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Real Strategies that Engage Customers in Real-time

Customer engagement can be defined as the depth of a relationship between your customer and your brand.  In our customer-centric marketplace, achieving loyalty is largely the result of frequent positive engagement.  And more positive engagement can be achieved with real-time customer interactions.  In fact, real-time customer engagement is a game changer, and mastering the ability to engage customers in real-time can determine competitive advantage now and into the future.

Since loyalty is achieved when customers are engaged, marketers must have a laser focus on every opportunity to engage customers as they interact across multiple touchpoints. To achieve higher levels of engagement, marketers must now develop new strategies and acquire new capabilities to create the competitive advantage real-time customer engagement provides.

Here are four strategy ideas to get you started, followed by the technical capabilities you need to operationalize your strategy.

Develop Strategies to Engage Customers in Real-time

Think about your customers current interactions with your brand.  Although I am a firm believer in creating an omni-channel experience, for this exercise you can begin with a narrow channel focus.  Analyze your app, website, social, email communications, etc. and identify “choke points” (interactions that keep your customer from taking the next step in his or her journey).   These “choke points” represent an ideal opportunity to develop a real-time personalized interaction that facilitates their engagement. Here are a few examples:

Simplify the steps your customers must take when they are making a purchase.  You can do this by narrowing options, so your customers can more easily buy.  

During a web visit, Keurig asks a series of questions about the visitor’s coffee habits, narrowing the flavor selections and options in real-time.      

 

Customer Experience

 

Demonstrate your brand cares and addresses emotional needs by finding ways to support your customer.

Sephora offers tips on how to properly apply foundation and recommends which products are right for a variety of skin tones.  Customers feel less frustrated and more confident about their choice.

 

 

Provide advice on what your customer should do next.  Make relevant suggestions based on customer’s history. 

In real-time, Eileen Fischer offers suggestions to complete an outfit.

 

Customer Experience

 

Offer information that may not be readily available to help your customers make decisions.

More than just an email reminder to customers that service is needed, Mr. Lube Canada, provides specifics about the customer auto, and maintenance history.

Customer Experience

 

Operationalize Real-time Customer Engagement with These Capabilities

Once you decide on your strategy, turn your attention to real-time predictive analytic capability. Predictive analytics will identify the right message to be served up at exactly the right time.  Embed your analytics directly into your workflow and leverage machine learning to optimize results.  Common analytics that enable real-time engagement include: product affinity, product recommendation, churn prediction and next best action as potential analytics to support your strategy. Most customer engagement platforms include machine learning capabilities, and some come equipped with built-in predictive models.

Most marketers know that customer data is critical to real-time engagement success. If you are operating from a traditional data base, it’s time to advance to a more robust Customer Data Platform (CDP).  CDP’s provide the capability to ingest all types of data, from any source, in any format. CDPs also accommodate streaming data as well as batch, can solve for customer identity conflicts, and provide advanced automated hygiene routines.  Since real-time customer interactions are dependent on data, tools with high quality data management capability are a requirement.

To find quick win strategies for real-time customer engagement, look at current programs and identify interaction choke points.  Create strategies to resolve customer choke points in real-time.  Then, acquire the right technical capabilities to operationalize your strategy. Real-time customer engagement is the new path to greater customer loyalty.

To learn more about ways you can better engage customers, download our e-book,  How to Kick Engagement Strategies into High Gear.

About VeraCentra:  We’re a team of experts here to help you implement and execute the capabilities your company needs to make real personalized connections with your customers.

 

5 Ways to Advance Your Personalization Strategy

Advancing your personalization strategy takes a shift in mindset and process to that of customer first. Yet, in most marketing organizations, there is not yet an in-depth skillset around developing a customer first strategy. And, marketing continues to be brand/product first, trigger, event or promo focused, and channels remain in silos.  How can marketing leaders implement the transformation needed to switch from current strategies and tactics to new and better ways to personalize customer engagement?

