At the end of 2015, an expected 87.9 billion consumer emails will be sent and received each day. But in a world where communication between brands and consumers is more transparent than ever, thanks to the rise of social media, marketers must ensure they take a more proactive approach, by delivering relevant, personalised content to their customers to be heard above the noise.
So how can businesses ensure they are effectively communicating with and engaging customers?
The customer leads
The first step to adapting to changes in communication is to understand that the customer must always lead and the business should follow. For example, don’t answer tweets with responses such as ‘please call our help desk between 9am to 5pm’, as they do not address the customer’s problem. Instead, concerns and queries must be answered within the customer’s channel of choice and in a timely manner. Communication channels must also be mobile-optimised, as consumers increasingly communicate with brands via smartphones and tablets, as well as using social media tools for marketing content.
Realise the value of your data
Successful marketers know what their customers are buying and what channels they chose to use to communicate, so it’s important to utilise this data to get to know each individual customer to ensure you see your marketing outreach through from start to finish.
The true nature of customer engagement lies in understanding what a customer needs before they know they need it — not just resolving cases as they arise. Analytics and triggers can constantly monitor customer behaviour and predict when a customer is about to have an issue. These tools can alert customer service agents to proactively reach out to a customer before the issue arises, or even communicate directly with the customer. Product or service incidents are inevitable, but going to your customers with a solution before they even know they have a problem is a great way to show them that you care about the issue at hand.
Organisations need to capitalise on the use of data to deliver a relevant and hyper-integrated customer experience. An example of a disconnected experience is going into a store and being unable to return an item purchased online because frustratingly, the brand’s website is a separate system. Brands need to ensure that they are delivering the same experience across all channels, devices and touchpoints. No matter where the customer is, the experience should be the same. Clean data can accomplish this.
Build loyalty to drive profits
It may sound simple, but the most successful marketers are those that are customer obsessed. Research shows that 86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience, and 89% of consumers admit that they have begun doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience which is
Being able to count on a marketing team that is understanding, efficient, and armed with the right information and tools is much more valuable to a customer than being rushed through a call in under 60 seconds. The focus on the individual customer (or lack thereof) that will make all of the difference. This should be encouraged through all aspects of the business with it being the responsibility of the marketing team to reinforce this key message of the organisation – to effectively market that customer satisfaction is a key priority.
People associate a company with the way they have been treated by their employees. Those in a customer facing role inevitably define the brand, making them more important than ever before.
Ultimately, businesses must remember that the employee experience goes hand in hand with customer experience. In a world where customers are increasingly open to building relationships with businesses, the more engaged a brand’s employees become, the more value they will provide to customers.
By Vera Loftis, UK Managing Director of Bluewolf.
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