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Featured Story | Written by Stuart Banbery
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How customer experience is being personalised by big brands to improve ROI

We ask Birmingham City Football Club, Aston University, Aston Villa Football Club and Odeon Cinemas how they are meeting the demands of the market and aligning this with wider business goals.

30 Aug - 15 min read


Big Brands Are Personalising The Customer Experience To Improve Customer Service & Increase ROI

The amount of inbound contact from customers coming through social media is unprecedented. Compounded by the growth in online advertising volumes driving traffic to websites and social channels it’s no surprise and, it’s safe to say that the trend will only continue to provide brands with more opportunities to create powerful online customer experiences and raise revenue. We ask Birmingham City Football Club, Aston University, Aston Villa Football Club and Odeon Cinemas how they are meeting the demands of the market and aligning this with wider business goals. 

As we know, social media has established itself as the frontline when it comes to customer engagements in the modern age. Without any hard and fast rules in place, we look at how diverse, leading organisations are leveraging new technologies to create more meaningful and effective interactions with their customers… and what emerging trends lie just over the horizon.

Current Innovations

First, we take a look at what these brands consider as current innovations in the world of customer experiences. We asked how they are adapting practices to make interactions quicker, easier and much more personalised.


Odeon Cinemas Customer Experience

“I would say it’s personalisation. We’ve moved away from rigid customer service templates and it’s now more about having that personal connection with a guest and making it more memorable. On live chat, we have Odeon hero names as we try to relate a lot of our communications to the film industry.” – Carl Hollins, Guest Experience Manager.


Aston Villa Football Club Customer Experience

“For us, we are incorporating artificial intelligence and chatbots via Facebook messenger as a key strand allowing our supporters to engage and really bring our tone of voice through so a lot of banter and humour as well as driving ticket sales.” – James Jeavons, Social Media Executive.


According to Researchscape International’s analysis of 2018 “Trends In Personalisation”, they found a measurable lift in personalisation, with 87% of marketers stating that relationships with customers have lead to more interactions and increased website traffic. How that relates to the bottom line when discussing conversion rates is that marketers have seen a 51% increase in terms of lead generation. 


“This season Blues are looking to unite the men’s and women’s sides of the Club under the singular  Birmingham City umbrella. We’ll consolidate their social channels so that we’re able to share the audiences and communicate to all fans as a whole.” – Jamie Gordon, Digital Marketing Executive.



Aston University Football Club Customer Experience

“One of the big things happening at Aston University at the moment is talk around our community. When you walk around the campus you always see people you know and familiar faces, so what we really want to do across our channels and our digital platforms is to recreate that feeling of a campus community. But our brand image can be a little confused at times  as we have a number of stakeholders not just students but members of staff, businesses and local organisations so it’s up to us to find a balance with content and we are definitely a lot closer to where we should be.” – Jordan Muckley, Social Media Lead.

An omnichannel approach

Managing a brand with multiple customer segments/audiences is always a challenge for organisations as market orientation is often based on brand perception. Different stakeholders tend to have different values, however, they often invest in a brand for the same reasons. Considering the comments of Birmingham City Football Club and Aston University, we begin to build a picture of how they utilise an omnichannel approach to social media, coupled with consolidating their audiences online.

Without a doubt, managing customer experiences can present some challenges, especially when dealing with high numbers of inbound comms as not all will be positive. Within the current landscape of an increasingly customer-centric, digital environment we asked our brands how they overcome some of the challenges they face when it comes to dealing with such mission critical and publicly facing content.


Odeon Cinemas Customer Experience

“Managing customer responses on social media when it comes to complaints we often try to take it to a DM or private message. We have a dedicated Guest Relations Management team to assist with this. But, if we can resolve the situation publicly, then we will, as it might answer other people’s questions as well.”  – Carl Hollins, Guest Experience Manager.


Aston Villa Football Club Customer Experience

“Our challenges change game by game but mainly it’s about how we judge our tone of voice, as we always have to be true to ourselves even when the team is having a bad run for say 6 results or so that can often dominate what content looks like for the next week. A lot of the fans probably come to us for that first bit of information but at the same time, they’re probably coming to us for that first bit of positivity as well. If all the fans are being negative then we have to be the ones that are positive but we also need to reflect what the fans are thinking.”- James Jeavons, Social Media Executive.


