Customer experience managers around the world understand the importance of focusing on customer relationship optimization. But what many miss is that customer experience extends far beyond the sale.
To truly optimize your customer relationships, you must analyze every interaction they have with your brand, and look at how you can do them better. That way, you significantly increase customers' lifetime value, drive customer loyalty, improve retention, and encourage referrals.
So, let’s take a look at 5 different ways to perform customer relationship optimization.
If you want to improve customer relationships, there’s no better method than asking your customers what they think.
In fact, gathering feedback from clients is something that most businesses do. But few companies analyze this feedback properly and use the information to address the issues that come up. And that’s a big opportunity missed. Early stage customers especially, can give you invaluable insights for growing and improving your business — with onboarding, for example.
But how do you get customers to willingly and enthusiastically participate in customer satisfaction surveys in the first place?
Simple: ask them politely and directly.
Use forms that address common concerns but also allow customers to share their own thoughts and suggestions. It’s also important to optimize the way you go about gathering this feedback. Software such as SurveyMonkey helps you understand how your surveys are performing (using response rates, for example) so you can make tweaks to the process.
Customers get frustrated when they have to wait around for their issues to be resolved. To avoid this happening, make sure your support is easily accessible.
Live chat is a great place to start. It provides a way for customers to reach out when they are stuck or want more information, and empowers your agents to deliver instant resolutions. And the impact is tangible — the American Marketing Association showed live chat has an ROI of 300 percent and increases conversions by 20 percent.
There’s plenty of other tech to consider, too.
If you want to take things to the next level though, you can stitch all of these offerings together and create an omnichannel approach using a customer experience platform. A set up like this ensures your customer interactions can be picked up from where they left off — no matter what the channel.
It’s an old adage, but true nonetheless: customers want to be treated like individuals, not just another number. So if you’re looking to improve customer relationships, you need to get on board with personalization.
Sure, there’s the classic tactic of using first names in email. Real personalization goes much deeper than that though, and involves interacting with customers individually however and wherever you encounter them. Part of that comes from an omnichannel approach that focuses on using tech to support continuous conversations with customers across channels, but it also means taking the time to reply to comments and messages on social media. At the end of the day, it’s about making your customers feel cared about.
It’s even possible to personalize your website and other content you serve your customers by using their interests and browsing information to create maximum relevance.
In the past, businesses may have relied heavily on customer personas and intuitive assumptions to make predictive decisions about customer behavior, but that time has passed. Big data has transformed marketing forever. Customers now expect communication from brands to be hyper-relevant and have little regard for spurious or untimely messaging.
That’s why businesses need to embrace customer intelligence and apply it effectively. The behavioral data they have access to has massive value in creating insights.
Consider Hershey’s Happygrams as an example. They tracked posts using frustration and dissatisfaction indicators, responding with positive, personalized messages. The result was 92,000 impressions and a 60 percent growth in market share for the brand. That’s the impact of using data effectively.
Trust is the foundation of any successful long-term relationship. Yet, many companies shroud their operations in secrecy, leaving customers in the dark as to how they function. While companies may have a good reason for doing this, customers might struggle to understand what they‘re trying to do. By letting them in on information that you can share, you can start earning that customer trust.
This is particularly true when it comes to information such as your brand’s affiliations or pricing. People like to know exactly who they’re dealing with, and whether you openly divulge this formation or not, customers will find out one way or another.
Transparency can also be thought of as a kind of authenticity. Patagonia’s mission statement is a great example of authenticity and how it can help your brand:
“We're in business to save our home planet.”
Patagonia lives up to this statement by actively preserving national parks in the US, donating 1 percent of its revenue to environmental organizations, and investing in renewable energy.
If your company operates within an industry sector generally mistrusted by the public, such as financial services, you have to work extra hard to earn customers’ trust. To do that, you have to show that you really do care.
Building long-lasting customer relationships is a critical business skill in a world that’s rapidly becoming more competitive. If you want your brand to stand out, give customers reasons to care about you. That means going beyond CRM and implementing customer relationship optimization tactics that consider the whole customer journey.
Why not start off by experimenting with the tips from this post? Let us know how you get on in the comments.
Benedict Clark is a psychologist and writer, having previously spent 8 years in the digital marketing industry. With a master's degree in Business and Occupational Psychology from Kingston University, he writes about the interplay between customer experience and psychology for Acquire.