The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many industries and while travel and hospitality have been hit hard, industries like furnishings and durables have faced a massive roadblock to sales with the crisis. Despite social media attracting potential consumers with the intent to buy, concerns about safety and sanitization, apart from the obvious lack of movement to physical stores, has put a lid on many purchase plans.

As lockdown began in India, the teams at one of the largest players in the home comfort products segments – an annual one million production-strong brand – had to get creative in order to plan for the slump in demand it anticipated and explore a change in direction. So far, consumers were wooed to visit showrooms and expand their tactile experiences. In a brick-and-mortar setting, they were supported with rich interactions with the store staff. But now, the strategy had to be turned around, 180-degrees. This is where the capabilities of digital would came into play.

Now, the showrooms would go to the customer. And not the static way of e-commerce. But through a new route of lead generation and engagement.

A STRATEGY FOCUSING ON TIME AND SAFETY

Staqo understood the uniqueness of the problem the company was confronted with. It could not let the lockdown slip by without tackling the fall in demand and without capturing latent pockets of growth that only periods like these provide. The team deduced that what their client needed was a dynamic platform for lead generation keeping the distinct factors governing consumer decisions during the pandemic and the unique opportunities alike as the core context.

First, it identified both structured and unstructured sources of leads. These came from usual segments such as warranty databases as well as from last-mile segments such as carpenters who were still being tapped at the ground level by many customers. They could help in influencing mattress purchases and could, in turn, gain incentives and points. This list also covered social media and digital presence given that the value of these channels had increased further during the slowdown.

After the preliminary consultations with the client’s team, the following key sources of engagement were identified that the lead-generation solution would operate on:

  1. Social Media – Advertisements
  2. Campaigns
  3. Missed calls
  4. Old customer database
  5. Referrals
  6. Influencer Data
  7. Dealer & Distributor Customer Database

Once these engagement sources were thoroughly evaluated and confirmed, the next part was to route these leads in the right way without wasting time and customer attention. Short questionnaires were created for customers which would capture their needs. This chunk of data collected from customer interactions was then categorized into hot, cold and warm leads. The call center acted on the digital leads and fixed appointments for home visits by the dedicated on-ground sales team.

This was done through an in-built system that was capable of capturing data and translating it to the right table in real-time – instantly and accurately. Hot and warm leads were auto-mapped to the local sales team and equipped them with appointments (based on the data fed into the system). If the customer opted for showroom visit, then they were mapped to the nearest Exclusive Brand Outlet (EBO) with proper appointment to reduce unnecessary rush.

The system would then filter the unique leads based on the customer mobile number (as the teams received multiple leads from the ongoing digital campaign). The intelligence and analytical capabilities of the solution helped it to allocate the lead to sales team on ground or the nearest EBO within a 10-km radius. If the system could still not match any EBO, then the system would keep increasing the radius by 5 km and follow the same logic until the search was successfully completed.

While building the solution, Staqo also focused on simplicity and user-friendliness. The dashboards built for the solution would show data under the categories which each lead was distributed across so that the requisite action could be taken without any delays. On the user side, one could also easily expand the dropdown menu to understand the reasons for dropped leads.

The impact was multi-fold. The customers approached through this system received a personalized and deeply-engaging experience – much different from what they would usually get online or in a showroom. This way, the dealer or salesperson could approach the customer with confidence. He would carry the exact samples, have a sanitized approach and product to demonstrate, was ready with digital catalogues and practiced the utmost level of necessary COVID-19 safeguards.  Deliveries were also conducted with all the necessary measures of caution and complete care.

MATCHING DATA AND CONTEXT FOR INCREASED CUSTOMER DELIGHT

The solution was able to effectively and accurately define customer needs by empowering the sales person with adequate information on a given customer. Additionally, the mattress samples were fully sanitized in front of customers to maintain lockdown hygiene and etiquettes. Consequently, the sales team began to see quick and impressive conversion rates.

Moreover, customers were delighted to experience a completely sanitized mattress delivery once the sale was completed. Here was a brand that effectively identified their unspoken needs at the right moment and most importantly, provide the assurance of safe product-deliveries through a standardized process.

This system not only brought those leads that could easily have been lost due to oversight, but also strengthened the brand value and customer loyalty through thoughtful engagement. The company intends to build the solution up at scale and integrate it with CRM systems and other outreach platforms for a longer term and far-reaching impact on customer engagement and sales.