AAA, formerly the American Automobile Association, is a federation of motor clubs throughout North America. A not-for-profit member service organization with 54 million members in the United States and Canada, AAA provides a wide range of services including its hallmark service, roadside assistance. With national headquarters in Heathrow, Florida, the role of AAA National is to support, not direct, each of the independent motor clubs. “AAA is a unique organization,” says Maggie Williams, Database Administrator at AAA National. “Power is invested in the individual clubs and these dramatically vary in size, resources, experience, staffing, and interest in data analysis. The national staff is here to support clubs whenever necessary and however possible. Larger clubs, such as the ones in California, don’t require much of our help at all, while the smaller clubs might not know where to even start. Our job is to support them all, whatever is required.
Alteryx reduced time to generate a complete and accurate data set for analysis from three days to just two minutes
“There are two areas with the biggest need for complex analysis,” notes Williams. “The first is helping clubs look at their business, which includes understanding the demographics and purchase history of their membership as well as branch office location planning. The second area is the foundation of AAA, our emergency roadside services.” Both areas are critical to delivery of AAA services, the success of the individual clubs, and the financial health of the overall association.”
AAA National wanted to better support its member clubs in selling additional products to existing members, finding new members in each of their territories, and ensuring that brick-and-mortar office locations were optimally located based on club member demographics and drive-times.
With built-in spatial analysis in Alteryx Analytics, AAA was able to create easy-to-understand drive-time maps within reports that help member clubs better understand their membership base as well as improve staffing and response times for the organization’s well known emergency roadside service.
- Deeper Insights: Enabled a better understanding of club member demographics and purchase history, helping improve clubs’ marketing campaigns and branch location decisions
- Hours vs. Days: Reduced time to generate a complete and accurate data set for analysis from three days to just two minutes
- Intuitive Workflow: Eliminated the need to use up to four different tools to service member club requests and enabled data blending, enhancement, and spatial analysis in a single tool, saving time and money and reducing errors
In order to support the clubs’ information requirements, Williams must pull data from the AAA National database, match the products purchased to membership numbers for the branch, and then blend that information with third-party demographic and census data.
“It would take me three days to get the right data together, because each club has files from different systems and the data doesn’t match. After I massaged fields, merged 28 groups into 16 age groups, renamed them, and so on, it felt like it took forever,” recalls Williams. “Plus, I had to use multiple tools to work with the data, which complicated things further and there was a lot of room for error, moving data back and forth. And at the end of the day, I didn’t really have actionable information to give back to the clubs, because the demographics capabilities were extremely limited.” Williams had hit a wall.
In 2007, Williams discovered Alteryx Analytics, and she immediately knew it was the solution she needed. “Not only can I pull the right data set together in a couple of minutes instead of a few days, I can do it all with a single tool, which means that the accuracy of the data — and the accuracy of the resulting analysis — increases as well,” says Williams. “Alteryx lets me pinpoint the file, select the exact fields that I need, and pick what I’m doing to the fields. I don’t need to switch tools at all. I also have some audits baked in, so I can make sure I’m getting out what I need.”
With Alteryx, Williams no longer needs to geocode her data with one tool, manipulate it with another, sort it by zip code with a third tool, and analyze it with yet a fourth. Instead, she can use the built-in integration with Experian demographic and U.S. census data in Alteryx to greatly enhance her in-house data to give member clubs comprehensive reports with embedded maps.
Says Williams, “I now use Alteryx to help clubs better understand their membership base, where existing and potential members live, and how to get them in the door to buy more products. I also help them make more informed decisions about where to open or close a brick-and-mortar location.”
Thanks to Alteryx, Williams is in great demand across AAA member clubs. “They tell me that the reports Alteryx helps me generate are extremely helpful in understanding their territory and making better marketing and location planning decisions,” boasts Williams. “For example, if a club wants to know how many of its territory members are young and single or have young families, I can find that data and map it with drive-time analytics all within Alteryx, in just a few minutes. Alteryx saves me so much time and makes me look good.”
Getting this information to member clubs quickly means that they can roll out new marketing efforts in a more timely fashion, justify letting a lease in an underperforming location expire, or sign a lease for a new location before another company beats them to it. Says Williams, “Clubs will often send me some potential locations for a new office and ask me for a count of members in that zip code, as well as the demographics in that area. How do the demographics compare with our existing members? What about how they compare to a profile of the club’s better customers, those who buy more than just emergency road service? Alteryx makes it easy for me to segment these customers and give the clubs what they need to make informed decisions.”
What’s more, Williams has been able to roll out some self-service analytics for clubs, such as one that finds the closest branch in response to a member’s request, as well as for her colleague in AAA National who supports the organization’s best-known product, emergency road service. “Especially in winters like we had this year on the East Coast, being able to get a towing crew to a member whose car has broken down quickly and then get the car to the nearest repair location is really important,” remarks Williams. “The app I created in Alteryx helps the crew respond to members faster by giving them the closest zip code and approved emergency repair location in relation to the location of the breakdown.”
Alteryx has also been instrumental in ensuring that the emergency road service group is staffed appropriately with the right number of responders in the right locations, says Williams. “With the vast amount of data we collect for each call, including call-in date, call-in time, and type of problem, such as tow emergency, flat tire, battery, a lock-out situation, and more, we can determine where more breakdowns are occurring or if members are waiting too long for a tow, and we can adjust our staffing to improve our response-time metrics.”
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