The digital economy has made it easier than ever to reach potential customers. But with this easy access also comes a glut of competitors. After all, if it’s really so easy, then everyone can do it. And many are certainly trying! But the question becomes, how do you stand out from the crowd? What can you do to set your brand up so it has what it takes to compete? And most importantly, is your brand’s customer experience where it needs to be?
Companies like Amazon and Netflix put the customer first by using their data wisely for the best possible CX. From “things you might like” to “other customers also bought…”, their recommendation engines and ease of use have made them customer service favorites. Both companies have constantly changed based on what their customer wants, and more importantly, providing things the customer wants before they know they even want it! And they’ve been able to implement all of this by putting in place top-notch analytics.
Previously, we asked marketers to share with us their best piece of advice for developing a customer engagement strategy. Their responses overwhelmingly spoke to the importance of understanding how people really use your product, who your audience is and to put yourself in their shoes in order to aim your strategy at them.
Remove the Mask from your Audience
So how do you figure out who your audience is? There are hundreds of tools at your disposal, but the ones most likely to give you an accurate picture of your audience include:
- Social Media: What are they posting? How do they interact with your brand? Your Facebook Insights are invaluable here as well.
- Conversation: Talk to them directly. Pick up the phone and initiate conversations. Really.
- Buying Process: See how they behave during the purchase process. What did they buy, when and perhaps why? Can you tell if it was a seasonal item, an impulse buy or a need?
- Surveys: What better way than to ask them directly? SurveyMonkey, Pollfish and others make it easy to get direct feedback.
- All of the above: In other words, your data should be varied, come from multiple sources and never stop being collected!
Another main tip from marketers was also no surprise: the need to start from the data first and define what you want your customers to experience. After all, you get to decide how they interact with your product, so it makes sense that you should cultivate every step of that process. One way to do that is by creating a customer journey map. Essentially you’re visually laying out the purchase process from the perspective of the buyer. This can be current state, future state or day in the life. Mapping typically leads to higher customer satisfaction, lower customer turnover, an improved sales process and better advocacy from current customers.
Image courtesy of McKinsey
Personal interactions are obviously a great way to get to know your customers and know them well. Using an innovative customer data platform to listen to customers, gathering data from all of your interactions with them, and learning from their behavior will help you get a complete picture of who they are. Once you have this data, you can target their unique interests to best meet their demands. In fact, as we’ve shared before:
- 49% of customers purchase items they don’t intend to buy when they receive a personalized recommendation from the brand they were doing business with
- 49% of U.S. consumers have purchased a more expensive item than they planned to, simply because of personalized service
- Personalization leads to fewer returns and happier impulse buyers
- 49% of consumers plan to be a repeat customer because of a personalized shopping experience
Brands need to be able to fully understand their customers to provide them with the content and offers they want, no matter what time, channel or where they are in the journey. What is your consumer engagement strategy and how well prepared is your brand for the competition?