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Last week Lenati wrapped up our time in Florida at Loyalty Expo 2018. It was great to connect with clients and industry leaders, here’s a few highlights:

  • On Tuesday Vans and Lenati took the stage to present on Van’s new program, Vans Family. Sharing how Vans’ deep understanding of its own culture and history provided a platform to launch their loyalty program, which has resulted in incredible market demand since launch.
  • Partner at Lenati, Martin Mehalchin took the stage Wednesday to present on personalization and innovation in experiential loyalty. Mehalchin shared insights on the strategic role personalization plays in the modern loyalty marketing context. Exploring how leading companies build responsive, dynamic experiences as part of an integrated strategy to nurture customer loyalty.
  • The most exciting moment of the conference was taking home two awards for Lenati. We were honored to have been presented with the 360 Vendor Gold Award and selected as one of the Loyalty360 Top Ten Agencies.

While Loyalty360 Expo is now all wrapped up, we’re looking forward to CRMC starting tomorrow in Chicago. We’re excited to connect with retailers and learn more about CRM strategies, ideas and challenges.

Most exciting will be the opportunity for Vice President of CRM, Digital, and Marketing Analytics at DSW Julie Roy and myself to share about DSW’s new data-driven loyalty program.

In 2017 DSW announced a new brand mission: We inspire self-expression. We will share the insights and strategy behind key initiatives including the recent relaunch of DSW VIP loyalty program, advanced personalization, and new services and in-store experiences that deepen the customer relationship and give the customer reasons to come to DSW that go beyond shopping.

We’ll be presenting at 10:30 a.m. on Friday June 8th in the grand ballroom, so be sure to stop by to learn more about this innovative program.

Lenati will also have a booth set up in the main hall. Stop by to chat with the team and pick up a copy of Our Guide to Driving Impact with Personalization. We look forward to seeing you there!

The post Looking Forward to CRMC appeared first on Lenati.

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@GirlFromBlupo: Dear Amazon, I bought a toilet seat because I needed one. Necessity, not a desire. I do not collect them. I am not a toilet seat addict. No matter how temptingly you email me, I’m not going to think, oh go on then, just one more toilet seat, I’ll treat myself.

More often than we see good examples of personalization, we see the bad. There are countless examples across social media of customers experiencing companies missing the point when it comes to personalization. Take this Amazon customer for example:

Obviously, this customer bought a toilet seat as a one-time purchase, out of need rather than desire. This is just one example of personalization gone wrong, which explains why so many companies have a difficult time developing and implementing a personalization strategy successfully. It’s the number one inquiry into Gartner and is a key theme at this year’s Loyalty Expo and The CRMC.

But personalization is not a lost cause! Many companies have gotten a firm grasp on the power of personalization and are using it to unlock revenue and add value for customers. The most successful ones understand that personalization is at its core a data problem. Spotify, the market leader in music streaming pays close attention to how their customers use their service, creating data driven personalization.

By collecting data on the songs subscribers listen to, Spotify can plug this data into an algorithm and generate a personalized playlist of new music for the user every week. This feature, called Discover Weekly, drives deeper product usage by solving the challenge of finding new music in a highly personalized fashion.

Discover Weekly allows Spotify to personalize playlists for their listeners.

As customers listen to these playlists and indicate their preferences by skipping some songs and repeating others, the personalization flywheel kicks into full gear and Spotify can improve the playlists week over week. These engagement-based improvements lead customers to be deeply attached to the brand and create a significant churn barrier.

In retail, Vans creates personalization through their Vans Custom program. Customers are given the opportunity to create their own product, customizing style, design, color and material via an online portal on the Vans website. This drives fierce brand loyalty while putting the customer in charge of the personalization, thus avoiding many of the issues we see with traditional personalization approaches.

Vans allows customers to create their own pair of custom Vans.

While there is risk in personalization, there is also much to be gained. Where are you on your road to personalization? Are you just starting out, or do you need to rethink your efforts?

If you’re attending Loyalty Expo be sure to stop into my workshop session “Personalization: Innovation for the Experiential Path to Loyalty” where I’ll expand on this blog post and dive into how to make personalization work for you.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Vans, we will also be speaking on “Leveraging Emotional Loyalty: How Vans Invited Their Fans to Join the Vans Family” with Frank Neumann, Sr. Director of Consumer Lifecycle Management & Loyalty at Vans and Pam Spier, Lenati’s Head of Client Delivery & Success.

Not attending Loyalty Expo? Download our Guide to Driving Impact with Personalization which dive into how you can make personalization work for your brand.

The post Making Personalization Work for You appeared first on Lenati.

