Marketers today have so much more data to base their decisions on. Guessing at your customers preferences is no-longer necessary, you can have data validated by the customers themselves instead. In such an environment, customer experience has become ultra-competitive. Only by dealing with your customers on a truly personal level can you drive further sales and increase customer lifespans with your business. Customer relationships aren’t just transactional anymore, they are about the lifetime value for your brand.
To inspire your customer relationship optimization, this post explores some ways of approaching customer experience and what you can learn from them.
Why you should care about customer relationship optimization
Essentially, customer relationship optimization is about setting the right strategy and technology for your company to create the best possible interactions with existing and potential customers. Getting it right is central to running a functioning business.
Happy customers are loyal and vocal
Customer relationship optimization drives customer loyalty, retention, and referrals; three invaluable outcomes for any business.
These three elements, in turn, directly affect your revenue. If customers are loyal, their lifetime value increases, and they’re also more likely to recommend you to potential new customers. In fact, Airbnb talks of earning 25% new bookings solely through their referral program.
Happy customers make repeat purchases
When tracking your customer experience, go beyond the basics. Create a view of your failed deals and the reasons for them. This could be critical in expanding your community of happy customers, and in turn creating more business. CRMs give you the platform needed to do this.
But CRM systems alone aren't enough to keep customers happy.
Customer relationship optimization extends beyond CRM
Customer experience managers around the world understand the importance of focusing on customer relationship optimization. CRM sales totalled $26.3 billion in 2015. Since then, investment in customer relationship management has only increased.
But what many customer relationship managers miss is that customer experience extends beyond the sale. Optimizing the customer relationship right from the very first touchpoint, you can significantly increase customers' lifetime value with your brand.
If you are wondering how to do that, then have a look at the following strategies.
5 brilliant ways to optimize customer relationships
Optimizing your customer relationship involves analyzing every interaction they have with your brand, and looking at ways you can do it better. Here we take a look at 5 such examples.
1. Seeking and monitoring feedback
Customer service is the new marketing. Your customers’ opinions and feedback are crucial in sustaining your business. That’s why it’s so important to optimize the way you go about gathering feedback and learn from it. If you want to monitor how well your feedback forms are performing, consider creating them on software such as SurveyMonkey.
But how do you get customers to willingly and enthusiastically participate in customer satisfaction surveys?
Nothing more complex than asking them politely and directly.
When creating feedback forms, whilst you should address common concerns you hear about from your support channels, it’s important you keep it personal too. You could even enhance the feedback process by providing a text box for customers to share additional suggestions.
2. Close the feedback loop quickly
Gathering feedback from clients is something that most businesses do. But few businesses analyze this feedback properly and use the information. Issues in your business can be uncovered and addressed by monitoring customer feedback. Early stage customers especially, can give you invaluable insights for growing and improving your business.
When working with customers, it’s essential to undertake usability testing on your products to understand how people are interacting with them. If people are misusing them or consistently coming unstuck then your web or app design needs changing.
3. Enable live chat on your website
Customer frustration spikes significantly when having to wait on businesses to resolve issues. So if you want to improve your customer relationship, there’s no better way than making support more accessible to them. Live chat is a great tool for this. The American Marketing Association showed live chat has an ROI of 300% and increases conversions by 20%. With live chat and chatbot support enabled, you can empower your agents to offer instant resolutions.
Working with a specialist platform, such as Acquire, you can go even further, ensuring an omnichannel offering by setting up live chat software, cobrowsing, chatbot and video calling. Using dynamic support tactics, you can resolve issues on a case-by-case basis, escalating only when required. A set up like this ensures your customers are covered across a multitude of access points.
Samsung has applied something similar, using Acquire live chat and automated messaging to reduce delays and improve the quality of customer conversations.
4. Leverage customer intelligence
In the past, marketers 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 personal and have little regard for irrelevant and untimely messaging.
That’s why marketers 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% growth in market share for the brand. That’s the power of personalization.
If you want to launch a similar campaign, you could use a tool such as Brand24, monitoring sentiments and keywords to identify important opportunities and start powerful conversations.
5. Build trust through transparency
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 not understand what exactly they are trying to do. That’s why many marketers highly recommend earning customer trust by letting them in on information that you can share.
This is particularly true when it comes to information such as your brand’s affiliations or pricing. People like to know who they’re dealing with, and whether you openly divulge this formation or not, customers will find a way to get it.
Trust is the foundation of any long term relationship, be it with a customer, partner, friend or family member.
Marketers also refer to transparency as 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% 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. Developing customer-conscious campaigns becomes of the utmost importance.
You must show you care and that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their wellbeing.
The last word
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 truly optimizing your customer relationships, making use of a number of different factors. Start on your way by experimenting with the tips shared in this post. Remember, every business is different, but the core principles of success will always remain the same.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and optimize your customer relationships today.