Unlike in the past, marketers today have infinitely more data to base decisions on. You no longer have to guess at what your customers like anymore, you can have your guesses validated by the customer themselves. In such an environment, it’s crucial to get competitive about your customer experience and relationships. By catering to your customers on a close and personal level, you can drive more sales and increase customer lifespans with your business. Customer relationships aren’t just about the sale anymore, they are lifetime value for your brand.
To inspire your customer relationship optimization, this post explores good examples of customer experiences and what you can learn from them.
Why you should care about customer relationship optimization
Essentially, customer relationship optimization is about setting the right activities, strategies, and technologies used by your company to interact with existing and potential customers. So, why should you bother doing this?
Happy customers are loyal and vocal
In today’s world, 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 new customers who are similarly likely to enjoy your products or services. In fact, Airbnb boasts earning 25% new bookings solely through their referral program. This set of outcomes ensures a domino effect that begins with you optimizing customer relationships.
Happy customers make repeat purchases
When tracking customer experience, it’s important to go beyond basic customer info and events. You need to have a view of your failed deals and why they closed out. This could be critical in expanding your community of happy customers. By extending this margin of happy customers, you inherently extend the ability to beget more business.
Even so, aren’t CRMs enough to keep customers happy and drive more sales? Why go any deeper into customer relationship optimization?
Customer relationship optimization extends beyond the CRM
Customer experience managers around the world understand the importance of focusing on customer relationship optimization. CRM sales totalled $26.3 billion in sales as early as 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 sales portion of customer interactions.
By optimizing customer relationship right from the first touchpoint you can significantly increase a customer’s lifetime value with your brand.
Wondering how you can do that? Explore the following strategies.
5 brilliant examples of customer relationship optimization
Optimizing customer relationship involves looking into every interaction they may have with your brand from the ground up, only this way you can make it better. This section delves into 5 such important interactions.
1. Seeking and monitoring feedback
As Derek Sivers from CD Baby once said, “Customer service is the new marketing”. Your customers’ opinions and feedback are crucial in enabling the sustainability of your business. That’s why it’s so important to optimize the way you seek feedback and how you monitor it for red flags and learnings. One of the most common ways to do this is by running a customer satisfaction survey.
How do you get customers to willingly and enthusiastically participate in customer satisfaction surveys?
Simple. Ask them politely and directly. Here’s the email that AirBnB uses to do it.
When creating feedback forms, it’s important to keep it personal. Address concerns that your customers frequently complain about from your support channels. You could even provide a text box for customers to share additional suggestions that may enhance the feedback process.
If you want to monitor how well your feedback forms are performing, consider creating them on software such as SurveyMonkey.
2. Close the feedback loop quickly
Soliciting feedback from clients is something that most businesses do. But few businesses analyze this feedback and implement what’s best quick enough. More often than not, you can ascertain legitimate problems and issues in your business by monitoring customer feedback. Early stage customers, especially, can give you invaluable insights to fix your business before it reaches the masses. It could be that your app is overly complex, or your supply-chain has leaks leading to delayed deliveries.
When working with customers, it’s essential to usability test your product to understand how people are using it. If people are misusing it or struggling consistently, then your web or app design warrants a change.
3. Enable live chat on your website
According to the American Marketing Association, live chat has an ROI of 300% and increases conversions by 20%. If you want to improve your customer relationship, there’s no better way than making support more accessible to them. Customer frustration spikes significantly when having to wait on business for resolution of issues.
With live chat and chatbot support enabled, you can empower your agents to offer instant resolutions. The key is to set-up various forms of support and that ensure your customers are covered across channels.
You can enable such omnichannel coverage by working with a tool such asAcquire, through which you can set-up live chat software co-browsing, chatbot
This is similar to what Samsung has now applied to improve customer experience. They chose to set-up 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 age is now over. Big data has transformed marketing forever. Customers now expect communication from brands to be personal and do not tolerate irrelevant or untimely messaging.
That’s why marketers should embrace customer intelligence and apply it to all aspects of their marketing. They should value the behavioral data in their hands and use it to create invaluable insights.
Consider Hershey’s Happygrams as an example. They tracked posts with frustration and dissatisfaction indicators and responded with personalized, positive 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 of your own to improve customer relationships, you could do so by monitoring conversations using a tool such as Brand24. Monitor sentiments and keywords to identify important opportunities and make powerful conversations.
5. Build trust through transparency
Many companies shroud their operations with secrecy, leaving customers in the dark on how they function. While companies have a good reason for doing this, customers may not understand what exactly you are trying to do. That’s why many marketers highly recommend earning customer trust by letting them in on the information that you can share with them.
This is particularly true when it comes to information such as pricing and your brand’s affiliations. People like to know who they’re dealing with, and whether you divulge this formation or not, customers will find a way to get to it.
Trust is the foundation of any long term relationship, be it with a customer, partner, friend or family member. That’s why it’s critical for you to create trust with existing and potential customers.
Marketers also refer to transparency as authenticity. Patagonia’s mission statement is a great example of authenticity and how it can help your brand:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
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 is in an industry generally mistrusted by the public, such as financial services, you have to work extra hard at earning customers’ trust. In such a scenario, developing a customer-conscious campaign becomes of prime importance.
The trick is proving to customers that you care and showing them you will go that extra length to ensure their wellbeing.
Building long-lasting customer relationships are critical in a world that’s rapidly becoming noisier. If you want your brand to stand out, give customers reasons to care about you. That means going beyond CRM and truly looking into customer relationship optimization. You can get started on this mission 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? Optimize your customer relationships today.