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Lenati’s strategy and customer insights experience pairs with ProKarma’s expertise in technology and digital engineering

BEAVERTON, OR and SEATTLE, WA (April 16, 2018) — ProKarma, a global IT solutions company, today announced a definitive merger agreement with Lenati, a Seattle-based customer experience strategy consultancy.

The integration will further strengthen ProKarma’s position as a market leader in digital transformation, emerging technologies and platforms. Lenati’s expertise spans the overall customer and digital experience, from customer insights and analytics, go-to-market strategy, customer acquisition, channel enablement, through loyalty strategy and retention.

“Integrating and building on our capabilities and services with Lenati will enable ProKarma to deliver increased value to our customers by growing our marketing and sales strategy consulting services,” said Vivek Kumar, president, ProKarma. “Lenati’s team has a deep understanding of how to help clients innovate and build market leadership by using data to dive deep into the customer experience to build effective and engaging experiences.”

“Our team is excited to unite with ProKarma and bring our combined powerful technology and strategy expertise to the market,” said Kris Klein, managing partner, Lenati. “We will be able to offer our clients transformative experiences, human-centered design, analytical rigor and deep technology expertise now delivered on a global platform.”

“Lenati and ProKarma share common ground in terms of our approach to client relationships, as well as our leadership styles,” said Jen Winter, managing partner, Lenati. “Our partnership allows us to leverage our shared expertise together and guide clients as they navigate the digital landscape.”

The merger marks several years of growth for both ProKarma and Lenati. The Carlyle Group became a major investment partner for ProKarma in 2016, enabling continued growth and focus on innovation.

“Combining Lenati’s strategy consulting expertise with ProKarma’s digital transformation excellence creates a more robust, end-to-end service offering for their clients,” said Julius Genachowski, managing director, The Carlyle Group. “We’re excited to play a role in this evolution alongside ProKarma and Lenati.”

About Lenati

Lenati is the premier consultancy helping companies develop innovative and disruptive customer experiences. Working across the customer lifecycle, from acquisition to engagement to retention, Lenati serves as valued advisors and collaborators to the worlds’ most valuable brands.  Lenati strategy drives many well-known successful consumer engagement models, and has been recognized by Forrester for their thought-provoking work. For more information, visit www.lenati.com

About ProKarma

ProKarma is an IT solutions company focused on helping businesses re-engineer themselves through powerful digital platforms, customer engagement and emerging technologies. It fuels its clients’ growth and efficiency through accelerating business activities, enhancing experiences and creating competitive advantages. ProKarma operates in 18 offices across the United States, India, and Argentina and has been ranked as the fastest-growing IT services company in America by Inc. 500.  For more information, visit www.prokarma.com.

About The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with $195 billion of assets under management across 317 investment vehicles as of December 31, 2017. Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, many of whom are public pensions. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Credit and Investment Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,600 people in 31 offices across six continents.

###

For more information, contact:

Miz Nakajima

ProKarma

971-317-0739

mnakajima@prokarma.com

The post ProKarma and Lenati Join Forces to Create End-to-End Digital Transformation Company appeared first on Lenati.

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Lenati is looking forward to attending the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas from March 26th through March 29th. The Adobe Summit provides a fantastic opportunity to learn how brands are leveraging different pieces of the Experience Cloud to help enable their businesses, and gives us valuable insight into the future Experience Cloud product roadmap.

“This year I’m really interested in how B2B companies are successfully leveraging the Adobe Experience into their existing CRM stack,” says Kirk Johnson, a Partner at Lenati. “We’ve seen more and more of our B2B clients investing in improving the prospect experience and I believe Adobe can play a strong role here.”

The Summit will feature speakers from Adobe, including President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, EVP and GM of Digital Experience Brad Rencher, and EVP and CMO Ann Lewnes. Several leaders in the marketing technology space will also present, Chief Digital Officer at Coca-Cola David Godsman and VP Of Partnerships at Facebook Gene Alston.

“Adobe is a long-term client of ours and it is always exciting to witness the incredible impact they are having on empowering the customer experience and driving innovation in the marketing technology landscape,” Liam O’Connor, Principal at Lenati, added. “We find the speakers and sessions to be incredibly valuable.”

Our primary focus at Lenati is helping our clients transform their prospects’ and customers’ experience in ways that drive lasting business impact. Many of our clients use the Adobe Experience Cloud, this gives us a unique opportunity to connect with them while we’re at the conference and discuss how what we’re learning applies to their business.

Lenati will be sharing updates live from the event and will provide a post-event point of view.  If you’re attending Adobe Summit and you’d like to connect with Kirk and Liam, send us an or feel free to reach out on Linkedin.

