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Case study eCourier, Cablecom, and Bryan Cave


Case study eCourier, Cablecom, and Bryan Cave: Delivering Value through Business Intelligence Visitors to the eCourier Web site are greeted with the words “How happy are you? Take the eCourier happy test today!” Those words and the playful purple Web site repre- sent the company’s customer satisfaction focus. And a key for the company in achieving that happiness is through its focus on operational business intelligence. Business intelligence is moving out of the ivory tower of specialized analysts and is being brought to the front lines. In the case of eCourier, whose couriers carry 2,000 packages around London each day, operational business intelligence allows the company to keep real- time tabs on customer satisfaction. “This is a crucial dif- ferentiator in London’s competitive same-day courier market, where clients are far more likely to take their business elsewhere than they are to report a problem to their current courier,” says the company’s Chief Tech- nology Officer and cofounder Jay Bregman. Online di- rectory London Online shows about 350 listings for courier services. Before implementing operational business intelli- gence, eCourier sought to define IT as a crucial differ- entiator. Cofounders Tom Allason, eCourier’s CEO, and Bregman ditched the idea of phone dispatchers and in- stead gave their couriers GPS-enabled handhelds, so couriers can be tracked and orders can be communicated electronically. They also focused on making online booking easy and rewarding; and much was invested in user-friendly applications: Customers can track online exactly where their courier is, eliminating the package delivery guesswork. Today, 95 percent of deliveries are booked online, meaning that eCourier needs a much smaller staff for monitoring, tracking and placing orders, which in turn makes the company more scalable. Bregman says this is notable in a market where many courier companies use telephone dispatchers and guesswork about package whereabouts. Although innovative, booking and tracking automation did not complete the customer happiness puzzle. Without leading-edge business intelligence, ac- count managers could miss the same issues that plagued other courier services: late deliveries, surly couriers, or even an unnoticed ramp-up in deliveries. “We’re only one delivery away from someone deciding to use a different delivery firm,” says Bregman. So eCourier started using software from a company called SeeWhy to try to generate customer data more quickly. “What’s unique about SeeWhy,” says Bregman, “is its ability to report what’s happening with customers in- stantly.” When a new booking enters eCourier’s database, the information is duplicated and saved into a repository within SeeWhy. The software then interprets the data by comparing it with previous information and trends, and if it notices an anomaly, it takes action. If a customer typically places an eCourier order every Thursday morning between 9:30 and 10 and there’s been no contact during that time, eCourier’s CRM team will receive an alert shortly after 10 that includes the client’s history and the number of book- ings it typically places in a day. Bregman says there’s a fair amount of tuning to get the metrics right. For example, the company had to tweak the system to recognize expected shifts in activity, so it doesn’t send a slew of alerts once the after-Christmas drop in busi- ness occurs. Getting that perfect balance of when to send alerts and how best to optimize the system is an ongoing process, he says. The SeeWhy software is designed to establish a “normal” client booking pattern from the first use, which is deepened with each subsequent booking. A sharp drop- off in bookings, an increase in bookings, or a change in dormant account activity generates an alert that is sent t


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