How Pilot Co. Is Leveraging Customer Loyalty Data

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Travel center operator Pilot Co. has its head in the clouds — the data management cloud, that is.

In an interview with Convenience Store News sister publication Chain Store Age, Tyler Tanaka, senior director of digital, loyalty and brand marketing at Pilot Co., described how the retailer has worked with Deloitte Digital and Salesforce to maintain its customer data so it can be leveraged for cloud-based mobile loyalty and marketing purposes.

"The data was messy and not accessible. We partnered with Deloitte Digital to clean up, organize and structure our customer data to be usable in any format," he explained, adding that by leveraging Deloitte's expertise and data standards, Pilot Co. was able to prepare its loyalty data for use in an "ambitious" digital roadmap.

"We made unbelievable strides," commented Tanaka. "We created real utility for our professional driver customers to use in our mobile app."

Via the mobile app, professional drivers have the ability to reserve shower times and parking spaces in advance, and turn on a fuel dispenser and connect fuel purchases to their loyalty accounts for near-frictionless purchases at the pump.

Pilot Co. also connects its customer loyalty data to Salesforce's Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud platforms, which enables customer service representatives to assist shoppers via call or email, with a consistent and holistic view of their interactions, Tanaka said.

By utilizing Marketing Cloud, the travel center operator can directly engage customers via social media platforms, as well as conduct broader social listening campaigns to collect and analyze social chatter for rapid detection and resolution of issues customers may be complaining about on social media.

For example, the customer service team could detect a customer complaint about a dirty bathroom at a specific store location on social media, notify the store, and directly communicate back to the customer when the issue has been resolved.

Since reorganizing its data with Deloitte Digital and integrating it with Salesforce's Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud, Pilot Co. has experienced 4 to 5 million downloads of its mobile app.

"We have huge numbers of active monthly users," Tanaka stated. "Our aspirational goal is to have one-to-one personalization. We also want to be able to send communication to thousands of people who all look alike and deliver communication, offers and value at scale."

Ultimately, according to Tanaka, Pilot Co.'s goal is to combine cloud-based data management with its mobile app to "earn the turn" from professional drivers.

"The driver goes through a decision process at the time they turn off the highway," he said. "Whether it's food, a bathroom or the opportunity to redeem an offer for a cold soda on a hot day or a hot coffee on a cold day, we want to use technology to make that decision possible."

Based in Knoxville, Pilot Co. operates more than 750 retail locations in 44 states.

Convenience Store News and Chain Store Age are properties of EnsembleIQ.