 

Developing a New Playbook to Advance Personalization

You don’t have to look too far to find evidence that advancing your personalization strategy is good for business. A Forrester Research Study states the case quite succinctly. Advanced personalization increases average order values 1.9x, customer retention 1.7x, and customer lifetime value 1.6x.

However, achieving these kinds of results is not a straightforward matter. It requires an organizational transformation to break down the silos and re-tool everyone’s mindset from focusing on business outcomes first, and direct programs to achieve those outcomes, to a customer first focus with outcomes to follow.

In other words, a new integrated approach that spans the organization is needed — a new playbook. A playbook that, ultimately, allows the organization to fully realize a unified customer experience.

 

Collaboration — The Advanced Way of Working

Developing a new playbook works best when there is collaboration across the organization (with marketing taking the lead). One of the best ways to encourage people to be open to new ideas, ways of working, and mindsets is by getting everyone involved. A great place to start is with a series of workshops that allows your team to have ownership of the deliverables — working toward making the customer experience more unified and tailored.

 

5 Workshop Topics

Here are five topics to get you started on the road to developing a new playbook with your team:

  • Create customer experience map and identify pain points. Work as a team to create and execute ways to remove those pain points
  • Perform customer journey analysis and identify opportunities to make the journey easier for the customer
  • Identify stops in the work flow on the path to purchase and develop new experiences that pave the way.
  • Take current programs and elevate them to simplify and make more convenient for the customer.
  • Create new programs focused giving the customer what they need and want, when they want it with tailored real-time interactions.

Advancing your personalization strategy is not an option. Leading brands are demonstrating to their customers that they care for them as individuals and their customers are responding with their loyalty.

To find out more about how to implement advanced personalization at scale across the organization, download our latest eBook, How to Implement Personalization Across all Customer Touchpoints.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

 

 

Why You Need a Good Customer Personalization Strategy

Personalization is a top priority for most marketers, today. Yet most attempts don’t reach the potential of driving behavioral change, goodwill, and business results. Pivoting to a good personalization strategy is a hard, but necessary, shift in today’s competitive environment. It requires an organizational mindset change from communication relevancy to customer first communication. And, a strategy that maps the customer’s journey and identifies addressable pain points to improve customers’ experiences. All of which requires cross functional collaboration, customer, research, and data analysis.

Each Customer is Distinct

Many marketers think they are delivering a personalized experience to their customers. But many customers think otherwise. Customers are exposed to new, contextually relevant experiences, every day, and this raises their expectations and demands for this level of engagement from every brand they interact with. Companies that are succeeding in personalization, at scale, have made the mind-set shift from seeing customers as data records to seeing individual people with needs, interests, and distinct behavioral patterns. They recognize that customers not brands determine if an experience is personalized. Their mind-set shift has allowed them to create a good personalization strategy based on the specific expectations of their brand’s customers and scale from there – allowing them to avoid under or over investing in technology.

A Good Personalization Strategy Can’t Be Piecemeal

A good personalization strategy needs to cover all channels and devices, and each interaction. Customers don’t distinguish between channels and don’t expect the brands to do so either. A recent Forrester whitepaper stated that while 75% of digital pros are personalizing their content on their site, only 55% personalize promotions, 49% personalize product recommendations, and even fewer still personalize reminders and alerts, mobile app content, or screen layout. And Forrester goes on to say that, “Missing from this picture entirely is how personalization happens in the store and across other touchpoints.”

Rethinking your Personalization Strategy

It is becoming very clear that rethinking your organization’s personalization strategy is the single most important thing you can do if you are to successfully attract and retain customers, at scale.   What makes a good personalization strategy?  Here are 5 things to consider:

  1. Pivot from a product first to a customer first mind-set.
  2. Align your personalization efforts to business objectives and outcomes.
  3. Determine the technology your company needs to get to scale.
  4. Identify the level of personalization required — mapping to what your customers expect.
  5. Unify your channels for a seamless customer experience.

For more information on how to build and execute a good personalization strategy, download our eBook, How to Implement Personalization Across all Customer Touchpoints.

 About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.