Delivering the future of CRM for Miele

With the launch of Miele X in 2020, it quickly became clear that to better service and support our Miele customers we needed to understand and engage them better as well. And that moving forward customer relationship management would play a big part in this. We spoke to Timo Cramer, Director of CRM and Mattia Tonolo, our CRM Digital Activation Director about how they’re creating a CRM approach for the future.

Timo believes that customer relationship management is critical for the future success of Miele, particularly in online markets: “If you’re serious about reaching out to customers directly, then CRM has to be a main pillar,” he says. “Without CRM, it’s just a one size fits all approach. But the big opportunity lies in a personalised approach. CRM helps you to communicate with customers in ways that are relevant to them. That means it can be a great driver of revenue, because it’s the key to giving the customer a personalised experience.”

Starting from scratch

Because the business was just starting to define a CRM strategy, the teams needed to look at everything from the ground up. For Timo’s team, this meant defining the systems architecture, selecting software tools and bringing a new CRM landscape to life. Mattia’s team works with this technical infrastructure and liaises with Miele’s teams in almost 50 countries around the world to support them to get the most out of the new system. “Our work basically revolves around two main topics,” he explains. “The first is to recognise that the customer must sit at the heart of everything we do. That each transaction and interaction that they have with Miele must be as enjoyable as it can be. And the second is closely tied to that. Knowing that a great customer experience will invariably lead to increased revenues.”

Building a completely new CRM architecture from nothing was a big challenge. Timo’s team worked with an experienced CRM agency to collect a wide range of use cases that showed a positive impact on both revenues and customer experiences. They also worked closely with a range of Miele teams, from IT to legal and analytics, to ensure that the new infrastructure would meet every requirement. This ensured they had ready-to-use journeys that could generate revenue from day one.

Timo says the advantage of starting from scratch was that they could shape a complete CRM toolset to meet Miele’s specific needs, with constantly evolving features as those needs changed. It also meant they could introduce new, state-of-the-art tools like Bloomreach and an event-based data exchange between the systems which reacts to data changes in real-time. “This enabled us to build an infrastructure that is future-proof,” he adds. “But we also had to think about tools that were going to be user-friendly for our teams in different markets around the world. They needed to be easy for marketers to understand, to handle and to segment.”

Rolling the new system out globally

With the new infrastructure in place, the two teams are working together to roll it out to different countries. “It’s a step-by-step approach,” says Mattia. “Each market has its own challenges, and we need to work closely with the local teams to show them the value in introducing it. So, Timo’s team leads the implementation and technical migration and deals with any specific technical issues. And my team supports them from a marketing and business standpoint, to get the best results from it. You’re always testing and learning. Sometimes it doesn’t work straight away, but you learn valuable lessons for the future. So, it’s a continuous learning process.”

So far, they’ve implemented the CRM system in five major markets and are aiming to roll it out in one more by the end of 2022. But, as Timo points out, the first implementations are always the most challenging, particularly with a completely new system. “Now we’ve rolled it out to some of the larger countries, it will make the next implementations a lot easier,” he says. “So, next year we should be able to speed up the process.”

“But we also understand,” continues Mattia, “that not all our markets will need such a sophisticated approach to customer relationship management. So, we’re looking at other solutions for those. We’re all about delivering the right solution for the right challenge.”

Only the start

The most exciting thing about the project for both is that it’s only the start. As well as the continuing roll-out, they can both see broader possibilities for how the CRM infrastructure will help the business to grow.

Timo believes that Miele has the potential to become a leader in CRM. “We have the touchpoints, more data sources than most other companies and brilliant people,” he says. “So, I think we have every opportunity to develop something fantastic.”

Mattia sees the customer centricity at the heart of CRM as a major driver for Miele in the future. “Customer centricity is core to what we want to do,” he says. “At the moment, we put the customer first when we design our products, and we want to do the same when we design the customer journey. That’s what we’re trying to build with this new CRM infrastructure, so we have a best-in-class Miele user experience to match our best-in-class products.”

He says this customer experience might include personalisation on the Miele website, personalised advertising across social media and in-app notifications. But it could go much further. Miele products are all connected to people’s Wi-Fi so generate a lot of valuable data. Miele could start sending customers tips on how to use less water in their washing machine to get the same results. And in the future, this could expand to the prediction of potential mechanical problems and recommending servicing before a machine breaks down.

He’s quick to point out that this would only happen with the customer’s consent. “We have a team dedicated to managing consent, making sure that we use customer data in the most trustworthy way,” he says. “So, if there are any grey areas, we won’t go there. But where we can, we want to create better ways for customers to relate to Miele, by improving and enriching their experiences with the brand.”

What’s next? You decide.

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