As I was writing this series, there were many ideas which came up but were not fully baked for me to write a longer note on each of them. These are possible threads for future thinking and discussion. So, here goes.
Many years ago, we needed to physically go to stores. The Internet brought these stores to us. Today, we go to the brand properties. New channels (Email 2.0, WhatsApp) are bringing these properties to us.
We have discussed the hotline in the context of a relationship between brands and customers. What about relationships between customers of a brand or product? I would love to connect with those who have read “The Crux” – could the book publisher or author enable that via their hotline to me?
Marketers spend a lot of time discussing funnels and journeys, but not enough on hotlines. This needs to change.
How can brands use the first connect (a visit to the website, an app download) to build the hotline? Many times, they miss the opportunity to get any of my credentials to enable a follow-up relationship.
What is the cost of not having a hotline? Existing customers, expensively acquired, churn or go dormant. And that leads to the doom loop of ad spending, cutting into profits.
How can hotlines be differentiated based on the lifetime value of customers? How can hotlines with Best customers provide exclusivity, ease and access? How can this be connected with the theme of extreme retention that I recently wrote about?
Look at hotlines around us. Friends and (some) family members have a hotline to each other. Pilots have a hotline to air traffic controllers. A manager has a hotline to the direct reports. Which brands would we as customers want hotlines with in our life? What would be our expectations from the hotline?
Recently, my 3-month old Samsung A52 stopped working. It just went dark. I took it to Croma where I had purchased it from. They said I could leave it with them and they would send it to the Samsung service centre the next day – or I could take it to that service centre myself, thus saving a day. I opted for the latter. It took 24 hours to get my phone back – apparently something had happened to put it into a “deep sleep” mode and there was nothing wrong with the phone. If Samsung had a hotline with me, could they have apologised for the inconvenience caused to me – knowing how many Samsung products (Smart TVs, other phones) I use? So far, not a word from Samsung even though I know they have my email address.
What would hotlines look like in a Web3 world?
How can brands measure the efficacy of the hotline? Perhaps, the Hooked Score can help.
Can the hotline with its 2-way interactivity and gamification increase interest in millennials and GenZ in email?
Could we see interactive ads in emails?
How would the hotline idea apply to B2B companies?
Can political parties and governments build hotlines with their voters and citizens, respectively?
So, to end, there are many questions and comments to ponder in our hotline future!