Do “old school” rules of customer relationships still have a role to play in the digital age?
Rapid developments in technology mean there are more ways than before to reach customers, from touch screens in-store to the mobile phone they carry in their pocket.
The temptation is to send out information and offers about your business’s marketing schemes via every channel available. But it is important to use only the technology which is relevant to your brand and customers - the scattergun approach will not yield the best results. In this ever-developing digital world, the old rules of customer service and personal interaction still apply.
Know your regulars
Astute customer service remains a valuable weapon during the continuing tough period on the High Street. By using data efficiently, you can achieve simple segmentation of customers, allowing you to identify your most loyal ones and pick out profiles of people with similar characteristics who have the most potential to be valuable to your business in the long-term. This allows you to have confidence that you are rewarding and targeting the individuals who will have the most positive impact on the bottom line.
For example, if a household supplier has a possible target audience of 400,000 people, it’s possible to use data to hone the targeting further to ensure the most valuable customers are being targeted. At Aimia, we have the capability to optimise the target group to find those 200,000 shoppers who are most likely to redeem offers within the household product aisle, based on knowledge drawn from all the data sets we have access to. This not only cuts down the marketing budget needed by the supplier, but can result in a sales uplift of between 29 to 45 per cent and an improvement in redemption rates of over 30 per cent.
Listen to your customers
Smartphones are great vehicles for people to browse the latest products and offers. With the growth of location-based apps, the information they generate will become more timely and relevant to loyalty programme operators and their clients.
Through digital channels, especially mobile, shoppers can self-select the level of engagement they want with a brand or retailer and choose any offers relevant to them. This stops customers being bombarded with unwanted information and means that you can be confident that your offers are ending up in the hands of the consumers you most want to talk to.
And that is the key to all of this - giving customers what they want to ensure that you, as the brand or retailer, get what you want. We know that younger consumers are willing to hand over personal data as long as the value exchange - the answer to the “what’s in it for me?” issue - is clear.
The customer always knows best
The digital customer experience, regardless of the channels deployed, should not attempt to replicate all the features of face-to-face or in-store interactions. Instead, the two should work together to provide a seamless experience which is joined-up across all the different retail interfaces.
Crucially, it is customers that allow businesses to function and it is with the customers themselves, rather than with the technology they use, that you must keep pace. Simply deploying the latest technology isn’t enough. While it may capture customers’ short-term attention, it will not maintain your relationship with that customer into the future.
The way you use technology, based on your understanding of what your customers want, is what will really help you to improve their experience and increase their loyalty to your brand.