By "Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize-Oracle" on Oct 31, 2014
A young couple stands in front of a jewellery store window, holding hands and gazing in wonder at the life changing purchase they are about to make—a stunning engagement ring.
It’s a timeless scene until the bride-to-be snaps a selfie with her smartphone to share on social media and the future groom checks the establishment’s reviews on Yelp. Welcome to buying jewellery in the digital age. A short time later, they emerge from the jeweller. She clinging to his arm and radiating happiness. He, strides forward, proud and happy, but his brow is furrowed in concern. How will he pay for his purchase? How will he protect his priceless future heirloom? That second question will be answered when he dials the number on the business card tucked in his jacket pocket for the firm of insurance brokers recommended by the jeweller.
London based T H March is the UK’s largest and most experienced firm of insurance brokers specializing in all aspects of insurance for the jewellery trade, with 60% of the commercial market and tens of thousands of consumer clients.
Founded in 1887, the firm is a trusted advisor and preferred partner to the UK jewellery trade and its customers. Over the decades, the company’s customer experience practices have embraced new technology including the use of the internet and email. However, on the whole, T H March (like most of its contemporaries) has continued to remain heavily reliant on traditional manual and paper-based processes – until now!
Neil McFarlane, Managing Director at T H March, was recently an executive customer speaker in an Oracle OpenWorld session devoted to strategies for adopting Modern Best Practice in high-growth organizations. Modern Best Practice exploits new capabilities made possible by emerging technologies—Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, Social, The Internet of Things, and Big Data—to enable organizations to achieve more, faster and with less resources.
“Insurance by nature is an impersonal business,” says Neil. “You don’t get a tangible product. You get a piece of paper with a promise. Our antiquated manual processes had become shockingly inadequate. For example, once a year we write to our clients and, essentially, ask for money. Those letters began with, ‘Dear valued client’. No personalized salutation. In this day and age, that’s inexcusable. It wasn’t difficult to work out we had a bit of a problem. We needed to change that dynamic.”
Finding the Right Solution to Take T H March Further Into the Digital Age
Behind that harsh self assessment is a sincere desire by Neil and his leadership team to better engage with their valued clients and to offer products that are most relevant to them. He knows too well the motto of the insurance business: If you win on price, you lose on price. The only way to establish differentiation is by offering a unique service proposition. T H March’s disparate, fragmented, and largely manual systems were stretching the firm’s resources and impacting response times, innovation, and service.
“Nearly all our competitors are ex-employees,” says Neil. “They have an inside track on our business. They drop our name in their elevator pitches to get the opportunity to provide quotes to our clients. They brag about having worked at T H March but then go on to say that they offer a ‘fresher, newer’ perspective. It’s very frustrating.”
When he began searching in earnest for new approaches to sales and marketing in 2011, Neil was T H March’s Sales and Marketing Director. Oracle wasn’t on his list because he believed the company only worked with large clients and not small but growing firms like T H March with its 100 employees. Neil’s opinion was swayed after attending an Oracle Eloqua marketing automation solution road show. While he was quick to appreciate the solution’s capabilities and ease of use, he simultaneously became aware that they would need to adopt an overarching strategy to modernize not just marketing but also sales and social relationship management.
“Oracle demonstrated immediately that they really did get what we are trying to achieve,” says Neil. “They were the only company who understood our main driver was marketing automation, not basic CRM. They also fully involved Enigen, our implementation partner from the very outset, so that together they always seemed to be 1 or 2 steps ahead of the competing vendors. Oracle and Enigen were the only vendor team that took the time to understand what our needs were and personalized a solution to those requirements.”
The Oracle and Enigen team helped Neil visualize how solutions for sales, marketing, and social relationship management (SRM) would work together to enable the firm to adopt modern best practice customer relationship management. His expectations go well beyond the customer relationship, sales, and territory management in Oracle Sales Cloud. He believes they already do a pretty good job at that but acknowledges they can do better by adopting Modern Best Practice for Sales.
Neil believes that the most impactful outcomes will be realized by putting together very personalized marketing campaigns with automated responses to nurture client and prospect relationships. And, by adopting social relationship management they will be better able to judge the effectiveness of those campaigns by listening to what people are saying about the firm and its brand and then responding and adapting accordingly.
“We intend to leverage Oracle CX Cloud to engage with our customers on a personal, very real basis and be relevant to them at the right time with the right information,” says Neil. “By creating a complete understanding of how, when, where and why our clients contact us, we can design personal and individual responses and campaigns based on their own needs. None of our competitors are even close to adopting that Modern Best Practice.”
- Download the eBook, Modern Best Practice Explained
- Learn more about how Oracle solutions can help you adopt Modern Best Practice for Finance, HR and Talent, Marketing, Procurement, Sales, and Service.