Customer Life – 2
As customers, we want more personalisation, greater relevance, less spam and the occasional surprises. We also want to engage with brands across channels. We are willing to share information with brands provided we get a better experience. We also want our loyalty to be rewarded. All this is not too much to ask for given the data that brands can now collect from us – every click and swipe is getting stored away somewhere in a database.
Yet, most brands fail in creating the “wow” experience. While they do have martech platforms, the point solutions most brands use end up creating data silos, raising integration costs, preventing the single customer view, and impeding the working of AI-ML. This creates the disconnect with their customers, and instead of “delight”, they end up making customers “delete.”
Some changes in the customer interaction journey can give customers what they want.
- Brands should reward customers for their attention and engagement with micro-incentives (“atomic rewards”). These work as nudges and add a touch of gamification and excitement to the buying process. The first place where these rewards need to get used are for push messages because that is the only way for brands to get customers back to their properties (website or app).
- Brands should offer a short daily content offering via email in the form of “Ems”. This helps with brand recall – increase mental availability of the brand.
- A digital twin can help customers along the journey by showcasing the most relevant product recommendations at each stage. This makes discovery better by suggesting what is the next product they should consider.
- Brands should offer their top customers differentiated experiences – think of this as “Velvet Rope Marketing”. For this, they need to be able to identify them online and in stores. This makes the best customers feel special and wanted.
- Brands should ask customers for more information which can help improve their recommendations. While algorithms can work well, customer interests change. In most cases, the search box on Google or Amazon is the starting point for our buying journey. Brands need to change that by improving the search experience on their own properties.
- Finally, brands should recognise the influence each customer has. Influencer marketing and social commerce are new ways of discovery and persuasion. A recognition of referrals done can result in rewards which will further encourage proactive word-of-mouth spread.
Many of these ideas have been covered in some of my earlier essays.
Taken together, these ideas – all doable today – can help improve the customer experience and ensure that brands protect their turf in a world where competition is always chasing their customers and churn is just a click away. Yet, in the obsession with new customer acquisition, brands and marketers are missing the most obvious profitable growth strategy – retention and cross-sell to the customers they already have. This is the mindset switch that’s needed. After all, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush! This brings us to the next three secrets: full stack, progency, and rebudgeting.