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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.

 

Real-Time Customer Engagement Campaigns. Easy or Not?

Everyone’s talking about real-time customer engagement and we all know we want to move our customer engagement campaigns in this direction. However, like any “new thing” it has this mysterious and elusive jargon. Added to this there are many providers selling it. The upshot — finding a solution can get overwhelming very quickly. How do we weed through this complex landscape, to get our customer engagement campaigns ready for real-time, without being overwhelmed by the jargon and the multiple possibilities available to us?

Breaking Real-Time Customer Engagement Down.

If you peel away the jargon and the buzz words real-time customer engagement campaigns are not as overwhelming as they first seem. It is about finding relevance at the intersection of the customer, your business, and time.  It’s understanding what you can offer that is relevant to your customer at just the right moment. How do you get there?

This can be achieved manually with one-time targeted messages or with automation leveraging data to trigger 
the best message, or offer, in a customer’s ideal or preferred channel at exactly the right time for the customer. In practice, real-time marketing is a spectrum extending from manual to automated effort; manual, triggered, dynamic, and adaptive. What is needed are campaigns that move us along this spectrum and before we know it we’re there; executing customer engagement campaigns in real-time.

RedPoint Global offers a straightforward way to view migrating to real-time customer engagement campaigns.  This simple approach and practical examples of effective real-time customer engagement campaigns are outlined below.

 

ManualTriggeredDynamicAdaptive
Inject ideas or messaging into widely covered events, news stories, or comments to generate viral media coverage.Trigger pre-configured communication actions across one or more channels based on action taken by an already engaged audience.Using customer data, adapt content based on the context of the customer interaction on one or more channels, (and/or devices) the customer interacts with during their journey.Use customer data from online and offline interactions to predict and trigger a next best communication or offer across any customer preferred channel or device.

How to Move Across the Customer Engagement Spectrum.

Practical Examples

ManualTriggeredDynamicAdaptive
Examples: News-jacking and humorous responses to negative sentiment.

Case in Point: Arby’s was retweeted 81k times after posting “@Pharrell can we have our hat back?” during the Grammy’s.

 

Examples: Welcome emails, retargeting, and cart abandonment campaigns.

Case in Point: Boot Barn achieved a 12% lift in revenue after implementing a series of personalized emails to customers who abandoned their carts.

L’Oreal Paris engages site visitors with interactive questions about hair color, eye color, and personal beauty concerns. As users interact the site experience dynamically updates with products and tips based on the visitor’s information. First time visitors are offered free product samples (shipped to their home address).Examples: Personalized messaging on online based on interactions in offline channels (purchase, inquiry, product sensor).

Case in Point: CPG company uses in-home IoT device sensors to see when a customer is low on product refills. This triggers an email/ SMS as a reminder (customer has opted-in). If no action is taken, a personalized direct mail coupon is sent to customer’s home.

Reading through these examples, my guess is, you are realizing that, on some level, you are already engaging your customers in real-time. Your next step is to think about how you can advance your campaigns along the spectrum, gaining in-depth knowledge of each customer’s triggers and how to respond to them with relevant campaigns, offers, and messages that reach them at the right moment, in the right place.

To find out more about how you can advance your customer engagement campaigns, download VeraCentra’s e-book,

Five Ways to Kick Customer Engagement into High Gear. 

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.  We’ve made it our mission to help marketers advance and thrive.  Learn more

 

about us at veracentra.com.