Customer experience is a key differentiator for companies, and it can make or break customer acquisition, growth, and retention efforts. Positioned at the center of any customer-centric initiative is big data, and when it’s added to the mix, brands can make better, more informed marketing decisions based on customer behavior.
Personalized experiences based on big data are even more engaging and effective when that data is interpreted and applied in real-time. However, many companies are not yet able or are unsure how to do so. In certain cases, if data lacks currency, the business can incur greater costs.
Take the everyday instance of a customer making a bank deposit in the morning and then checking her account online later that day. If those funds do not show up in her online account, not only is the customer’s experience negatively affected, but the bank incurs a cost when the customer contacts the call center. A brand’s ability to access and use big data in real time is critical for companies to get, grow, and keep customers.
Using this data also increases a brand’s knowledge of individual customer preferences, which is critical for nurturing long-term customer relationships that are more loyal and of higher value. As more brands prioritize digital customer experiences, they must focus on which ones will be most successful. The answer is found in contextual experiences that meet the consumer’s needs in the moment and are delivered via the most engaging digital medium: video.
According to Nielsen, more people reported watching video on a computer once a month than they watched on a TV during that time period. In addition, video consumption grew 13 percent from Q3 to Q4 2012, according to a new report by Adobe Digital Index.
The most critical element of applying contextual video for differentiated customer experiences is how to define success. What is the expected return on ad spend or the targeted cost reduction? What is the desired take rate on value-added services or the expected lift in Net Promoter score? Though benchmarks differ for each initiative, they all should start with a defined set of success criteria to be measured and optimized. Ultimately, new value opportunities exist for companies across all industries leveraging contextual video at each stage in the customer life cycle.
Implementing Contextual Video
A strategic imperative for many retailers today is to break the divide between in-store and online shopping experiences–and they can do this by using customer profile, historical, and situational data to engage the customer across both channels. After a customer browses products online to compare prices, a big-box retailer can deliver a smart video ad experience leveraging available inventory data and nearest physical store location, encouraging the customer to make a purchase online and pick up in-store.
In addition, retailers can combat showrooming–browsing products in-store to later buy online for less–by delivering a mobile video experience based on geolocation of the store, featuring the last product the customer viewed online, where in the store it is located, and a call-to-action to buy in-store with special pricing, existing rewards points or free shipping.
Smarter video ad programs not only improve a brand’s customer experience, but they also deliver measurable financial impact for retailers. Because retailers effectively engage a highly relevant audience through an optimal medium–video–brands such as Office Depot realize significant return on ad spend.
Service industries in which customer experience is a top priority, including telecommunications, insurance, and banking, especially benefit from contextualized videos. Telecommunications providers are typically known for undesirable experiences at one of the most recurring, complex touch points with a customer: the monthly bill statement. Wireless carriers, such as AT&T, can educate new customers on the first month’s bill and promote adoption of value-added services using personalized, real-time video.
These videos have earned more than 90 percent positive experience ratings and significantly reduce related calls to the contact center. By leveraging customer data, history, and usage patterns, carriers can use such videos further into the customer life cycle to right-size, retain, upsell, and reward.
Contextual engagement communicates the importance of each customer’s relationship with a company throughout the entire consumer journey. Upselling recommendations may vary by customer history and transactional data, while merchandising messages can differ between techie and fashionista customer personas. A customer’s status may also differ by segment. A repeat customer could be incented with an “earn special rewards” message, while a customer who hasn’t purchased in months might receive a “welcome back” message.
When consumers feel appreciated and valued as individuals, brands can build and nurture long-term customer relationships. For brands differentiating themselves and leading the way in adopting a contextual approach to engaging customers with timely and relevant experiences through video, the value opportunities promise to be great.