CRM managers spend their day adding new marketing channels, and finding ways to increase the revenue from their existing customer base. It’s their mission to ensure that the customer has the best experience possible. The weight of maximum customer satisfaction rests on their shoulders.
Companies can’t ignore customers in today’s digital environment. Dissatisfaction isn’t vented through one-on-one conversations, it’s plastered across the web as frustrated Facebook rants, angry Tweets, and 1-star Yelp reviews.
84% of people report that they trust online reviews as much as friends. As marketers, we know the power word-of-mouth marketing holds. We also know word-of-mouth is a meritocracy game.
So, if you want to foster customer loyalty, you’ve got to put in the work. People want companies who are committed to excellent customer service. When they are, customers will spend more with them. Similarly, many will try out new companies just to find better customer service.
It’s important for companies to keep track of customer interactions, behaviors, and conversations across every platform. Omni-channel communication is a modern-day approach to customer service that ensures a seamless experience, no matter where they log on.
Table of Contents
- AI-powered engagement automation makes it easier than ever to gather information on your audience, and the options for segmentation are nearly limitless.
- Triggers can engage your customers at just the right time in their buying journey.
- 63% of consumers would exchange private data for a personalized shopping experience.
- Customer loyalty strategies are evolving beyond email and into fully gamified programs based on detailed customer data.
- Features like Single Customer View, Detailed Scenarios, and Web Layers, are all working to provide users with the opportunity to develop an enriched customer experience.
How to Foster Customer Loyalty in 2019
Fierce competition in e-commerce means companies need to focus on branding. Brands build businesses that know how to communicate their story with the end consumer. This advantage can set you apart in the sea of competition.
Now, we’re not naive. Relationship management is a tricky business, and fostering customer loyalty is a real challenge for most businesses.
If you want to win in today’s e-commerce world, you need omnichannel communication. By segmenting your customers, personalizing the communication, and engaging at the right time, you can start building well-branded relationships that matter.
1. Proper Customer Segmentation
Segmentation enables you to run highly relevant campaigns, which can lead to customer loyalty and increase their lifetime value. Consumers want a personalized buying experience. Segmentation makes that possible.
Traditionally, marketers have segmented customers in four ways:
- Geographic (i.e. where they are)
- Demographic (i.e. gender, age, income)
- Psychographic (i.e. social class, personality type)
- Behavioral (i.e. spending patterns, brand loyalties, etc.)
AI-powered engagement automation makes it easier than ever to gather information on your audience, and the options for segmentation are nearly limitless.
2. Personalized Communication
Customers want one-on-one communication and will go out of their way to get it. In fact, 63% of consumers say they will share private data in exchange for a personalized shopping experience.
It’s time to think beyond asking for their first name. In today’s digital world, that should be seen as a Marketing 101 strategy. By gathering data on customer behavior, you can enact complex personalization strategies:
- Customize each upsell offering based on individual interests and behaviors.
- Overlay personalized abandoned cart items to help shoppers pick up where they left off.
- Offer a time-sensitive deal as an overlay when visitors start to leave the site.
With the ongoing advancements in technology and AI, companies can now understand customer needs, provide solutions, share valuable information, and educate them on your products – before they ask for help.
3. Timely Engagement
It’s important to meet the customer where they’re at in the buying process. Website banners provide you with the opportunity to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Here are a few of ways you can use banners to create an engaging customer experience:
- Announcements: Influence customer behavior by highlighting important information, like Free Shipping, at just the right time in the buying process.
- Get ‘On the List’: Stir up interest to your brand’s push notifications, SMS database, or email newsletter with a relevant offer.
- Listen: Present surveys to new, loyal, or never-before customers to create a more comprehensive profile of customer attributes.
- Up the Ante: Add some buying pressure by showing how many others are viewing, buying, or subscribing in real time.
Technology Empowers Progress
AI-powered technology makes this depth of segmentation, personalization, and engagement possible. Companies can knock the customer experience out of the park. All it takes is the right strategy, a feature-rich system, and intelligent robot sidekicks.
With the sophisticated software now available for omni-channel communication, companies can create remarkable customer experiences.
… How can companies move their relationship with customers forward?
… How can they continue these relationships for years, if not decades?
… How can AI support businesses in their customer experience goals?
Features like the Single Customer View (SCV), Detailed Scenarios, and Web Layers (AKA on-site overlays), all combine to provide users with the omni-channel customer experience that they’re looking for. Let’s take a closer look at each of those features.
Single Customer View
It’s impossible to manually track your customer interactions across all the different platforms. True omni-channel communication means connecting on several social platforms, on the phone, in a text, through email, in person, and even at local events.
A Single Customer View is a collection of user data profiles. Each profile includes the user’s purchase history, site activity, product recommendations and more — all in one easy-to-use location. All of this highly detailed and organized data makes it easy to create highly detailed segments from your customer base. A true SCV is scalable, flexible, and updates itself in real-time – ensuring that your segments and customer communications are always up-to-date and relevant to each user.
When it comes to timely engagement, Scenarios are a lifesaver. They’re an easy way to connect with customers throughout the journey through emails, push notifications or webhooks. Think of them as a series of If, Then statements you can use to cultivate the experience.
Here are a couple of ways you can automate your communication based on custom conditions:
- Send a welcome email when someone signs up for your email list
- Use a webhook to let you know when someone has checked in at your store.
A Few of Our Favorite Strategies
We’ve mentioned quite a bit of technical jargon here today. Many articles of this nature tend to leave the reader without instructions on how to use the pieces and parts.
We don’t want to do that to you.
In fact, we’ve dusted off some of our favorite strategies from Exponea work with clients. Think of the following like your three “starter strategies” for omni-channel communication.
Ideal Email Send Times
We can all agree that email open rates aren’t what they used to be. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope for your email marketing efforts.
A dynamic scenario timed to wait for a specific event, such as time of last delivered push notification can get you in the customer’s inbox at just the right time. The algorithm delivers emails at the perfect moment, increasing open rates and engagement.
Reactivate Abandon Carts
In 2016, Business Insider estimated that e-commerce merchants would lose out on $4.6 TRILLION. Why? Because of shopping cart abandonment. How much money are you leaving on the table each year?
Instead of accepting your fate, reach out to them with a friendly reminder. One way to do this is by sending a reminder email one hour after the customer’s last interaction with their shopping cart. In the email, include a list of the items in their cart and a call-to-action.
This setup is a bit more complicated, but it’s definitely worth the 2-week investment.
Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO)
90% of all US sales still occur face-to-face. Storing and capitalizing on customer info from all sources is a difficult challenge for these companies. Without unified customer profiles, it’s nearly impossible to truly connect these two worlds.
Example Strategy: Launch a loyalty card and encourage customers to use it while buying in the store. This card can activate a link to their online identity and email address. Now you’re able to combine their offline purchases with online behaviors and information. By applying this data to marketing campaigns, you can optimize and enrich the targeting, content, and offers.
If companies want to stay relevant in the coming decade, it’s time to start taking AI-powered marketing technology seriously. The power of personalized, automated, omni-channel communication has a direct impact on your bottom line.
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