagement and bring it back to your core indirectly? That’s very much what we’re trying to do with this type of program.

Check out the full video here:

Mark Abay - Content Director, Ashton Media About Mark Abay - Content Director, Ashton Media
Mark is Content Director at Ashton Media. It's his job to create interesting and engaging conference programs that stretch the thinking of our attendees. Mark works closely with our industry advisors to ensure the conference content is aligned with the needs and interests of our audiences.