Hard Rock International is chain of cafes, hotels, casinos, and theme parks spread across 53 countries.
It has the world’s largest collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia that the customers can see when they visit any of Hard Rock’s locations. Hard Rock’s main business model was built around a customer-centric approach. As the business was growing, the customer queries were hitting the numbers close to 56000 inquiries annually; a number that was getting difficult for the existing customer care staff to handle.And foreseeing an increase in the customer inquiries by 20% annually, Hard Rock’s customer care center was not equipped at all to handle the pressure. They either had to add new staff to take up the additional workload or had to do improvements to the system to make existing staff more efficient. After detailed analysis of their system and help from a consulting group, they decided to implement a new CRM system to improve existing operations and staff efficiency.The implementation of the new CRM system was successful in integrating the customer and the company information in one central location, making it very easy for the customer care representatives to respond to the customer inquiries. The implementation of the CRM system better equipped Hard Rock to handle customer inquiry volume without having Hard Rock to add a new customer care rep.
? About Hard Rock International Hard Rock International started as Hard Rock Cafe based in London, England in 1971 by Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett. Initially, the cafes’ had an eclectic decor to match the experience of enjoying an American burger.However, in 1979, after Eric Clapton gave his guitar to the cafe to be hung on a wall by his table, the chain started covering its walls with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. And since then, the cafe chain has expanded its business worldwide into cafes, casinos, hotels, and theme parks, all with the common theme in mind, display of the largest rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.
Business Need (Problem) Hard Rock International is seen as the guardian of rock ‘n’ roll culture and has extended its global reach to a total of 157 venues which include 127 cafes and 12 hotels/casinos.Since opening, Hard Rock has maintained its trademark with exceptional customer service, which became possible only because of Hard Rock’s exceptional customer care team, consisting of only 3 people. The customer care team manages any and all queries, including issues, loyalty program, general questions, etc for all the venues. “Our team handles calls and e-mails from across our operations—everything from loyalty program point balances to questions about a product online,” says Patrick Colbert, Director of CRM and Loyalty at Hard Rock International.The customer care center have been averaging about 56000 customer queries annually, 95% of which come via email and the rest via phone calls. And with the business going in the upward direction, Hard Rock anticipated that the customer queries will grow by about 20% annually. The unique thing about Hard Rock’s customer service strategy is that they make sure that the general manager of a particular cafe, hotel, or casino is actively involved in addressing the customer requests and concerns.
This gives the customers a very personal feel and sends out a vibe that all the customers are very important part of Hard Rock and that they are getting “the same level of service when they are away from a Hard Rock venue as when they are there in person. ” Amidst all the good things happening for Hard Rock International, their customer care center started facing some problems in respect to handling the volume of customer queries in a timely fashion. According to Patrick, some customer queries even took them almost four days to respond.Hard Rock had a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place; however, it seemed outdated and hence lacked a lot of functionality that would otherwise equip the customer care team in better tracking of the issues and hence even a nicer experience for the customers. The major problem with the existing CRM system was that it did not have the capability to integrate with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007.
Due to this, “Customer Care representatives had to switch between multiple applications to find information and communicate with customers and general managers at restaurant and hotel venues. Also, the outdated system required more than normal maintenance.“We needed software with new capabilities, solutions and benefits for Hard Rock,” said Patrick. Solution Hard Rock reached out to a Microsoft certified consulting group for help in enhancing the CRM system.
After a detailed review of the needs of Hard Rock and existing applications used to respond to customers, the consulting group designed and implemented a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The consulting company imported about 1. million customer records to the new system. In words of Patrick, “We were attracted to Microsoft Dynamics CRM because it tightly integrates with Office Outlook and it’s based on the Microsoft . NET Framework, which lets our developers rapidly prototype and implement new functionality. ” Results As a result of implementing CRM into their system, Hard Rock is now equipped to provide customer service to the increasing number of queries without sacrificing quality but providing better quality service.
Since the new CRM system integrates Hard Rock’s customer database with Microsoft Outlook, it gives the customer care representatives the ability to access relative information and efficient processes. Customer Care Manager at Hard Rock International, Davonne Minshew says, “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we’ll be able to keep up with 20 percent annual increases in customer inquiry volume without having to increase staff on our Customer Care Team. ” Up gradation of CRM has also made the customer care reps more efficient.Before the proper technology was in place, the customer care reps spent a lot of time looking for appropriate information in 3-4 different applications. This delayed response to some customer queries to up to four days. However, after the CRM integration, the customer care reps have become a lot more efficient in responding to customer queries as now they have access to all the information at one place. According to Patrick, now it takes them at most around 4 hours to get back to a customer.
The most important part is that now whenever a customer sends in a query, they are immediately responded with a receipt of notice of the query. And, the GM of the location that is involved in the customer query is immediately notified to follow up on the issue. The customer care reps keep track of what the GM is doing to resolve the issue.
Now “for every step of the process, we keep in touch with the guest. We want to make sure that guests know that the GM is taking steps to resolve any issues and retain them as future customers,” says Patrick.The CRM system also easily integrated with Hard Rock’s existing applications and databases. This helped Hard rock create and integrate email message templates based on frequently asked questions and issues as all the information could be accessed from a central location to do so. All the customer information is automatically filled in these templates based on the issue a customer has.
This helps the customer care reps save a lot of time looking for the customer information and manually filling it in the forms.Also, this minimizes the possibility of human typed errors and hence contributes to the efficiency of the customer care reps. Also, implementing CRM enabled Hard Rock to measure its performance against its service goals as all the tracking of the issues is done at one place. Hard Rock was not able to do this before they updated their CRM system. Including CRM into their system also enabled managers to get reports indicating the trends in customer inquiries and interactions as it help them better expand their business.
Another major benefit that Hard Rock saw in implementing the new CRM system was the reduced maintenance to keep the operations and the system running. This was possible because the new CRM system was based on the . Net Framework, a framework that Hard Rock used to design its in-house applications. Hence, they had a qualified IT staff to keep-up with the new CRM system needs and to keep-up with adding new functionality to the system as needed by the business requirements.
AnalysisHard Rock International’s story can definitely be put under the heading “CRM Success Stories. ” What made Hard Rock successfully implement the CRM system was a clear picture of what lacked in providing quality customer service and what they needed to remedy that situation. All this was possible with proper planning by the company and bringing proper people for the analysis of their system. This made it possible for the Hard Rock’s customer care team, consisting of only 3 people, to manage 56000 customer queries annually.Also, they are equipped to handle even an increased amount of customer queries which they estimate to about 20% increase annually, without adding any additional customer care representative.
Recommendations There aren’t any major recommendations as Hard Rock did everything right to come out successful in implementing the new model. However, a thing to keep in mind is that even though the new system is handling the current load very well, it is not always going to be able to keep up as the business grows; unless, proper maintenance and upgrades are done periodically to the system.