Improved customer service and advice
Integration of SAS and MS Excel refines and accelerates information reporting
Which postal products do business customers prefer? Which services do they expect? What are the major trends in the market? De Post — La Poste can now answer these questions quickly and accurately based on information from millions of transactions performed by its 99,000 business customers. But until recently however, access to this vast database was neither quick nor easy. With the integration of SAS and MS Excel, De Post — La Poste can now rely on an easy-to-use reporting environment that delivers the information 60 times faster than before.
This project has vastly improved ourappreciation of the information we already have in-house.
Customer & Marketing Intelligence Manager
In 2003, De Post — La Poste inaugurated its Account Management department to service business customers better. But in order for account managers to achieve this goal, they first have to understand exactly what it is their customers need. “We collect enormous amounts of information and register it in a vast database,” explains Marc Immer, Customer & Marketing Intelligence Manager at De Post — La Poste. “This database includes everything from the tariffs that our customers are paying to the products they are using. Unfortunately, our former reporting tool was rather difficult to use and performed poorly. We realized that we needed a new reporting system; one with an intuitive interface.
And one which automatically registers any modifications such as product definitions so that reports are always based on current information.”
"Thanks to the integration of SAS with MS Excel, users at De Post — La Poste get their reports 60 times faster than before"
SAS saves MS Excel
MS Excel was chosen as the data reporting interface. This, however, proved to be a time-consuming solution. “Employees literally spent days putting together reports in Excel and tailoring them to the exact needs of our account and product managers,” recalls Immer. “Obviously, we do not want our employees losing time preparing reports instead of focusing on our core business.”
On the other hand, De Post — La Poste did not want to give up on Excel either, because it is a widely used and therefore a familiar environment for all of their users. “Management, account and product managers, and analysts all know how to work with it,” observes Immer. “SAS provided the solution. Thanks to its Office add-ins, we were able to keep Excel as our reporting interface while considerably improving our reporting efficiency.”
Questions answered 60 times faster
With the help of consultants from SAS partner Business & Decision, De Post — La Poste developed an efficient SAS/Excel reporting environment. “Our new system offers our users all of the information they are looking for in six hours instead of fifteen days,” Immer states proudly. “An added bonus is that along with its outstanding performance, it also offers a user-friendly environment. Users select the information they need in an Excel spreadsheet. Then they simply press the Execute button.The SAS solution that is working behind the scenes of Excel searches for theinformation
in the database, filters it, and distills all relevant information into an easy-to-use Excel report. Immer points out that users can also create their own standard reports. After making the selections in the Excel spreadsheet, they can store the file on their computer under a new name. “The next time they want to put together a report based on the same selections, they only have to open the saved file, refresh the source data to make sure that they are working with the most recent data, and press the Execute button.”
Improved service and product offering
This new reporting system has greatly improved the ability of De Post — La Poste account managers to assess the situation at their business customers. Immer: “Which products are our customers using? Which tariffs are they paying? These questions are only the tip of the iceberg. The new reports enable us to understand the customer far better than ever before. With this knowledge, we can offer them much better service and timelier advice on the most appropriate products.” The new reporting system also enables the De Post — La Poste to identify market trends much more rapidly. It can quickly identify when customers shift from one product to another and which products they use as substitutes. Users can now consult historical data to uncover emerging market trends. With this information in hand, they can advise their colleagues in Product Management on how to fine-tune the product offering.
Opening doors for more data mining
The new reporting system has provided De Post — La Poste with in-depth knowledge of its customer base and the market as a whole. They have also gained considerably more insight into the richness of their existing data. “This project has vastly improved ourappreciation of the information we already have in-house. It has really opened our eyes to many more opportunities for us to improve our efficiency and, most importantly, the services we provide our customers,” concludes Immer. “The future is now full of opportunities to pursue.”
Better knowledge of business customers and the market
- Fast decision making – Managers, account & product managers and analysts have faster access to market and customer information. Reports are available 60 times faster.
- Improved customer service – SAS improves the account managers’ knowledge of their clients and helps them to present the most appropriate products.
- Enhanced product offering – SAS reveals market trends; valuable information that can be used to tailor the product offering to the market’s actual needs.