The post Connect with Lenati at Adobe Summit 2018 appeared first on Lenati.

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In three short years, Shoptalk, which will draw 8,000 retail professionals to Las Vegas from March 18th to the 21st, has emerged as a giant, must attend retail conference that now rivals the National Retail Federation Big Show that kicks off the retail year every January.

Here are some things I’ll be looking out for at this year’s show:

The Platform Battle between Amazon and the Google X WalMart partnership (and is there room for anyone else?)

WalMart is leading traditional retail’s response to Amazon; buying Jet and seeking to build a platform business with support from Google. Meanwhile Amazon is building services that it may seek to sell to traditional retailers and other brands (Amazon Pay for one and speculation that Amazon Go will be more of a license play than a new, large chain). All three companies are sending multiple executives to speak at Shoptalk and it will be fascinating to try to read the tealeaves from what they may imply in their sessions. The show will also be a good opportunity to get a read on whether there is anyone else in traditional retail (Target?) and technology (Facebook? Alibaba?) who has the scale and will to participate in these battles.

Has the niche direct to consumer startup trend peaked or is there still room for more growth?

This trend started a few years ago with disruptive brands like WarbyParker and Harry’s and has now exploded. Dozens of these companies are speaking or exhibiting at Shoptalk. I’ll be looking to see if this is this a trend of the moment or one with staying power, as well as which of these companies will become category leaders. Also of interest: how many of these brands will remain pure D2C, how many will partner with traditional retailers like Nordstrom, and which one will be the next Bonobos-style acquisition for WalMart?

Which emerging CommerceTech and MarTech categories seem ready to go mainstream?

In Commerce related technology, I’ll be looking for emerging technologies that have the promise to solve some of the barriers in categories like apparel where the online experience has much room to improve. Who’s working on sizing and fit solutions to raise consumer confidence in their order and cut down on both cart abandonment and the need for returns? Which on site search tools seem to have the strongest offer and how are Artificial Intelligence (AI), visual and voice impacting the search experience? Are there implementable Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality solutions that will improve the shopping experience in categories like furniture and apparel?

MarTech: There are many fast evolving sub categories of marketing technology (including Multi-channel Attribution and Location Based Marketing)  where I am always keen to see the latest innovations. A super interesting Tuesday panel on AI-based marketing automation is sure to expand my view of what is possible.

The category that I think will get the most attention this year is Personalization. These solutions are reaching enterprise maturity and I think a couple of companies are ready to break out from the pack. I’ll also be listening to panelists from retailers to hear if anyone other than Sephora is effectively extending personalization from online marketing through to the in-store experience.

Look for Lenati’s brand new whitepaper on personalization at the Dynamic Yield booth in the exhibit hall. It’s a guide to getting real traction for a Personalization strategy that aligns to your overall experience and your business goals.

The post Three Things to Look for at Shop Talk 2018 appeared first on Lenati.

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Gino participates in Lenati’s Foundations Training (Pictured Center)

At Lenati we value passion, inspiration, authenticity, innovation, and camaraderie. These ideals are something all Lenatians are encouraged to strive towards.  At the first company meeting of 2018 we presented five Lenatians with value awards, representing each of these values. Learn about these outstanding Lenatians who uphold these values and truly represent what it means to be a Lenatian:

Chris dresses up for Halloween (Pictured Center)

Consultant Gino Alberto received the spirit of passion award because of his commitment to Lenati and ability to think beyond the now. Gino has worked on a variety of projects focusing on high-tech software, entrepreneurship, and sales enablement. But beyond his day-to-day work, he has been committed to improving Lenati internally from recruiting and business enablement to workplace culture.

To be inspiring is to cause people to want to do or create something or lead better lives. Manager Chris Sullivan lives this out every day at Lenati, which is why he received the spirit of inspiration award. He is known for the positive attitude and humor he brings to everyday work along with his ability to stay cool under pressure. Anyone who works under Chris will tell you that having him as your leader will make even the most mundane tasks exciting and relevant.

Esther at the most recent Lenati Happy Hour (Pictured Left)

Senior Consultant Esther Edney always brings her most authentic and true self to her work. Though she came to us from down under, Esther has fit right in (and not just because she provides the Tim Tams). With her bright attitude and honesty, Esther brings her best self to work. She is unafraid to ask difficult questions and brings meaningful solutions to the table.

Digital Experience Manager Allison Forrester was presented with the spirit of innovation award. Driven by a life-long curiosity to understand why and how, Allison puts people at the center of everything she does. Innovation requires a willingness to challenge what is and imagine what could be, Allison does exactly this. At Lenati, you must be prepared to experiment, and potentially fail, Allison is always prepared to learn, take risks, and embrace curiosity and diversity.

