The one thing that is more important to your AEC business than price or productNovember 20th, 2019
“Interactive Minds has been working with marketers to keep them up to date and to help them to do their best work for over 10 years.”
We recently attended an Interactive Minds session, held in Sydney, on email marketing and CRM. Because we’re all about helping you do better business, and we found the day so valuable, we wanted to share the insights we got our hands on. Here are our key takeaways from the event …
It’s all about the customer experience
Rich Wright, head of customer and employee experience at Datarati (specialists in lifecycle marketing automation) predicts that by 2020 (yes … less than two months away …), customer experience (CX) will overtake price and product offering as the number one influence on decision-making.
To put this into context, if we offer our prospects an exceptional CX (for example, through personalization — discussed below) compared to our competitors, they are more likely to choose Synergy, even if our competitors’ products are cheaper (unlikely, though!) and/or have different features.
If we provide our (paying) customers with a consistent, exceptional CX, they are more likely to remain loyal, and are less likely to churn, even if our competitors tempt them with highly competitive product offerings.
How does your CX stack up?
We have to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. We need to think about our own CX experiences in order to appreciate how our customers perceive us and the experiences we offer them. These take place on a daily basis. We are either left feeling, “wow, that was so seamless”, or “that was such an inconvenience”.
Rich described two situations that left him feeling disappointed with his CX — “they [the companies Rich transacted with] just don’t know me”. Both experiences left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Rich purchased a pair of sneakers using the app of a well-renowned shoe store. Despite making the transaction (the details for which are logged in his account), Rich continued to be served ads on Facebook for the same pair of shoes. Not only is this annoying, but the shoe store missed an opportunity to advertise a complimentary product.
Similarly, despite Rich upgrading, and then receiving his new credit card, he continued to be served Google ads promoting this credit card. It was so relentless that his team printed out the ads and stuck them on his desk, just for laughs. Rich’s assessment of his CX was damning.
As Rich spoke, it was natural for the audience to start developing a negative perception of the shoe store and credit card company. Which shows that a person doesn’t necessarily have to ‘experience’ your CX in order to evaluate it. CX is shared via word-of-mouth. And we all know the power of word-of-mouth, today. Therefore, if you get your CX right from the start, you’re opening up a world of opportunity for your business.
Show your audience you know who they are … and that you care
Most, if not all of the data we have on our customers has been served on a plate for us by our customers themselves. They have told us who they are, where they’re from, what they do, what they like, and more. And according to Rich, “… if you ask customers for their personal information, or customers give you their personal information, the quickest way to piss them off is to misuse it or ignore it”.
This leads nicely into the theme presented by Ben Fettes, co-founder and head of strategy at The Lumery, a full-service customer experience agency, specializing in marketing and advertising technology. Ben spoke passionately about personalization and the importance of personalization to the overall CX cause.
Personalization is more than just including a customer’s first name in an email (oh, how times have changed!). Personalization is about ensuring that all of your interactions with your customers are relevant. It’s about communicating with your customers with the right message, at the right time. It’s about showing your customers that you understand who they are, and what they need — and that you care about them. Because after all, customers are the lifeblood of your business. They are the reason why you exist.
Start simple … Simply start
Sometimes, we just need to focus on getting the little things right …
We have access to such a rich array of CX-enhancing tools, we shouldn’t think twice about:
- Sending confirmation emails to customers who take an action — for example, if a customer signs up for your newsletter, automate an email to acknowledge that they have been added to your mailing list; if a customer submits a query using your contact form, automate an email to let them know that their message has been received, and someone will be in touch with them shortly (really, it’s just common courtesy).
- Sending timely surveys — surveys are a powerful tool. They provide visibility into the areas of your business that are excelling, and the areas that need improving. It’s important to survey your customers at key interaction points. But (there’s always a but), you need to ensure that your surveys don’t dilute any other messages (emails) that might be in play.
- Check. Refine. Test. Repeat. — It’s no longer excusable to send a prospect an email encouraging them to ‘start a free trial’ when they already have; or asking a customer to review your product when they have only been using it for five minutes. For this is not a good CX. Our attention to detail is key.
Email marketing is not dead!
That’s right. Email marketing is not dead.
Emails will always play an important role in the marketing mix. Remember, personalization is key.
Emails are most effective when they’re used in conjunction with other channels. We shouldn’t be afraid to try new things or challenge our existing ways of thinking. After all, how will we know if we don’t try?
A word of caution: once you hurt your reputation with email marketing, it’s a long road back. It’s very difficult to win back the trust of your customers when you have failed to listen to them. Especially when they have told you what they need from you.
The power of a CRM
The CX you provide is ultimately determined by the quality of your data. You need to show your customers love, and the only way you can do this is if your data is readily accessible, can easily tell you who your customers are, and what they need from you. It’s about knowing when your customers want to hear from you and tailoring your communications accordingly. It’s about acknowledging that each customer is different and being able to see how they are different at the click of a button. It’s about listening to your customers and responding promptly — for example, if a customer updates their personal details, that this is reflected in your database; that one customer is represented by one record in your database, and not by multiple conflicting records.
Therefore, the value of a CRM cannot be overstated. There’s no way you can understand who your customers are without a CRM, let alone provide them with an exceptional CX.
Your business needs to take full advantage of its resources (people, systems, etc.) to provide its customers with the best possible CX. Your data is key — for it tells you who your customers are and what they need from you. You need to keep this data (gold) safe in a CRM.