Rochford Wines - a case study
Located in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Rochford Wines is a dynamic destination incorporating a cellar door, winery, restaurant and café, and catering for all types of events and corporate functions. Although Rochford is primarily involved in wine production, it is well known for regularly hosting special events and concerts, including the annual A Day On The Green music event. Through its website and seasonal newsletters, Rochford sells merchandise and concert tickets, and promotes competitions and special deals to club members. Rochford maintains a database of over 31,000 subscribers nationwide and is planning to provide an e-newsletter to members in the near future.
Rochford relies heavily on Australia Post to distribute newsletters, wine deliveries, special deals brochures and event tickets to members in a timely fashion. It is therefore crucial that Rochford's database is up-to-date and entries are correctly recorded.
Over time, Rochford Wines realised that manually updating and validating customer and member addresses was not only extremely time-consuming but also very unreliable, resulting in high volumes of returned mail. Frequently, over 10 percent of mail-outs did not reach the recipient and were either stranded at Australia Post for long periods of time before being returned or sent to an incorrect address. This posed a serious problem as significant quantities of wine and concert tickets were not being delivered on time. This resulted in a costly and inconvenient experience for both the company and the customer.
Rochford Wines was also concerned about unprofessional addressing due to a large number of inconsistencies in punctuation and grammar. The team had previously tried to use coding to ensure the correct punctuation was in place and ensure that only numbers were put into the post code fields but this was not always successful.
As there were no strict systems in place, staff at Rochford Wines were required to take on the resource-heavy project of regularly cleaning up and exporting mail lists to ensure addresses were recorded in full before being sent to the printer.
Rochford Wines was unaware that address management solutions like those provided by Experian QAS were available until it was approached by Experian QAS in 2005.
Sherree Williams, IT systems & logistics manager, Rochford Wines, said: "Once we'd learned about these products, we researched solutions from a number of companies to find out which was best for us. We ultimately decided on Experian QAS, not only because its products had all the functionalities we needed at a good price, but also because Experian QAS proved to be far more reliable and accessible than other vendors."
Rochford had Experian QAS run QAS Batch to clean up the existing database and installed QAS Pro to manage day-to-day validation of ongoing entries.
Approximately six staff members now use the software on a daily basis for processing wine and ticket orders, function bookings and adding subscribers to the mailing lists.
Rochford Wines saw immediate benefits as a result of implementing the Experian QAS solution. Returned mail from its database was reduced from around 2,500 per mail-out to less than 350.
"When you look at the mailing costs that we saved and add it to our usual margin of three percent of sales, we saved over $10,000, which more than paid for the solution in just one mail-out"Sherree Williams said.
Beyond the short term benefits, Rochford Wines has increased customer satisfaction through prompt product delivery and has reduced staffing hours. With newsletters and marketing promotions now reaching the intended recipients on time, Rochford Wines has also increased its sales margins.
"Manually cleaning the database and getting the formatting to a professional standard had been a draining process. Not only have we seen cost savings since employing the Experian QAS solution, but the time efficiencies for staff has greatly improved and the company looks far more professional overall"
"We have seen phenomenal results since implementing QAS Pro. Now with our internet-based sales increasing and our e-newsletter in development, we are planning to implement QAS Pro Web to manage online customer entries and we will continue to use QAS Batch behind the scenes to keep our database up-to-date" said Sherree Williams.
While returned mail will always be an issue for any organisation with a large database, Mr Wootton is confident the level of accuracy in the system has significantly improved.
"We've been exceedingly happy both with the QAS solution and with the whole relationship with Experian QAS. They're very easy to deal with, are extremely professional, and the product actually does what they say it will do, which in this game is a really rare thing."