Customer service from financial institutions has been a major topic of discussion over the past few months. While the big banks are apparently prioritising customer service, are their business customers really happy?
This was the focus of a Telstra Enterprise & Government white paper entitled ‘Servicing Micro
Businesses – What Financial Institutions Need to Know’. This comprehensive piece of research found that banks needed to improve customer service to the micro business segment (employing 1-5 employees) in order to better meet their needs.
Howorth worked with Telstra Enterprise & Government to develop a technology public relations campaign that would communicate this issue across ICT, financial services and small business media.
White paper key findings
Telstra engaged two research companies to develop the white paper, Roy Morgan Research and McCrindle Research. The results from Roy Morgan – one of Australia’s most respected and established market research companies – showed that micro businesses are the least satisfied business segments when it comes to customer service from banks.
Telstra also sourced a third party spokesperson, social commentator Mark McCrindle from McCrindle Research, who provided valuable insight into the changing profile of micro businesses in Australia so that banks could better serve this segment. Mark outlined two trends – micro business owners (the majority who are baby boomers/pre boomers) passing the leadership reins to Generation X and Y and the increasing mobility of micro businesses – and how this can influence the way banks provide customer service.
Equipped with these findings, Telstra aimed to go one step further than other research available, by understanding the reasons for the customer dissatisfaction gap whilst outlining the technologies available to better capture the micro business segment.
Media strategy and outcomes
To maximise media coverage about the paper’s findings, Howorth organised a white paper launch event at Telstra’s Experience Centre in Sydney. The one hour event included presentations by Telstra spokesperson and paper author Rocky Scopelliti and Mark McCrindle, as well as a demonstration of the technologies available to boost customer satisfaction levels.
The event was successfully attended by journalists from ICT, financial services and small business outlets, with additional highlights on the day including a podcast interview with BNET and a live studio interview on Sky Business News in the afternoon. Other significant coverage included pieces in the Australian Financial Review, mX, Communications Day, Dynamic Business, Exchange, iTWire and Banking Day.
In the face of challenging economic conditions, BlueScope Steel asked the Howorth business-to-business/corporate public relations practice to help build distributor awareness of its Australian manufactured XLERPLATE® steel plate products, converting them from passive referrers to passionate champions of the range.
Steel producers and on-sellers had an extraordinarily tough year in 2009, with sales and revenues falling as global demand for steel weakened and import competition increased. While the public relations campaign needed to communicate the core brand values of XLERPLATE® (quality, flexibility, diversity), we needed to deliver these messages to a sales-savvy audience without them being rejected as marketing ‘clutter.’
Howorth’s insight was to package up new product information within a wider marketing campaign, challenging distributors to take part in ‘Operation XFACTOR’.
We took updated sales collateral, developed e-communications and a striking X-Factor website to cover off all channels, ensuring that distributors could not help but be exposed to XLERPLATE® steel. Once the buzz had been created around the product, a three stage online competition created strong incentives for participants to review and retain key product information, with Red Balloon vouchers rewarding those who successfully completed a ‘Quest for Quality’ around the plate’s key features and benefits.
Howorth worked with Random Studio and Alpha Salmon to deliver the PR campaign, including the development and design of marketing collateral and website. Participation rates have been strong and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:
“I wish our marketing department thought of this a long time ago”
“Really clever concept…”
“Appreciate all of the new info. Thanks so much”
The first phase of the PR program will continue through to May 2010 – Howorth is also in discussions with BlueScope Steel about subsequent phases of the campaign.
Howorth offers both technology and business communication and was engaged to promote a unique human resources program called the NRMA Kokoda Project.
The PR strategy resulted in an influential profile raising campaign executed through business, consumer and vertical media.
About NRMA Kokoda Project
The Kokoda Track is a muddy jungle trail linking the North and South coasts of Papua New Guinea. It was the scene of bitter fighting between Australian and Japanese forces during World War Two and crosses some of the most rugged terrain in the world.
It was also chosen as the perfect location to stage a leadership exercise by NRMA Motoring and Services, a mutual company with 2 million members and 1,400 employees across Australia and New Zealand.
Devised by leadership consultant Bruce Hayman, the NRMA Kokoda Project employed a reality TV approach to solve a typical HR problem: encouraging a large workforce to work better together.
Howorth’s PR Solution
When the project finished, Howorth was engaged to work with NRMA’s in-house public relations team to generate coverage in leading business, consumer and regional media.
Playing to the strengths of the project spokespeople, interviews appeared across television, radio, print and online media, including the Australian Financial Review BOSS magazine, ABC radio, Sky News Business Channel, Qantas Inflight Radio, WIN TV, Canberra Times, Human Capital and numerous local and regional titles.