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Industry Insight

Significant customer engagement

Getting to the right person with relevant information is not as simple as it sounds.

Everyone has received irrelevant, unsolicited SMSes and spam messages selling various products and services they are not interested in.

Mass marketing and delivery of products is becoming far tougher. As retail and other industries begin to stagnate, it would be prudent to ask what other countries with similar growth rates have done to increase customer demand and increase wallet share per customer.

The question is then: how do companies market to customers based on their existing shopping patterns and requirements, or offer them material on products they would be vaguely interested in buying?

Deploying CRM systems and understanding the interests of potential customers will at least help in learning how to deliver quality content to the right person – but timing then becomes more important.

Lucky guess?

How many times have companies tried to sell a solution to a customer, or provide a product the customer had considered buying, a week prior, from a competitor – and the company did not even know there was a buying decision being made.

Although technologies like big data and social media permeate marketing strategies, simply having these influential technologies is not enough. Companies must start making business decisions based on the information they receive. Big data is only of value if the data is sourced from the right systems and analysed by data specialists that understand what they are looking at and how certain data streams can affect the business.

The data is sometimes counterintuitive and requires skilled analysts, as well as the experience of business owners who understand the underlying issues in the market.

Other technologies are making this process even more challenging. With the advent of IOT, for example, the volume of data received from devices and systems is increasing, and understanding the impact of this data will become even more complicated.

Relevance is not just a nice concept; it is the future of the conversation.

Simple information streams could offer the ability to market to these clients based on real-world data being received daily, and then populated directly into real-time marketing actions.

If these customers are provided with products based on their current behaviour, the odds of understanding their behaviour and then affecting future buying decisions become better.

Know your customer

The days of just sending out mass e-mail campaigns and calling lists of people without any pre-screening are over. The clients expect communication from a company to be based on their needs; they expect the company to know, understand and predict their needs without hours of conversation.

Relevance is not just a nice concept; it is the future of the conversation. Users allow cookies and other media to track their Web behaviour, and then send them information on their browsers based on the sites they visit and the information they search for on the Web.

Thousands of rands are being spent on SEO (search engine optimisation), but this is entirely pointless if the customer experience is not similar on every level. The customer is expecting a tailored customer experience based on a company's understanding of his/her needs.

At every touch point, the requirement of relevance is leading the customer to demand user-friendly service. When looking for a product or service on the Web, why do some Web sites store recent searches, making it simple to find the pricing quickly, as they assume consumers are shopping around? However, other Web sites demand the constant entering of the same information on every visit.

Predicting what the customer needs and then providing the content relevant to the purchase makes all the difference between getting a customer's business or not.

Ask three important questions:
1. What is the environment of the customer?
2. What was the customer's original intention with this interaction?
3. What is the profile of the customer, and his/her user behaviour?

The customer assumes that when the journey then starts, the same ability to predict his/her needs will be carried through the whole interaction with the company. His/her needs will be predicted, questions answered, and simple ways to navigate the relationship with the company offered.

Understanding a company's products and services should not be the hardest thing for consumers – they want to interact quickly, simply and without all the red tape companies are so good at asking for.

If the client is contacting a company on a specific device, and expecting a user experience based on that interface, is the company making the interaction user-friendly, is it only focused on one platform, or is it looking at the interface of the specific system?

Just because a solution is available on all mobile devices, it does not mean all systems are able to use what the company has provided – the interaction with the company might be cumbersome.

Are companies creating a customer experience based on the customer, or their internal systems? The focus on the relevance of the information, on the system or device, at the right time based on the needs of the customer, will develop a company's market share beyond the normal range of its competitors.

Some basic understanding of the customer journey, and mapping the objectives, should provide companies with actionable insight.


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