By Gemma Morris
22nd June 2015

Background

Parcel delivery comparison website My Parcel Delivery are experts at getting parcels delivered worldwide for their 65,000 customers. Small businesses and consumers use the site to find the best price from 11 top courier firms according to the dimensions of their parcel and how quickly they need it to be there.

But when it came to creating actionable insights from the large amount of data collected about customers every day, Managing Director David Grimes recognised that the information was tightly wrapped up. He needed a data analyst to organise, interpret and segment the data and approached KDR Recruitment to help. His brief was to find that rare combination of data analysis skills mixed with commercial astuteness, and just like his thousands of parcels, the person needed to be there quickly!

The value of asking the right questions

As the resident analysis expert, KDR Account Executive Liam Burke rose to the challenge immediately. His first job was to ask plenty of questions about the role at My Parcel Delivery; he wanted to understand what the desired business outcome was, rather than just what duties the data analyst would be undertaking.

He then reached out to contractors he knew on KDR’s internal database, advertised the role and performed online searches for people with the right skills. Rather than just spotting a relevant keyword on a CV and ticking that box, he phoned prospective candidates and probed them about their experience, allowing him to assess whether they were right for the role. Previous experience had shown that when you ask candidates “have you done this?” they tend to say yes whereas open questions such as “tell me about the work you did at company X” allowed Liam to properly assess whether their past work was relevant.

Naturally, weeding out the candidates who weren’t immediately available, weren’t close enough geographically or were outside the contract rate on offer also meant the pool shrunk. But Liam quickly boiled it down to three highly qualified contractors with experience of:

  • Creating customer database segmentations
  • Propensity modelling
  • Working in collaboration with marketing teams to create communications strategies
  • Proficiency in SQL

From receipt of the job description, the contractors were briefed, CVs were sent and phone interviews were conducted within a week. Unusually, Liam asked for a sample data set from My Parcel Delivery and used it to ensure the candidates were fully briefed before their interviews. This allowed them to talk specifically about how they would add value to My Parcel Delivery and spot possible commercial opportunities from the start.

Commenting after the interviews, My Parcel Delivery’s David Grimes said:

"This was the first time we’d done phone interviews so I was slightly nervous about being able to read whether the contractor would be a good fit. I didn’t need to worry though because I received a very comprehensive presentation from the successful candidate to go through over the phone. His level of preparation, proactivity and enthusiasm really impressed me."

Contractor Asif Jan was subsequently appointed and started work the following Monday, an impressive three days after his interview. Asif works through his own limited company which allowed KDR to raise one invoice, one simple contract and for administration for My Parcel Delivery to be kept to an absolute minimum.

Powerful data insights that improved business performance

Asif brought his experience from catalogue company Redcats and insurance broker Swinton to deliver a series of insights for My Parcel Delivery. He successfully defined the database by a number of characteristics, calculated what characteristics made a customer valuable (or not) and built binary, RFM and profitability models.

The immediate benefits for the team at MPD included:

  • More accurate sales forecasting allowing the business to monitor progress in more depth
  • The ability to make better informed data selections, ensuring relevant marketing strategies could be adopted for different customer group
  • Improved targeting of offers and promotions so that discounts were not being given away too cheaply
  • A system to allow the Customer Service team to quickly identify high value customers and respond accordingly
  • A warning flag to show which customers were at risk of lapsing so that preventative action could be taken

As with many segmentations, Asif discovered some fascinating Pareto principles and commented:

"It was great to be part of a project where I could see the impact of the data analysis on the business so quickly. I think lots of smaller businesses don’t think they can afford this level of Business Intelligence but My Parcel Delivery have a clear vision of how better customer understanding will deliver increased sales and I was glad to do my bit."

Liam remained close to Asif and David throughout the three month contract, checking that My Parcel Delivery were achieving the outcomes they wanted and that all parties remained happy with the arrangement. The final word goes to David.

"This was one of the most significant projects we completed in 2013 and I realise that none of it would have been possible without the right people involved. Asif proved to be a huge asset to us and it was thanks to KDR that we found him in the first place."

If you’re a SME business owner wanting to unlock the potential of your customer data, talk to KDR Recruitment today. As specialists in Information Management and Analytics recruitment, we can help you build a permanent or temporary team of data experts.

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