Can you guess who Allison is dressed as for Halloween?

Erin and Mary brought this cake into the office to celebrate their year at Lenati.

Senior Consultant Erin Popelka and Manager Mary Fritz both started at Lenati in January of 2017 and have been two peas in a pod ever since. Because of this they were presented with the spirit of camaraderie award. Beyond their work at T-Mobile and Microsoft, they keep Lenati exciting by playing pranks on their fellow Lenatians and designing elaborate treats. They are an example of what it means to truly enjoy your colleagues, Mary and Erin are great ambassadors of the Lenati spirit.

We are proud of the talent and heart Gino, Chris, Esther, Allison, Mary, and Erin bring to Lenati. Thank you for being a part of our amazing team and truly embodying the spirit of passion, inspiration, authenticity, innovation, and camaraderie.

The post Lenati Value Awards appeared first on Lenati.

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Recently, a major retailer asked Lenati to assess its loyalty rewards program, which had first launched in the late 1990’s. By one metric—retention rate—the retailer’s program was still successful. But the program was failing to drive a large share of wallet, and execs wanted to know why.

Because the program had existed for so long, reports didn’t incorporate new data sets captured by more modern loyalty programs (for example, customer profiles or browsing behavior). However, even basic transactional data dating back to the 90’s revealed major opportunities to increase share of wallet and improve customer lifetime value. The answer to the problem lied within the data the retailer already had.

Even with large, sophisticated brands, we see a failure to feed data from existing rewards programs back into the design of the program itself. Even a few simple data analyses can multiply the effects of successful incentives, and reveal otherwise unnoticed places to respond to customer needs.

Answering the following questions will reveal several quick ways to use data for a rewards program refresh—and the right analysis to help you get there.

Are you driving the right behaviors? Well-designed rewards programs can incentivize behaviors like frequency and shopping across channels, but is your program targeting the behaviors that can best influence profit? Which behaviors correlate to your top spenders? Where are your biggest moments of attrition?

In the retail example above, a “survival curve” of members showed many first purchasers never returned to make a second purchase—an expected “one and done” problem. More interestingly, still fewer customers made a third purchase, which was new information. But after the third purchase, customers would remain loyal shoppers. For this retailer, refreshing the program with incentives to visit the store again after the second purchase has the potential to further reduce churn.

Are you rewarding the right people? Tiered loyalty programs often reward an extremely small group of their very best customers while ignoring the very good customers. For example, another company’s tier structure was rewarding the 3% of customers who represent 10% of their revenue. By analyzing the customer spend distribution over possible alternate tier structures, we discovered they could shift their approach to instead reward the 30% of customers who represent 55% of their revenue, making a major profit impact for a relatively small added cost.

What’s the customer experience like? Even before you survey rewards program members for their opinions, transactional data from loyalty programs can reveal gaps in the program experience. For example, how many customers stay within your loyalty program tiers? Analyzing transaction data at the customer level revealed churn rates out of the top tier: Almost two- thirds of members who earned top-tier status failed to achieve the same status the following year—and nearly 10% of the top tier members (and biggest spenders) never returned to shop at all. Program design can address this issue by lowering the tier spend threshold, or by specifying different requirements to maintain a tier status than those needed to earn it.

What’s the financial impact of changing the program? Refreshing or redesigning an existing rewards program offers a more predictable ROI than designing a program from scratch. Existing member transaction data can help you predict how real customers will react to benefits more effectively than just making assumptions with personas. And you can adjust program response rates and costs by customer segment, since customer groups will take advantage of benefits in different ways and at different frequencies. We’ve developed an ROI Simulator to test the financial impacts of various program adjustments and quickly compare several program options side-by-side, revealing the optimal combination of benefits for real-world customers.

Finally, are you getting the right data? A program refresh is a great time to review the way you are collecting data. Which key business questions can’t you answer right now? What information is missing that you wish you had? Do you have a database that maps to other databases? Now is the time to build data capabilities in IT for the next round of improvements.

Re-designing a customer loyalty program? Be sure to check out Lenati’s New Methodology for Predicting ROI of a Loyalty Program: Using customer and data-driven simulation to more accurately project how a loyalty program will perform in the future.

The post Mine Your Data Before You Change Your Loyalty Program   appeared first on Lenati.

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This is the first in our series on Emotion Design in CX. Read the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in this series next.

