Market Intelligence for Customer Service & Retention

Interviewed for this case is Ian Lush, who heads the marketing operations in TT Club and is responsible for the brand across all its markets.

Background on TT Club

Established in 1968 as a mutual association, the TT Club specializes in the insurance of liabilities and equipment for multi-modal transport operators. Customers range from some of the world’s largest shipping lines, busiest ports, biggest freight forwarders and cargo handling terminals, to companies operating a handful of vehicles.

As a mutual association, the TT Club is owned by its policyholders (Members) and is non-profit making. Its Members decide how the Club is run and how all the funds of the TT Club are used for the benefit of the Members. Income is derived from premiums, service fees and earnings on invested funds. Outgoings are limited to claims payments, administrative expenses and reinsurance costs.

Having developed in step with the multi-modal industry, the TT Club is recognized as an independent industry forum that liaises with national and international trade and government associations, including the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, the International Association of Ports and Harbours as well as the International Cargo Handling & Co-ordination Association.

Since its inception, the TT Club has grown steadily in terms of premium income, at an average rate of ten percent per annum for the last 20 years. Customer loyalty has been an essential factor in this growth. Indeed, more than 90 percent of Members stay with the TT Club at renewal each year.

The TT Club is the international transport and logistics industry’s leading provider of insurance and related risk management services.


The TT Club’s approach to marketing and sales is highly customer focused and proactive. It aims to offer a “one stop” insurance cover that is tailored to meet the needs of its over 800 Members in 150 countries – from container shipping companies in China to ports along the coast of California in the United States and to global freight forwarders based in Eastern Europe, for example. The breadth of TT insurance aims to minimize the risk of gaps between different policies and also the requirement to obtain cover from a number of different insurance companies.

With a customer service philosophy aimed at settling claims as quickly as possible, TT Club’s management makes every effort to stay on top of global transport and logistics developments almost 24/7.

TT Club has creatively used the output from market monitoring services through the Intelligence DeskTM from M-Brain (formerly Global Intelligence Alliance) , to support a few “out-of-the-box” Member services. These valued-added Member services have been one reason why the TT Club maintains a high Member retention rate of over 90 percent at renewal each year.

In fact, the Intelligence DeskTM is integrated into the Club’s marketing and sales planning. It is used to:

  • monitor commercial developments in the industry that may impact its Membership
  • provide a web based service that tracks global weather conditions
  • benchmark its services with what is available globally
  • support its marketing materials and website with up-to-date news
  • identify new prospects

How does TT Club identify new customer needs?

“The Club conducts an annual customer satisfaction survey, in which we ask our Members and those within the global broking community 15 questions about our products, our customer’s needs and our markets. In fact, M-Brain (formerly GIA) also helps us to put together, and analyze the results from, this annual survey. The analysis and recommendations are then submitted to the Board, whereupon a series of strategic plans are approved for action.

This annual customer survey has become a basis for innovation and new customer service ideas.

For example, our last survey in June this year showed that many customers within the logistics and transportation community would like to see a greater flow of information coming out of TT. In response to this, the Club decided to run a series of seminars about a new liability regime known as the “Rotterdam Rules.” There is some confusion about the impact of the new rules upon various elements of the transport chain. We immediately started planning how best to communicate the information on the Rules that would be most useful to our customers and launched a series of educational seminars in London, Hong Kong and North America.

The survey also pointed to the fact that we should improve the hit-rate of information sent to our customer groups. In response to this, we put in place a data cleaning process to ensure that we continue to communicate with the right people around the world.”

Can you point to some marketing or sales campaigns that have been developed as a result of market intelligence?

“Through our market monitoring efforts, we found that two of our competitors were planning to cease writing a certain class of cover. We used the Intelligence Desk to promptly disseminate this news to colleagues, so that the marketing and sales team could reach out through various distribution channels that were controlling these competitors’ business and step in to take up the slack where required.”

How else do you use market intelligence in marketing and sales?

“While looking at a hurricane alert one day, we had an idea to aggregate all the hurricane alerts from around the world into a series of maps. So we contacted the M-Brain (formerly GIA) team and asked them to pull out all the sources of current hurricane movements and assemble a central reference source for the world’s windstorm movements.

We call this the “˜Hurricane Watch’ and publish it live on our website 24/7, so our customers can keep track of all the possible risks related to the latest storm activity anywhere around the world.”

What tips do you have for other Marketing Directors?

“With something like the Intelligence Desk, you have to open the information up to all your staff for maximum benefit. There is a tendency in most companies to restrict the circulation of information, especially anything which could be considered “˜sensitive’. True value is gained by sharing information as widely as possible, from your chief executive to the receptionist. Ideas can come from anywhere, so it helps if everyone in your organization can “˜see’ what is going on.”

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