There is a direct correlation between the experience you provide your clientele and your ability to effectively engage them. The emotional connection a positive experience can create between consumer and business opens up exponential opportunities to extend and develop that relationship. Now, more than ever, that whole process starts and takes place primarily online — and marketers must be able to offer an excellent web-based experience on the consumer’s terms to be successful.
While coordinating efforts to start your online customer relationship off on the right foot sounds easy, in practice many marketers miss the mark. Typically incorporating tools that integrate bits and pieces that provide efficiencies in some areas, while overlooking other portions of the customer lifecycle that may not appear directly related on the surface. In reality, an integrated online marketing and client engagement strategy is a possibility for businesses large and small, and can pay dividends when optimized correctly. Below are three areas of emphasis marketers should focus on to ensure these efforts are successful.
Be (Seemingly) Available, All The Time
As Smartphone ownership grows, it stands to reason that the more than 64% of smartphone users who utilize their device to conduct everyday tasks will grow as well. So make sure your mobile site supports the same range of functionalities as your website. It’s important that traditional web-based marketing efforts like an effective call-to-action or pathways that entice new online visitors to interact with the business are readily visible and available via mobile devices.
But what good is collecting prospective and returning client data if your marketing, sales and customer service teams can’t easily access it? Every call-to-action on your web, email and social campaigns must connect with your CRM, which in turn must have a responsive, mobile interface available to your team anywhere they go, anytime. Each of your teams needs access to the full scope of consumer data, as well as the ability to communicate potential action items to other teams and manage any aspect of the customer relationship – e.g. scheduling, invoicing, payments – as needed whenever, no matter their location. Important during acquisition, this availability can also build goodwill and loyalty with your clientele, cultivating that relationship over the long haul.
To Whom Am I Speaking?
Marketers looking to maximize capture and retention should also focus on right-sizing and targeting their messaging, while still keeping basic ideas consistent. Know where the customer is in the sales cycle, and then adjust target messages and calls to action to fit them and the platform (i.e. mobile vs. website). For example, target follow-up emails to first-time clients on behalf of a dedicated sales rep that include on-demand scheduling functionality, suggesting they set up a check-in call with the rep at their convenience. Maintaining messaging consistency while still tailoring to specific scenarios can optimize communication for customer preferences and building a rapport by speaking more directly to their particular needs.
Keep Them Coming Back
You’ve established the relationship and the client has completed the sales funnel, now what? Many marketers drop the ball here in that their strategy does not include client service considerations. But integrating this element can really improve your ability to attend to clients and further cultivate repeat business. Incorporating customer satisfaction, the length of the relationship, the products and services purchased, etc. into your marketing strategy provides an additional layer of insight that a marketer can use to dial-in the frequency and nature of client engagement. Given research has found that a repeat customer spends 67% more than a new one, the benefit of understanding the ongoing relationship dynamics at play is evident.
Now, depending on the industry, there may be a system available that incorporates customer service capabilities with the rest of your marketing and sales efforts, if so then that’s the best option. However, since there is no catchall solution that is universally adoptable, simple communication can also do the trick. Install procedures for handing customers from team to team and ensure all team members are trained in each other’s systems.
A marketer’s goals should include regular and open cross-departmental correspondence so the entire company has insight into all aspects of the consumer relationship, putting everyone in the best position to compliment their co-worker’s efforts. A comprehensive view of a client’s relationship with a business remains a vital element of marketing strategy, and it requires coordination between teams and consumer-facing technology. This sort of adept and responsive client interaction can make the difference between a profitable, long-term commercial relationship and a series of minimally profitable one-off purchases.
About the Author:
Ran Oelgiesser is chief marketing officer of vCita. He has nearly 20 years of experience in helping startups and large organizations with technology, product management, and marketing. Prior to vCita, Ran was a co-founder and vice president of product marketing at Kidaro (acquired by Microsoft in 2008).