For DHL, the data doesn’t lie

Logistics companies have never felt as vital as they do today. For years, providers like Deutsche Post DHL Group (DHL) have been the backbone of global shipping and trade, but with businesses working remotely and consumers in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations have become a crucial link between families, friends, and colleagues living in a socially distant society.

DHL was already the world’s biggest logistics company, and demand for its services has never been higher since the pandemic’s outbreak. In Germany alone, DHL has seen parcel shipments jump from 5.3 million to roughly 9 million per day as its customers adjust to lockdown conditions.

In parallel to this surge in demand, DHL has been moving forward with a digital transformation of its customer experience. Led by senior vice president of digital customer interactions Konstantin Peris, the company now draws on customer data and advanced analytics to deliver more user-friendly services across its digital properties.

“We had three aims for the project when we first started,” recalls Peris. “The first was to make customers happy, of course. The second was to create services that deliver clear ROI because that’s how we measure the success of our customer experience. And finally we wanted to deliver moments of digital excellence that live up to DHL’s strong brand.”

To achieve this, Peris and his team first needed to make the user experience a core business imperative, and that began with buy-in at the highest levels. Adobe Analytics played a crucial role in helping the team uncover gaps in their digital offering and, just as importantly, to bring them to the attention of DHL’s boardroom.

“Large companies often have an inside-out approach to strategy, but when it comes to what customers want, hard data trumps your preconceptions and feelings,” says Peris.

He illustrates his point with an anecdote about DHL’s home page, which initially displayed a great deal of content about the company’s corporate mission and environmental ambitions. “These are important considerations for DHL,” he stresses, “but customers were only clicking on these stories 1 percent of the time. Clearly, they have very different needs and concerns.”

Insights like these helped to shift opinions in the boardroom. “Once our leadership team saw there was opportunity for improvement and how much our business stood to gain, we got the green light to instill a transformation culture across every arm of the organization,” says Peris. “That was a major turning point.”

Among the improvements DHL made to its digital experience were a new home page, improved site navigation, and more intuitive user journeys. According to DHL product owner Dina Falk, a new spot quoting tool has been particularly successful, delivering leads that are five to 10 times better than those generated by its predecessor.

“Working with Adobe Analytics also allowed us to better prioritize our efforts,” adds Falk. “By identifying our top user journeys and combining our insights with thorough customer research, we can focus on improving the experiences that matter most to our users, not just to DHL.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Peris’ team rolled out a new global web page to inform customers about the implications the coronavirus had on DHL’s services. Adobe Analytics revealed that the new page received major traffic right away, and ongoing analyses will allow the team to adapt the user experience and information they share as conditions change.

DHL is now ready for the next phase of its digital transformation, but Peris reflects on the fundamental shift in thinking that has made the team’s early efforts so successful. “All the good work we’ve done so far would not have been possible without the support of our top management, and we would never have gotten that without the robust data that allowed them to experience DHL from our customer’s perspective,” he says.

With a direct line to what customers need and a website that gets more user-friendly each day, DHL has set itself up to adapt to any conditions and strengthen its reputation as the world’s logistics leader. For Peris, Falk, and the team, the aim is clear – to deliver customer-centric digital experiences that are worthy of that title.