The most successful enterprises are defined by their ability to communicate. Today that means meeting consumers where they hangout – online, on multiple platforms. Businesses routinely push out sales and marketing messages via SMS, email and social media for example. They’re also increasingly embracing new richer channels like OTT chat apps and RCS.
But consumers no longer respond to sales communication in isolation as part of a loyalty scheme for example. They want personalized and often two-way communication, and will happily reward the companies that are attentive to this need, with repeat custom and recommendation.
It’s fair to say that communication has grown beyond a sales tool to form the cornerstone of customer experience. Loyalty to a brand or business is no longer something that can be relied upon because a consumer has received some form of incentive, rather it comes from customer experience – the sum of all the parts of the customer journey.
So why do so many enterprises continue to struggle with customer communication? Part of the problem lies in a badly structured approach that shutters business functions into silos, so that sales and marketing, customer service, design etc. operate in isolation. Yet customers want to experience an organization that provides a single seamless journey, from initial enquiry right through to post-sales support and beyond.
There are three main areas where simple improvements in your approach can pay long-term dividends.
- Go on the journey with your customers - Enterprises need to scrutinize ‘the journey’ to work out where interaction can take place. That starts with some fairly basic questions. A typical journey looks something like this:
Discover → Compare → Consider → Commit → Retain
When scrutinizing this journey as a customer experience, there are many relevant touch-points between these stages where the skilful use of messaging could boost engagement and satisfaction. It’s also essential to look at where friction occurs in the journey. At what stage do you lose customers? At the cart? At the moment of contract renewal? During the on-boarding process? Where, when and why do your customers churn?
- Make it relevant - Importantly, communication needs to be personalized, relevant and zoned in on the customers’ needs as individuals. Examples might include; on-boarding a new customer that has recently signed up for a service with a warm welcome, an acknowledgment of what they have signed up for, and orientation around the next steps, or at churn points - when a phone contract is coming to an end for example, where the message contains options that save the customer money by switching to a different tariff, or offers them the latest handset. Gartner calls this “tailored help”. 88% of participants in Gartner’s consumer survey reported not receiving it. It’s worth noting that ‘help’ is a customer experience concept rather than sales and marketing, yet, according to Gartner, using tailored help in the form of mobile messaging increases commercial benefits (brand intent, purchase, repurchase, and increased cart size) by 20%. In other words, implementing a customer experience objective has the potential to result in a commercial benefit.
- Make it move - Personalized messaging evidently creates the engagement that consumers look for, personalized video messaging takes relevancy a step further. In essence, video brings together two things - movement and sound - which when combined convey and simplify complex customer experience messages. Adding it to the experience mix takes engagement well beyond what can be achieved with other channels. Analysis of Sinch’s own data tells us that personalized video messages are read by 98% of the consumers that receive them (equal to SMS). However, consumers retain 95% of a message when it's a video, compared to 10% retention on other channels. Going back to the example of on-boarding, an enterprise may want to explain how to activate an account, how to get the most out of the service and options for upgrading. That’s a lot of text and a potentially complex communication. A short, personalized video can massively simplify the process, making it much easier to take.
Sinch participated in a webchat earlier this year with mobile trade body, MEF, on the subject of personalization which you can view in full here, or if you’d like a deeper dive, check out our latest eBook: Messaging and Personalization – Transitioning from loyalty to relevance or the Personalization product pages on the Sinch website.