Marketing automation – the king among customer retention strategies
Customer experience management refers to the various processes and strategies that a business develops so as to deliver a great customer experience throughout the customer journey for every single lead. Simply put, it is what the company does to keep their customer happy. It can span from process changes to even tweaking their product or service, based on customer satisfaction and feed back.
And over the ages, brands have gone crazy trying to please and surprise their customers. One of the outstanding examples is what TD – the canadian bank did. Video source – Youtube.
It had a human being inside an ATM machine and had him interact with each customer. Well, so did Coca-cola before them. But this campaign went one step ahead and went on to give every customer got a ‘Thank you gift’ – just to show them that they, as customers are valued. The campaign was a huge hit. It expertly influenced customer opinion and got them to think positively of something as mundane as banking.
But why go through all this trouble?
That dear reader, was just one. Countless businesses are using obscene amount of resources in trying to win the customer’s favor. The simple reason behind it is this – customers now have the power to choose. With the rise in competition, monetary freedom and the ubiquitous internet, today’s customers are spoilt for choice. Frankly, there has never been a better time to be a customer.
Such empowerment in customer’s choice has brought forth change in the way a customer thinks. The customer’s expectation from each business has slowly but surely evolved. In fact, the Temkin Group’s 2016 study on customer service shows that the very same companies who scored pretty well the previous year have recorded a marked decrease in their ratings.
In a nutshell – customers simply expect ‘more’ from businesses. And businesses are struggling to provide it in terms of ‘customer experience’. In fact, like we already observed, customer experience will become the most valued characteristic of a brand, over product and even pricing. So customers would be ready to put up with an average product that is a bit over priced simply because the kind of customer experience that the business provides is unmatched.
Let me tell you a story to make it a bit clearer for you:
Of these friends, Sue was the only one who cared enough to be around for Jill. Sue managed Jill’s expectations pretty well, did little things to surprise her and thus formed much more meaningful and deeper bond with her than either of the other boys. I have no doubt that if Jill was today’s customer, she would have chosen the company that took care of her needs like Sue did.
The Benefits of an exemplary customer experience
If getting new customers was the only goal of customer experience, then a lot of businesses would have decided that it was more trouble than it was worth. Thankfully, there are some more important benefits that make it totally worth the effort
A happy customer who is valued (thanks to a great customer experience), is a customer who ‘loves’ you back. He is a customer who stays. He would unfailingly renew his subscription to your product or service every time and would continue to do so as long as he receives the great customer experience he expects* (more on this later).
Once a customer has had a great experience with you- he will continue to buy from you everytime. That means, he will choose you over competition and add to your revenue.
Higher ROI (increased cross selling or upselling)
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70 %, vs 5 – 7 % for a new customer. Becuase, if a customer is happy with your service, he will be willing to invest more in your product – the chances of cross selling or upselling is more. Ultimately, you would receive more ROI from a existing customer because technically, his marketing spend will be zero while still contributing to your revenue.
How does marketing automation figure into all this?
When I spoke about churn, I mentioned that a customer will continue to stick around till he gets the experience he expects. Well, marketing automation will ensure that you continue to deliver exemplary customer experience.
Connecting with customers
Marketing automation helps you seamlessly connect to customers across all channels viz. emails, telephone calls, SMSes and even social media so that you can consistently deliver good value. An ideal marketing automation software provides clear insights of the customer journey to the business. It spans the entire customer journey right from discovery, to up selling and ensures that the business connects to the customer at every turn.
It also allows the business to understand customer behavior and requirements so that business can provide the customer the most hassle free experience possible. Let me tell you an example here. Zappos.com – an online shoe company sent flowers to it’s customer whose feet were damaged due to harsh chemicals. They knew this how? Because the woman had ordered 6 different pairs of specialized shoes from them – and the company tracked it!
Engagement across channels
With marketing automation, you can engage your leads meaningfully by sending them relevant content at the right time. If the content helps them make a buying decision, answers a query they may have – then it is indeed providing solid value and will definitely keep the lead interested.
Informative lead insights
The Zappos example I mentioned above is just one among many. A marketing automation software can track the lead behavior across their website – know how long they spent on which page, what information they have downloaded and thus use it to identify their key requirements. These insights can in turn, help businesses provide better experiences to the customers.
In the next chapter, we shall discuss how exactly marketing automation can be employed to improve customer experiences.