Start To Listen To Your Customers And Look At The Organizational Silos That Exist In Your Business
Navigating the route to customer engagement can feel big and scary. And yes, customer engagement strategies will eventually be company-wide initiatives involving multiple departments – but they don’t have to start that way. Not all departments need to be in the room from the start, and this certainly shouldn’t be a deterrent or prompt to brush the topic under the carpet for another quarter.
You have to start somewhere. It’s rare to find the perfect moment, but there needs to be an urgency to take action and prevent your customers being poached by brands that are getting it spot on. In fact, 25% of consumers will switch provider after just one negative experience, and 59% of customers feel they’re in a one-way relationship with a brand.
Instead of making it such a big leap, take a step back and evaluate some small projects towards change. For example, start to listen to your customers and look at the organizational silos that exist in your business. Each silo has an ultimate responsibility to your customers, so it’s time to work together to put the customer needs first. Technology exists to help, not hinder, your efforts.
Rather than burying your head in the sand, here are four ways you can take the first steps towards customer engagement:
Listen to your customers now. Get to know them, understand what they’re doing and what is their need. What’s their journey? Put them at the centre and think about it from their perspective. A good example of this is SSAT (Schools, Students And Teachers network). With a constant spotlight on the quality of education across the country, it was crucial for SSAT to ensure its services added value to members nationally. Providing each school with the right resource, support and accreditation would ultimately help each become the best it could be.
SSAT realized that by really listening to its members, across any channel or device they interacted with, it could discover what members really wanted. Employing Thunderhead’s ONE Engagement Hub meant SSAT was able to join up digital, outbound and customer service channels with its CRM, ensuring a 360-degree view of the customer to fuel the right kind of conversation. Over the course of four weeks, the hub matched over 5,000 previously anonymous website interactions to specific CRM records. Consequently, high-volume, generic outbound emails became low-volume, ongoing and personalized conversations.
Connecting a couple of customer-facing channels is the beginning of piecing together your customer journey. Just by joining web and CRM, or mobile app to mobile website, you can make huge differences to the experience your customer receives. Connecting channels can equip you to engage in insight-driven conversations with customers who are at different points in their journey. Unlike businesses, customers don’t think in terms of channels. They are driven by their in-the-moment needs, but by connecting the channels you can improve this.
Use insight gained from listening to make changes for the better and help your business prioritize projects that have the most value. Using the lens of the customer journey, create relationships with your customer to consistently meet their expectations and not annoy them. Learn from the insights that are available to you and use technology and AI to your advantage. Look to technology that can work with existing systems to deliver wins that can help coordinate activity, while developing longer-term engagement strategies across the wider business. A connected, relevant and personalized experience for your customer every time – what’s not to love?
By proving ROI with smaller projects initially, it will be easier to persuade other stakeholders in the business about the benefits of striving for customer engagement. You don’t have to do it all at once. It’s a journey for you, as well as your customers, but you do have to take the first step. This would mean moving towards a situation where sales, service, ecommerce and marketing can work together, and a culture of the customer is established throughout the organization.
Armed with these recommendations, a shift towards focusing on customer engagement becomes less daunting. The reality is that every customer interaction can eventually be personalized and relevant, and the opportunity is there to tailor actions in-the-moment to deliver the best conversation at the most relevant time for the customer.
Brands should aim to give customers something they’ll value each and every time they interact, which will ultimately result in engaged customers and trusting relationships.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity” – Amelia Earhart. Instead of placing customer engagement on the ‘too difficult’ pile, CMOs should take the lead, starting small and building on their engagement strategy as the business starts to see real returns.