Customers are the center of the universe for every business – which is why meeting customer expectations should be a top priority. A reactive approach to customer service is not an acceptable strategy because customers have endless alternatives at their fingertips. While customer acquisition is key to growth, the value of customer retention is an even more important metric to track.
Here are a few pointers for creating a proactive strategy to customer engagement:
Advanced data modeling and analytics make it possible to know what your customer wants before they tell you. Big Data and Machine Learning are helping businesses put their data to good use. They collect and synthesize data from diverse channels and help identify insights about customer buying behavior. These tools help businesses understand the motives behind customer behaviors and enable them to draw patterns of customer wants and desires.
Once these patterns are drawn, it is possible to surprise customers by providing tailor-made offers with the right pricing. Businesses can also go “old-school” by proactively asking for feedback and acting on it with urgency. Any business that reacts to customer wants with urgency is definitely a customer champion.
A McKinsey survey found 30% of customer-care interactions happen through digital-care channels such as web chat, social media, and email. By 2020, that percentage is expected to reach 48%. The underlying fact is, in the age of digital technologies, customer service cannot be limited to analog tools and processes. In other words, you have to interact with customers via their channel of choice.
Businesses that want to exceed customer expectations instead of just meet them know investments in new-age digital technologies are a must. These investments include building self-service portals for answering queries, chatbots on websites, Augmented Reality for information dissemination, etc.
A combined study by Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce and myclever identified 24-hour service availability of chatbots to be the most popular benefit among users:
Another technology that is paving inroads into outdoor marketing is augmented reality. Brands like Coca-cola, Nike and Audi are using it on large-scale for outdoor marketing, media advertising, product demos, and much more. These technologies deliver an immersive customer experience not only engages but excites customers when interacting with the brand.
Going digital doesn’t mean losing the personal touch with customers or shutting down real interactions with them. Technology should be leveraged for its benefits, but not so much that customers feel like your business is an alien.
To keep customer interactions humane and personal, lean on social media to keep the conversations alive. For instance, a social media conversation can help resolve a customer complaint. Thanks to the closed loop conversation, there is enough room for privacy and one-on-one conversation. Also, social media can often be used to resolve issues faster than other customer service channels.
The cost to acquire a new customer is five times the cost of retaining an existing customer (Invespcro). But how can you retain existing customers when there are so many dynamics involved? Enter, gamification. Gamification is defined as, the “application of game-thinking in non-game contexts.” It creates reward structures for customers which motivates them to continue using your product or service. A well-designed gamification model can excite customers and help retain their loyalty.
With customers firmly in control of technology, it is up to businesses to step up their ante to deliver exciting experiences. It is possible to meet customer expectations and also exceed them with analytics, new-age technologies, personalization and gamification. A proactive approach will engage customers more.
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