Nowadays the key to pushing your products and services is no longer to sell or provide them once. It’s about getting your customers to trust your brand and creating long term customer relationships.
As we live in a decade dominated by data, technology provides you with the means to do so. Customers know that their data are out there and can be used, but in turn they expect a customer experience that delights and respects them.
Although this seems common knowledge, a lot of organizations fail to meet customer expectations. In fear of missing out on the chance that a contact might be interested in their products, they reach out to entire databases without proper customer insights. They hope for the best but settle for less. Some customers might take the bait but many will end their customer journey before it even begins.
These companies often end up segmenting their target audience. Segmentation is an outdated notion. It tells you that all women between 25 and 35 who live and work in the greater city of London and like drinking cocktails, would buy the same red dress. That’s nonsense. In modern customer communications, the only segment that matters is that of the individual customer.
What do your customers want?
To meet customer expectations and boost customer loyalty, you have to know WHAT your customers want. If you don’t respect their privacy and data and stated and unstated preferences, they won’t feel respected. If they aren’t remembered by name and history or they have to provide data twice or fill out irrelevant information, they won’t feel valued.
But recommend something else they might like before they even think of it, and they will feel appreciated. The same goes for their customer experience. Make sure they can complete a transaction all the way until the end. Without friction. For example a pension savings fund tax certificate. It’s a basic and boring document required in Belgium for tax deductions. Although all banks must provide customers with this information, none of them turn this obligation into an opportunity to strengthen their customer relationship.
Imagine it looks like this. A digital customer experience to highlight the benefits of the fund by predicting the return when retiring. A call to action could also be included to persuade customers to regularly deposit money in the fund instead of on a yearly basis. When you remove all friction, you can get a lot done. This is what’s called digital comfort.
And when do they want it?
Besides customer data on what your customers want and need, it’s equally important to know WHEN they actually need it. If you recommend a product after the customers already bought it, they won’t feel valued. If your timing is off, relevance goes out the window. Instead determine where your customers are in the buying cycle and reach out on the right moment. Relevance and good timing are the key ingredients to make your customers act upon your communications and eventually boost customer loyalty and retention.
Meet Stephanie and Peter. Actively on the lookout for a new car, they visited a motor show. Back home they are still buzzing, daydreaming about the first trip together in their brand new set of wheels. Now imagine as a bank, you could send them this message at this specific moment: “Profit from the lowest rates at Union Credit Bank and buy your dream car today! A personalized offer in just 5 minutes!” Who could resist?
Here’s another example. Two years ago David, our CTO, took his family on a fantastic holiday to Mallorca. A year later, in February, he received a beautiful printed communication with a picture of the island and the message: “David, do you remember your fantastic holiday in Mallorca last September? It’s getting time to book quality time with your family”. It also suggested three hotels in which he could have been interested.
He gave a 5-star review about that specific vacation and booked that holiday in February, the year before. They used that information to engage with him. And it worked as he booked the same hotel with the same travel operator this year. This is a fine example of how relevance and timing can work wonders.
Discover other ways to become more customer centric in our blog ‘5 ways to become more customer centric’