3 customer experience tips for building loyalty in the age of brand promiscuity
By Webtrekk International Partner Manager Erin O'Rourke
While the line “It’s not you, it’s me” is typically reserved for romantic relationships, it can also apply to the relationships you have with your customers.
It is not about you, the company, it's about the customer. Specifically, it’s about the customer’s story.
Customers expect companies to enable this dynamic, even while they clutch their right to brand promiscuity.
To be better story enablers, companies need to ask a few questions: What is a customer story? What story could a customer possibly want to create? And how can I make sure I enable them to craft it?
To answer these questions, we have to look for the human in the data. There are three simple (and difficult) ways to do it:
1. Play pretend
2. Integrate like it’s your job (because it probably is)
3. Be a "story enabler"
1. Play pretend
Let’s put ourselves in our customers’ shoes for a minute.
Imagine a customer visits her online banking account, looks at her account balances, and then decides to view a page about a mortgage loan. Perhaps she even starts to fill out the mortgage calculator form. A week later, she receives a letter in the mail from her bank asking if she would like to sign up for a new credit card.
“Why are you sending me a credit card sign up form when you should know that I am actually interested in a mortgage loan?! Do you even know who I am?”
Or think about the telecom customer who lives in Germany, but who is soon relocating to the UK. She searches her provider website for mobile phone plans in the UK. Before she moves, she calls the telecom company about setting up cable TV in the UK. After settling in, she calls up again and requests the cable installation service and also asks to activate a mobile plan she found online. A few days later, the technician comes for the cable installation.
To her, the process is as follows…
Yet to (many) companies, the process is as follows…
Too often, companies don’t put the customer interactions into the broader context of moving to a new city, of hoping for uninterrupted service during the move, and especially of loyalty to the company throughout the move. But doing so could make for a transformative customer experience.
Sometimes it’s easiest to understand the customer experience by examining when it goes wrong.
2. Integrate like it’s your job
Many times, the customer experience fails because the company is not working as one ecosystem. This is particularly true when it comes to data.
Basic exchanges of data can be that…
- The marketing department should have intel from the call centre, and vice-versa.
- Customer service representatives should have data from the onsite technicians who deal with customers, and vice-versa.
- Online marketeers should get feedback from in-store retail managers, and vice-versa.
- Even when drafting customer policies, the legal team should have data from the sales reps to write the policy in a way that will be understood by customers.
The list goes on and on.
It’s not that we don’t have the information available. It’s that we don’t have it linked. Feedback from one department’s customer interaction can have a significant impact on the next.
Using a Suite solution for digital marketing enables digital transformation across all touchpoints.
Integrating the data is key, but alone, it is not enough.
The logical organisation of the data is not about optimising each individual touchpoint, it’s about improving all touchpoints in flow. Since the flow of touchpoints is defined by the customer, the data must also be organised in a customer-centric way.
3. Be a “story enabler”
Customers expect recognition and acknowledgement from companies, especially when they are loyal in return. As Fara Howard, VP of global marketing for Vans, put it, “I am in love with you and you don’t even know my name.” How awkward.
Start with key journeys. Use the data to know things like:
• what your customers are looking for but not finding
• how segments and personas behave on your site
• how your customers view the purpose of your website, even if it’s not what you intended
• what your customer experience currently is, and use it to deduce…
• what customers would want it to be
Know not to be the travel app that doesn’t realise that loss of functionality without a web connection is fatal, and don’t be the bank that misses an opportunity to offer a special loan rate, and don’t be the e-commerce company that doesn’t personalise recommendations.
One way companies are beginning to be “story enablers” is by using digital marketing suites. These suites are for marketing what ERPs were for functional business units years ago — they remove the silos in the data. And in doing that, they promote treatment of each customer as one person, transcending devices, transcending channels.
Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. These are the true enablers of story-shaping magic.
So, open up the storybook to your customers.
After all, it’s not all about you.