The Great Texas Freeze of 2021 caused major havoc on the energy infrastructure and left 4.5 million homes without power for days. A major utility company scrambled to communicate with its customers to provide real-time updates and assuage immediate concerns. The company did not have a modern platform for sending ad hoc customer communications; their primary focus for communications had been on transactional notifications such as account billing alerts and customer portal messages which were system-automated.
As a result, they had to rely on manual processes for sending customer and supplier emails which included exporting email addresses from Salesforce and importing them into Marketing Cloud for email sends. The company did not have Salesforce and Marketing Cloud integrated via Marketing Cloud Connect and as a result, were relying on suboptimal processes. It would not be feasible to repeat this process for other immediate communications.
The utility actually saw good engagement and feedback from customers and suppliers who appreciated the increased communications. While the manual process was necessary for this crisis scenario, they wanted to set up proper communications tools and processes to elevate customer engagement as well as enable their teams to quickly and easily execute communications during an emergency scenario.
MRE Consulting implemented leading email marketing practices in Marketing Cloud, and integrated Marketing Cloud and Salesforce. This enabled many benefits for the business team including access to Salesforce contact data in Marketing Cloud for segmentation, visibility into email sends on Contacts in Salesforce, and the ability to leverage Salesforce Reporting capabilities.
MRE worked with the business team to identify audience segments and the data filters the team would need to create those audiences in Marketing Cloud. The client also wanted to leverage key data points from their commodity trading platform (Endur). Since Endur was already integrated to Salesforce, the additional data was easily accommodated.
Contact data quality was a concern, particularly given the importance of some of the account communications. To improve contact hygiene, email validation results and bounced emails from Marketing Cloud were synchronized to Salesforce for sales and service representatives to action. The team created a contact information management page on the existing Community Cloud customer portal. Customers had role-based access which limited which information they could edit for the account, including the ability to change who needed to receive key account communications.
The business team wanted to retain an exact copy of all account-related communications both for regulatory purposes as well as so that service representatives could easily resend emails upon request. MRE built a solution to save an exact copy of the sent email in Salesforce so that any sales or service representative could access it, confirm the information, and also resend the email to them. Marketing Cloud would automatically save email data and the email template to Salesforce.
The marketing team was already in Marketing Cloud sending emails to customers even before the project was over! The process was so simple, they were able to create an audience and schedule the email send in under half an hour. What a change from the manual process they had before.
While there has not been another emergency scenario yet, the utility feels confident that the Marketing Cloud platform is now a powerful tool in their customer engagement arsenal. No longer bogged down by manual data imports for one-off email sends, the team could focus efforts to creating relevant, value-add communications that would help grow the business. Equipped with branded email templates, the client team was ready to go!
The project resulted in:
- Streamlined contact management processes by integrating Marketing Cloud with Salesforce including unsubscribe and bounce status, reducing effort and improving data quality.
- Enabled visibility into email communications for sales and service representatives via Salesforce, improving customer service satisfaction.
- Enabled visibility into the performance of emails (opens, clicks, bounces, etc.) across campaigns and by subscriber, providing insights for email marketing.
- Centralized control and management of email templates and branding, improving brand consistency and identity in email marketing.
- More business ownership of audiences and branding / email design through Content builder, enabling more marketing-driven email use cases.
The team is excited about the new email capabilities and is looking to add mobile texting (SMS) as a communication channel next, leveraging Marketing Cloud MobileConnect.