ABOUT THE VENDOR
Quadstone helps companies understand, predict, and influence customer behavior in and across all channels. Quadstone offers software and services for specific industries, touchpoints, and applications. These solutions improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which marketing users can address issues of customer retention, ROI, risk, and response. Quadstone's international clients include companies in the financial services, retail/e-tail, telecommunications, and marketing services sectors and include CVS, GUS, Fingerhut, Barclays, SmarterKids.com, and Vodafone. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1995, Quadstone now also has offices in London, England and Boston, Massachusetts.
ABOUT THE CLIENT
Milwaukee-based Marshall & Isley Corporation is a diversified financial services company with 26 affiliate banks and more than 200 offices in Wisconsin and Arizona. Thousands of residents visit M&I affiliates daily to do everything from depositing a paycheck to applying for a home loan. Beyond its Wisconsin and Arizona base, M&I owns and operates 49 offices that provide trust and investment management, equipment leasing, mortgage banking, and data processing.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
The Quadstone System collects customer data from all channels and data sources and translates that data into information that can be used to take immediate, profitable action.
SearchCRM spoke with Clarence Masshardt, Jr., director of database marketing & statistical analysis at M&I Bank, about the project.
SearchCRM: How did you end up implementing the Quadstone system?
Masshardt: We happened to get a direct mail piece from Quadstone. They came in and gave us a demo and talked to our senior statistician. We were impressed with it, but then we realized that they didn't have any clients in the United States. That threw up a red flag for us, but we liked what we saw so much that although we are typically very conservative, we decided to take a risk and be their first customer in the United States.
SearchCRM: Did you look at other solutions?
Masshardt: We looked at a lot of companies. We were skeptical about taking this product when there were many domestic choices. But we didn't like a lot of the choices we looked at.
SearchCRM: What were your criteria?
Masshardt: We didn't want to buy anything that was black box -- where you feed in something, you don't know what happens inside, and it kicks out something saying "Here's the solution." Our statistician wanted to make sure she understood what was really going on inside the system.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging aspect of the evaluation?
Masshardt: We wanted to see that the vendors could do what they were claiming to do. We also wanted to make sure it was easy to import data into the system--not for some high tech person, but for any user.
SearchCRM: How did you overcome this challenge?
Masshardt: Quadstone was willing to come in and do a proof of concept and actually build a model for us.
SearchCRM: What was the most challenging part of the implementation?
Masshardt: The challenge was trying to get three different systems to talk to one another. There's this software that they need to run on the front end, and we had some problems getting that to talk to our Quadstone system and to our hardware.
SearchCRM: How does the Quadstone system help you improve customer service?
Masshardt: We have a customer relationship model that looks at every customer in our database and chooses, with the help of the Quadstone system, the product that is going to be the right product for that customer. We can focus our bankers on selling the products that we think are going to be in the bank's best interest and in the customer's best interest. We're also eliminating the clutter in the customers' mailbox by not pestering them with offers they don't need.
SearchCRM: Do you have any advice for companies beginning a project like yours?
Masshardt: Put these vendors to the test. There are too many companies that say they can do things and then they don't deliver. One of the companies we piloted just bombed. We were sure glad we tested them instead of paying money to buy the software.
SearchCRM: If you could do it again, what would you differently?
Masshardt: I'd do it a year earlier.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle and Psychology Today. Contact her at email@example.com
This was first published in June 2001