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“High open rates come down to relevance”

Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region, Hoas, has worked since 1969 to provide affordable rental housing for students. In less than 50 years, the small start-up capital quickly converted turned into a business with a turnover of 70 million euro and 9 800 student apartments. Hoas employes over 60 professionals full time within customer service, rental services, property management, construction and finance.

The Quest for Automated Efficiency

Hoas has been a customer of APSIS for a long time. Around a year ago, the organisation came to the realisation that they needed to expand their email marketing solution with marketing automation. Around a year ago, the organisation uncovered a need for marketing automation, and got to know APSIS solution more in detail. The reason? Riitta Pulkka, Customer Relations Director at Hoas, explains that they send a lot of information to their customers, especially at the beginning of the customer relationship, and they needed an easier and more efficient solution for their communications. She explains: “We needed to think about how we could lower our manual labour, how to deliver the important information in pieces, but always at the right time and with visual appeal.” Riitta continues: “We implemented robotics around a year before this, so it felt natural to progress towards marketing automation. You know, you don’t need to do everything manually.” Saara Saksanen, Communication Manager at Hoas, explains that student admissions create huge rush peaks. Apart from moving in or out, they need to send information to their tenants on a monthly basis. The goals for marketing automation was to lower their workload and manual work as well as improving customer service by sending relevant messages at the right time. “Before we started automating, we sent our newsletter for new customers in couple of batches and saw some really good results. This led us to think that we need to develop and simplify our own processes,” says Saara.

The Customer Journey is the Centre of Everything

Initially, Hoas implemented an automation flow for  new tenants, which includes five messages. Many of Hoas’ customers are youngsters that are moving away from their parental home, so it’s crucial that the information is clear, sent at the right time and with decent sized batches so it’s easily digestible.

”Implementing marketing automation was super smooth and fast. The project as a whole was very straightforward and clear. The planning stage is very important, so the entire team from multiple department discussed what information should be sent at which time.  Luckily, we already had a lot of content ready to be used. Using the APSIS Marketing Automation tool and building the flows is very straightforward and easy”, describes Saara.

Saara and Riitta both agree that they have managed to reach their predefined goals for marketing automation. Saara explains that her own workload has decreased, but not at the expense of the quality of their external communications.

“We can be certain that the information our customers receive is portioned out appropriately and at the right time... Our opening rates have risen from around 80 percent up to 98 percent, and it all comes down to relevance. Our click-through-rates have also been really high”, says Saara.

Riitta adds:

”It’ll be really interesting to see if our customers mention our development in digital communication in our next customer satisfaction research. But to also to see if the contact requests to our customer service decrease in the long run.”

The cooperation is highly appreciated both by Riitta Pulkka and Saara Saksanen. The communication with APSIS has always been easy, fast and straightforward.

Hoas itself is a very interesting organisation because their customer base is really young and digital trends are being impacted more than in some, more traditional organisations and settings. Everything needs to be available digitally and mobile. That’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult to make long-term plans as the organisation needs to be flexible and agile. Hoas constantly considers how they could improve their customer journey and as a result, they’ve already taken next steps to develop their digital communication in the customer journey.

”If an organisation is about to start marketing automation, my tip is to start light - simple flows and messages that are easy for the respondent to digest. All thought from the customer perspective”, Saara Saksanen sums up.

(source: Hoas)

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