Facebook, LinkedIn, newsletters, apps, websites … Businesswise these channels are all different means to the same end: engaging with your target audience in order to turn interested prospects into long term happy customers. But as companies try their hardest to squeeze every channel for every ounce of potential, customers themselves see this differently. In fact, they don’t think in channels at all. Customer expectations are all about getting the right communication at the right moment. And the ability to act upon it. Immediately.
Although this may sound simple, a lot of brands fail to deliver. Here’s an example. Every year since his wife gave birth to his son, David, our CTO, has been receiving emails from his health insurance fund reading: “Dear David, Why should I breastfeed?” or “How can I avoid pregnancy ailments?”
Correct, something’s not right. First of all, the department that sends out these emails should know that he’s a man. Secondly, he has been receiving this kind of emails for the past four years. His son is 3,5 now. They should know this as well. Although correct data should be the norm, it does seem to be quite a challenge for a lot of organizations to get the basics right… And even if he were a woman, he wouldn’t keep that bun in the oven for a whole three and a half years. When the timing of your customer communications is off, it’s impossible to deliver relevant content.
Get to know your customers
This happens all the time. In fear of losing out on the chance that a contact might be interested in their products, companies too often jump the gun and reach out without proper customer insights. These hit-and-hope tactics tend to backfire.
But how do you meet modern customer expectations? By understanding your customers. Basically, they want you to know, delight and respect them. If you don’t know when to contact your customers or if you don’t respect their privacy and stated and unstated preferences, they won’t feel respected. If they aren’t remembered by name and history, or their digital customer experience isn’t convenient, they won’t feel valued.
Make every communication count
Does this mean you shouldn’t bother with channels at all? No, channels play a vital role in your customer communications as long as you know which ones meet the customer preferences. Invest in the means and mindset to find out so you can be as relevant as possible in engaging with them.
And don’t stop there. Think ahead and make every communication count. Take a look at this outdated espresso invoice on the right. They didn’t use it as an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell via targeted individualized promotions. If the customer buys Arpeggia, why shouldn’t he or she be interested in Lavanti or Restritto as well? Or maybe an entire new coffee machine the next time around? When you know your customers, you can jump on every occasion to build on that relationship and get the most out of your customer communications.
To do so you must make your communications actionable. That’s what your customers look for. They want to react immediately and it’s up to you to ensure they can do so without any friction. Take a look at this bankmail on the left regarding an appointment. It says you have to open an attachment to find all further details. So you have to open a PDF on a mobile device to get all details.
Now imagine it looks like the message on the right. A digital customer experience that includes the date and time in a calendar format, the picture of the person with whom I have an appointment and with the possibility to reschedule and add the appointment in my calendar. The important message here is that every communication can have its unique character that requires a unique experience. So it is utterly important to think about the best possible experience for every single touchpoint.
Act on this knowledge so your customers in turn can do the same.