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Getting Personal: Making Customers Your BFF

The old adage of “you have to work for the best things in life”, holds true when it comes to friends, and also when trying to build a loyal base of customers. According to Forrester Research, “42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications.” Frustration often accompanies disconnection and it doesn't take much for unsatisfied customers to jump ship and head over to the nearest competitor. We’re often judged on the first impressions we leave, don’t you want to leave a positive one?

 

One key component to making a lasting, positive first impression on your customers is through the proper use of customer data. We all know that data is important, but as customer service professionals, we can no longer collect it carelessly. Customers are constantly contacted by brands, wanting to gather as much information as they possibly can to build out customer profiles. However, if nothing is done with this data, all you're left with is an annoyed customer and a detached experience.

Here are 7 points to focus on to make the most of your analytics and insights:

1) Multiple Sources: Your customers want to interact with your brand in a number of ways including brick-and-mortar, mobile, social media, chat, email, or through your online store. Collect data from ALL of these sources to get a complete view of the customer journey and tweak experiences accordingly. The scripting encouraged in-store may not be effective on chat. Learn, change, repeat.

2) Personalize the Experience: This is a big one. Customers want to feel special and finding a way to evoke this feeling might be easier than you first think. For example, the data from previous shopping experiences can be used to tailor marketing messages sent. Perhaps that lady who just purchased a bathing suit would like to know you received a shipment of new styles. Maybe you should treat your customers who spend more to a private sale. Find a way to connect, big or small, and let your customers know you appreciate their business.

3) Customer Journey Mapping: Understand what your customer experience is like from end-to-end. Go through the steps of making a purchase, return, inquiry, etc. at all channel sources. Collect feedback from your customers post-experience and discover their pain points. Aggregating this information will identify gaps or frustrations in the journey which can then be subsequently altered.

4) Get Their Attention: Be unforgettable! Find a way to effectively communicate and amplify your brand in a creative, eye-catching way. Try to make your experience as engaging and enjoying as possible. One example is with shelf-level digital media that enables consumers to interact with products in real-time via video, QR codes, animation, photos, etc. Display popular or new products, or different ways to use those products.

5) Give Them a Reason to Stay: Brand advocates should be rewarded for their loyal behavior. Rewards programs, priority routing and treatment, discounts, gamifying the customer experience, targeted content, and other forms of e-mail marketing are all tactics to try to compensate and encourage customers to make a repeat purchase.

6) Sense of Community: Providing platforms for your customers to interact, share experiences, and review products increases transparency and a sense of community. Whether it be a social network, or part of your website (i.e. forum, place for reviews, etc.), explore different ways to get your customers more involved with your products. One popular idea is to get fans to post pictures interacting with products on social media networks, adding in certain hashtags to tie in to promotional events, to create buzz.

7) Make it Easy: Advancements in technology are constantly occurring. Stay on top of new trends and adopt them where they make sense. Ease of use is a big factor for customers, whether dealing with the product itself, customer service, your website, etc. Eliminate room for error.

When used in the right way, data can identify and close gaps, properly align communication channels and resolve customer inquiries, efficiently and effectively.

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