Recently we attended “The Business Day” at Microsoft Future Decoded Conference. The day provided valuable insight into the future roadmap of Microsoft technology and its relevance to business management. One speaker in particular highlighted how they had implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM for their customer relationship management: Hywel Sloman, IT Director, Arsenal Football Club.
It struck us that many of the advantages highlighted by Hywel in terms of fan management in a multi-channel context are applicable and transferable to many industries especially hospitality.
Hywel Sloman doesn’t refer to his customers but rather his fans and it is clear to see that customer loyalty and satisfaction are paramount to Arsenal just as they are to many companies within the hospitality and events industry.
Hywel identified Arsenal Football Club’s main challenges as:
- Their brand is disproportionally large with £329 million turnover, one office outside the UK, a combined Twitter and Facebook global social following of 39 million of which only 1% are in the UK and all managed by 600 staff
- They have a differentiated product offering – meaning management of: football games, ticketing, hospitality, catering, retail, leisure centre, meeting and events and community out-reach to name just a few
- They had 27 different systems to manage all these products and channels without a single viewpoint of an individual customer, customers could receive up to four emails a day and communications would bounce and be considered spam due to inaccurate data (and probably full mailboxes)
Hywel summarises, “This is particularly bad in any industry but especially ours, where our customers are actually fans and are passionate about their club and want to know that their club knows them. Frankly it was a mess, and not good enough for a club of our stature, we set about fixing it.”
It is clear to see that customer relationship management was somewhat of a labyrinth to the club who had to manage multi-channel engagement with limited human resource and being unable to join up transactions would only increase work-load.
Introducing Microsoft Dynamics CRM…
“We’ve invested significantly in CRM, we don’t have customers we have fans, and we don’t bench mark ourselves in the football industry in CRM, but best in class across all industries. We’ve been on a three year journey to transform our processes and technology, we now have a single view of the customer which captures every transaction a fan has had with us since 2006. This has transformed our accounts and relationship management of our fans. We can target communications of fans… and deliver a message which is relevant to them. You get far fewer communications but these are appropriately targeted to the right people. This benefits our fans…but also our partners who can now communicate with targeted members of our fan base. Importantly it reduces our effort whilst increasing our return on investment.”
Hywel continues to highlight how CRM improves stakeholder relationships with third party partnerships being essential to the club. Arsenal’s ability to build more detailed profiles of potential customers with its revamped CRM system played a key role in Emirates’ decision to sign a £150m sponsorship deal with the club., According to the airline, speaking to Marketing Week, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President for corporate communications, Boutros Boutros says “Data on customers is important to us like it should be for any business. The price of media is increasing every year and having detailed data on customers allows us to work our where we spend out ad budgets and who we target as well as what markets we focus on through the club’s channels.”
Hywel goes on to highlight how he sees IT as a customer service function, “…I believe the question should be how can technology best enhance the fan experience.” This clearly highlights the importance of collaboration between teams within Arsenal Football Club, as marketing, sales and customer service are all effected by the issues Hywel highlights. The IT function has clearly worked together with these teams to overcome their issues, by implementing a CRM system from Microsoft Dynamics.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 has additional functionality to track relationship building and flag prospective customers, to allow customer-facing employees to manage their daily activities in a single experience. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 has been described by Microsoft as, “…our most comprehensive CRM release and a milestone in the company’s efforts to reinvent productivity.” It is clear to see how CRM has revolutionised how Arsenal conduct their business, Hywel states when looking to the future, “I know our technology transformation will continue for a long while yet… technology has been and continues to be essential”
Microsoft Future Decoded “Business Day” was jam packed with useful insight and thought-provoking case studies, I would encourage anyone who has an interest in business innovation and technology to attend next year, as there really is something for everyone. Contact Prodware to find out more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and how it can aid collaboration, increase efficiency and provide real ROI.