Birmingham Football Club Customer Experience

“I think a big challenge for us in the past 2 to 3 years has been around how we can market our products better, we’re really good at communicating about the club itself but we also want to be able to communicate things like ticket sales and merchandise as well as events that are happening. So we took a decision 18 months ago to bring the social media team into the marketing side within the media department and growing it from there.” – Jamie Gordon, Digital Marketing Executive.


Aston University Customer Experience

“Student recruitment targets remain a marketing challenge so we make sure all our communications, whether it’s online or offline are positive and consistent with everything we do in terms of what’s on brand and what’s not on brand.” – Jordan Muckley, Social Media Lead.

Brand Perception and ROI

Learning from conversations with our brands, they have shared some interesting and unique challenges they face within their industries. A common theme relates to how digital content is being leveraged for brand perception and of course ROI. From a marketing perspective ‘content’ is an amalgamation of two variables, science and art.

The science element relates to having truly quantifiable metrics that help measure and define campaign success, while the art is having the creative flexibility to make compelling content that encourages engagements, where possible while forging deep and meaningful connections that translate into two main outcomes.

Coming back to Researchscape International’s analysis, marketers have seen up to a 20% improvement in their KPI’s as a direct result of personalisation and so there is no surprise that over 70% feel that personalisation should be a higher priority with their current company. 

Therefore the proposition, in essence, is by having tailored messaging by channel and understanding customer behaviour, not just in the short term but over time, will create great customer experiences. What remains as one of the modern marketers biggest challenges is being able to associate content marketing activity with conversion events. As we look to the future we attempt to predict how consumer experiences will be shaped by marketing trends and we ask our brands what they feel lies beyond the digital horizon.


Odeon Cinemas Customer Experience

“In terms of the bigger picture, live chat is really going to take over because it’s a much easier platform to get a quicker response. Making it a lot easier for people to use live chat and get them a much faster response time is certainly something we’re trying to push going forward in the contact centre.” – Carl Hollins, Guest Experience Manager.


Aston Villa Customer Experience

“In terms of the future, it’s hard to say as we never know what the future holds. Our current work with chatbots came from looking at new technologies and we continue to do that. We’ve looked at VR and e-sports entertainment as we want to be as modern and forward-thinking as we can, however, it’s something that we need to research as these things aren’t a small cost and development can be time-consuming. Instead of jumping in first we try to take a much more measured approach by weighing what is actually going to work for our audience and what others are doing in the space.” – James Jeavons, Social Media Executive.


Birmingham City Football Club Customer Experience

“As a club we’ve gone through the whole ‘we need to build as many followers as possible’ then went through a stage of having to ‘build as much engagement as we can’ on platforms. Now social media has become more of a business tool, now we’re looking at how we can sell kit, training wear, how we can get more people to attend a soccer camp on a summer and engage not just our fans but their close family and friends.” – Jamie Gordon, Digital Marketing Executive.


Aston University Customer Experience

“I’m excited to see what the new team of digital ambassadors is going to do. The first team we had was brilliant with different skill sets, we had people that were vloggers, writers, some who had worked in social media before, we had Snapchat people that absolutely live by Snapchat, photographers and lots of different people. This year we’ve got a bigger team, more diverse, with more international students involved, more bloggers that have a bigger audience already and we are having conversations about how to manage blogging for themselves and try and maintain that through our channel.” – Jordan Muckley, Social Media Lead.


Conclusion and Summary

We’ve had some amazing insights from our brands in terms of how they are personalising communications and making interactions more memorable. We’ve discussed some of the challenges they face when it comes to maintaining their tone of voice across platforms, to developing relevant content marketing strategies with multiple stakeholders in mind.

It’s very encouraging to hear how these brands have adapted to an increasingly customer-centric business world, yet still kept ROI in mind.  If you would like to read Research Internationals 2018 Trends in Personalisation please follow the link to read the ebook. 

So to end with a quote from one of the greatest business minds of the modern age. Jeff Bezos, head of the Amazon empire and one the few individuals on the planet today that is reshaping, redefining and future-proofing the customer experience all over the world.  


“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon


Read some of our Success Stories from companies and brands we have helped to effectively and effortlessly manage high-volume social media interactions, while still creating amazing online customer experiences.

Stuart Banbery is the Marketing Director at Orlo, he has a background spanning multiple industries and is responsible for all strategic and brand operations. Stuart is passionate about helping organisations harness the power emotional connections to create powerful customer experiences. Outside of work Stuart loves outdoor pursuits, travelling and is a keen Triathlon competitor.

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