Today, consumers are more connected and smarter than ever before. They have high expectations for the businesses they purchase products and services from. A successful company should differentiate from competitors by ensuring that it is providing quick and consistent service in every aspect of interaction with the customer.
Each department should create a cohesive plan to offer the absolute best customer service. Customers will rate a company based on their overall experience; they expect all departments to provide consistent service and support. A great deal of this responsibility will fall on the marketing team, as we know our customers’ needs, wants and desires more than anyone else (hopefully!). Cross-functionality within departments is essential. For example, the marketing department should be collaborating and sharing metrics with the sales department.
In this saturated market, if a business does not meet a consumer’s expectations for high quality, they won’t think twice about taking business elsewhere. Remember, although word of mouth can often work in positive ways, bad experiences can also work against a company. The customer service experience that a company provides to consumers is just as valuable as the product or service offering.
Here are some customer expectation trends to keep in mind:
- Convenient and responsive interaction with customer support
- Knowledgeable support agent to deal with issue
- 24-hour support via mobile device
- Consistency across departments
- Free shipping and easy returns
Marketers must take the lead in bringing their companies to success in the age of the connected customer. For guidance, we’ve compiled a list of three technology trends to keep in mind.
The already massive amount of consumer data used in marketing is rapidly expanding and is expected to increase by 50 percent over the next two years. To get content or ads in front of the right person at the right time, business marketers must look to various sources of data such as ad clicks and email open rates.
Marketing databases, customer relationship management (CRM) and email solutions are a few of the sources where this data can be collected. It is vital that marketers have a strategy in place for managing and making sense of all this data so that they can monetize it by using it to create a better customer experience.
One solution is a data management platform (DMP), which can be used to collect, analyze and make sense of copious amounts of consumer data. DMPs also create and manage customer personas used for target consumer segments. These personas, along with audience insights and segmentation, can then be used to optimize media campaigns.
As vital as it is for a company to have collaboration between departments and cohesiveness of data, it should also be a top priority to interact with target customers across all channels. Cross-channel engagement is something that many businesses desperately struggle with today.
This pain point should hardly come as a surprise when you look at the growing number of channels of communication a company has with its customers. Channels in which businesses should ensure marketing is coordinated and consistent include:
- Social media
- Mobile app
- Mobile messaging
There are multiple ways that businesses tend to interact with customers across channels. Some marketers may use completely different messages on each channel. Other marketers may use the same message across all channels.
The solution here is to find the middle ground and take one solid, powerful message but tweak it from channel to channel depending on which consumer personas the brand is targeting. Keep in mind that different customer segments have different rates of engagement on each of the various types of channels. It is essential that marketing teams collaborate with other departments to successfully coordinate cross-channel participation.
AI for Personalization
Today’s connected customers judge their experience with a company based on how personalized it was. To be successful, the marketing team should ensure they are well aware of their target consumer’s needs, wants and desires.
Businesses should make it a priority to personalize content and offers to different segment personas. Personalization will improve the overall customer experience across all channels. Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) sort through data and interpret patterns – this can be very beneficial in creating different target segments for marketing campaigns. Personalization can help build the brand, generate leads, acquire customers, upsell and retain customers.
Marketers can also implement AI in their marketing strategies to engage customers and provide an up close and personal experience. AI technology can be utilized to collect and interpret customer purchasing data – including browsing habits and demographics – to give personalized recommendations and offers. An example of this is a website suggesting products similar to ones that a customer has purchased or added to their shopping bag in the past.
A cutting-edge AI technology to keep an eye out for is the chatbot. By automating simple human conversations and tasks, chatbots can provide a very personalized experience for customers. They can ask questions and give recommendations and other offers in a very efficient manner. Chatbots can even be programmed to have personalities and humor. Businesses can use chatbots on their websites, apps and social media channels.
(Note to anyone new with the term “SnatchBot” – it is is a leading AI-based chatbot platform that allows businesses to provide excellent customer service by designing personalized chatbots on its platform. SnatchBot has deployed a record amount of chatbots around the world for use in all sectors including, airlines, insurance, government, IT, healthcare and e-commerce.)
Lead your business into marketing success by keeping customers engaged with personalization, cross-channel engagement and data cohesiveness. Stay ahead of the curve by deploying new technologies that will give you a competitive advantage in retaining customers and delivering results.