Today’s consumers are more informed and engaged than ever before from reading and writing online reviews, comparing product prices, and using the power of social media to speak directly with a brand and the public about brands. The consumer is the boss.
By engaging with customers on their terms, brands can take advantage of a direct line to their customers--putting them at the center of the conversation and truly creating a personalized experience--that is, if brands choose to build the relationship.
The Importance Of Frontline Listening
Developing and nurturing a strong customer relationship is essential and doesn’t happen overnight. To begin that relationship, brands need to understand who their customers are and how they prefer to interact--not they other way around.
The first step begins internally. CMOs, with an average tenure of 48 months, need to develop a customer engagement strategy that begins with creating a program that will be executed by the frontline staff interacting with consumers.
It’s essential to create your customer engagement strategy based on real frontline listening. Your frontline staff will have insight into what your customers want and don’t want. Once the company is on board and equipped with the right customer engagement tools, brands can begin to shift from a pre-purchase focused model to the entire lifecycle of the customer.
Using Data To Understand Customer Needs
Communication is key, specifically active listening as well as face-to-face engagement, supported by data and analytics. Consumers share their opinions and inquiries about products and services with brands over the phone, by email, and through social media channels.
In fact, according to our research on social media and customer engagement, 82% of consumers surveyed use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative. It’s up to the brand to capture the customer’s data across all channels and analyze why the customer is contacting the brand and how to best assist the customer.
By collecting and understanding data, CMOs gain a full view of their customers across all channels, allowing them to gain a better understanding of who their customers are. Brands will ultimately gain a long-term, trusting relationship with their customers when they understand their customers' purchasing habits, preference of communication channel, and the lifetime value of consumers.
Creating Personalized Messages
Technology has allowed brands to track customers’ overall purchasing habits and provide targeted offers, but do brands take advantage of this information to personalize it, or do they continue with generic messaging?
A common misconception from brands is that personalized messaging is expensive and time consuming. Enter data and analytics, a way for brands to understand the value of each channel while building a relationship. Customer information is being captured, but it’s up to the CMO to take advantage of it and create a personalized message. It can be as simple as using the customer’s name in a marketing email or responding directly to a consumer from a social media post. A little personalization goes a long way.
Brands that consistently engage with their customers and create personalized engagement will not only make the customer feel important, but will build a long lasting relationship.