Dunkin’ data – how one firm is going donuts for data analytics

The director of consumer technology and mobile for Dunkin’ Donuts explains how the retailer uses Splunk to manage customer satisfaction through data

Retailer Dunkin’ Donuts has been using technology from big data software firm Splunk to properly utilise its customer data by predicting areas of high footfall, driving loyalty and ensuring its customer care teams are better equipped.

Matthew Kraft, director of consumer technology and mobile at Dunkin Brands, says customers expect extremely fast service.

“They’re looking for a fast experience. They want to get in and out of stores quickly. They want to get on with their busy work day and they’re not going to slow down,” says Kraft.

One of Dunkin’s recent marketing campaigns, sporting the tagline #WTFast, emphasised the speed of service you should get at Dunkin establishments by featuring a skydiver in its adverts.

Before her cliff dive, the subject of the advert orders her donuts, and they are ready and delivered to her as she pulls her ripcord on descent.

Kraft says the campaign and the project built around it created a huge amount of pressure for the brand, and the retailer was left thinking, “We have to deliver on this, because the expectation is set really high”.

User-friendly mobile app

The business began to focus more on mobile, developing a new customer application known throughout the business as “the new Dunkin’ Donuts app”.

“We replaced our legacy application, which functioned as a mobile wallet and had limited loyalty functionality that was very popular among the consumer base,” says Kraft.

“Over the course of the past two years, we’ve built a new mobile application that provides a much more consumer-friendly experience.”

Many modern customers prefer to collect loyalty offerings from retailers and brands through their smartphones rather than through old-fashioned cards or paper coupons.

Dunkin's DD Perks loyalty programme serves almost five million users, and loyalty offers spill over into the retailer's mobile application.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts app acts as a mobile wallet for customers, and also allows mobile ordering, the use of promotions or coupons, and is used to drive customer loyalty for the brand.

Data-driven customer promotions

Perks offered to its customers are driven by the retailer’s data, and Dunkin’ wants to target specific customers with offers and promotions relevant to them, monitoring whether offers are used and if customers return when offers aren’t in play, as well as the revenue generated from specific promotions.

All of these customer interactions with the app are collected as data and fed into Dunkin’s systems, which the retailer uses Splunk to analyse.

With its Splunk-powered system, Dunkin’ now has insight into customer habits and preferences, driving a faster customer care centre and the ability to compare current data with historical data as a result of merging unstructured and legacy datasets.

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Dunkin Donuts uses these insights to make sure there are enough staff members in stores at peak times and, most importantly, to make sure there are enough donuts in its branches.

As customers become more fickle in this technological era, retailers are having to do more and more to drive consumers into their stores, with data-driven offers and promotions often being at the forefront of these campaigns. Those not making the most of their data are likely to be left behind.

“Over the two years, we’ve built a new mobile app that provides a more consumer-friendly experience”
Matthew Kraft, Dunkin’ Donuts

“We were solving traditional IT problems and we didn’t have access to the data we have about customers,” says Kraft. “We realised we were working on a legacy system and needed to get access to a lot of this structured data.”

This new data analysis allows Dunkin’ to adjust its service to ensure its providing the speed its customers are expecting.

“We’re inputting data that’s coming from consumers using web and mobile, and we’re looking at it to try to see how we can make every consumer experience better,” adds Kraft.

Using data insights

Customer data and the insights that come with it are shared with teams across the organisation to ensure that every department has customer services at the forefront of its mind.

“Everybody in the business starts saying ‘How do you know that? Where are you getting that information and how can I use it?’ when we start going through the data,” says Kraft.

Customer care and marketing are two departments that also heavily use the data to gain real-time insights on individual customers to assist them and ensure the business is targeting customers in the way that will gain the best reaction.

Issues with the app can be detected straight away, so customer care will already know how to handle calls faster and offer a better customer experience.

The use of Splunk also reduced the downtime of business applications, and the ability to analyse system data has reduced issue resolution time from days to hours or minutes.

Analysing customer behaviour to drive sales

With the use of data analytics, Dunkin’ Donuts is better able to predict customer behaviours when offering some of its usual promotions to entice customers into stores.

Some of these include International Coffee Day, where customers are offered free drinks. Customers who are part of the retailer’s DD Perks loyalty programme are also offered a free drink if the local sports team wins.

These promotions can influence customer behaviour to increase footfall in stores, but they also put a heavy demand on IT services as millions of customers are tracked using coupons to redeem these offers.

“If we can understand what our customers are going to do, we can be ready for it,” says Kraft.

“Pulling that data out of Splunk allows us to see what the users are doing in real time, as well as what’s trending over time, where the pain-points are, where the value is and what needs investment,” he adds.

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