Designing for emotion is becoming an increasingly important element of customer experience. Whether conscious or not, customers make many of their decisions based on how they feel, by their emotions. In fact, over 50% of the customer experience involves emotion.* According to Harvard Business Review, emotion is a key driver of the most profitable customer behavior, influencing customer spend, loyalty, advocacy and customer lifetime value more than any other single driver. Emotion can also be a predictor of business results. For example, an increase in customer fees may cause a temporary uptick in revenue, but uncovering customer’s emotions at the time will likely predict a fall-off in the next business cycle.

In the past, organizations believed emotion to be subjective and unpredictable, making it too difficult to measure and harness as a way to design experiences. However, customer research has proved this to be a myth. In fact, Forrester notes that emotional responses are predictable, just governed differently than traditional business metrics. Companies are now realizing the powerful influence of emotions within customer experience, and using emotional connection to attract and retain their most valuable customers. Emotional connection is the level at which a customer fully connects with a brand. According to HBR, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than satisfied ones because they spend more money, more often, and advocate for the brand at much higher rates than average customers.

Emotion is an impactful undercurrent of customer experience that businesses should not only design for, but also incorporate into their CX strategy to grow customer connection and loyalty. Emotion-based experience design is fairly nascent, presenting an opportunity to test and learn, and tap into an under-served area as a new source of competitive advantage. By focusing on emotion as a key element of CX (how interactions make customers feel), your business can better understand customer needs, improve brand interactions, and ultimately increase customer value.

For a comprehensive view on the value of customer connection, download The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement.

*Source: DNA of Customer Experience, Colin Shaw

The post The Case for Emotion in CX appeared first on Lenati.

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The dreaded customer satisfaction survey.

Designed as a tool for organizations to test customer brand loyalty, the satisfaction survey has morphed into a completely different beast. Ironically—in the drive to understand the customer’s experience—there has been great oversight in creating a positive experience in how that customer feedback is captured. Customers are asked for feedback on almost every brand touchpoint. The consequence is that customers become tired and irritated by the brands they want to love and that fragile relationship hovers on the verge of permanent damage. That begs the question: How do you assess and measure customer health over time—while also creating a positive experience for your customers now?

Lenati recently facilitated a workshop with CX research analysts from Forrester Research and senior-level marketing leaders across travel, retail, healthcare, and tech industries. Here are some common themes discussed in the session:

 Creating a CX Focused Culture: Respect the Metrics

For CX metrics to have real meaning, there needs to be understanding of and respect for what the metrics are trying to measure. This mindset begins with leadership defining the intended customer experience, making the necessary investments in the business to maintain and grow its CX, and then to evangelize this mindset throughout the organization.

One number doesn’t fully communicate an experience and chasing a perfect score is meaningless if employees are not incentivized to create great experiences. If you’re not getting the results you want from your CX program, talk to your customers and find out why.

Voice of the Customer Programs: Evolve or Destroy Your Customer Relationship

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs have been used for years to help brands collect customer feedback about their experiences, products, services, and expectations. However, without proper consideration, a VoC program is not always effective and can often miss the point, as described earlier with customer satisfaction surveys. Instead of generating engagement between the brand and the customer, the ubiquity of these programs places demands on the customer which harm the delicate customer/brand relationship. As these VoC programs mature, they need to evolve. There’s no easy fix and challenges remain in all phases of CX, ranging from collecting and analyzing data, to reporting and acting on customer feedback. However, a successful company must face these challenges, integrate these data views, and act. Organizations that can create stellar customer experiences using their data will continue to thrive despite heavy competition.

What are the Right Metrics?

An effective customer measurement approach gives companies insight into the quality of their customer experience and direction on how to improve it. It is important to choose the right metrics to measure the right parts of your customer experience.

  • Specific customer interaction metrics reveal opportunities for improving end-to-end customer experience and reducing pain points.
  • Customer journey metrics show companies how to integrate touch points across their customer journey.
  • Customer relationship metrics help predict customer behavior.

The danger in metrics is that they can easily become singular points of reference. Customers experience your brand as a whole, so CX initiatives should not be a siloed effort in any organization. Similarly, the metrics and KPIs that support these efforts should not be siloed. Often individual departments use their own KPIs to view the customer, but these department-level KPIs can cause conflicting priorities within an organization. As different departments see different slices of data, perspectives of the customer can emerge that are overlapping, or even in conflict, but still correct. This leads to our next point.

A Successful CX Program Requires Involvement from the Whole Company

It is the primary role of the CX executive to distribute the customer experience responsibility and establish a customer centric mindset throughout the company. CX programs are often designed by one team (e.g. Marketing) and executed by another (e.g. Operations)—but instead of a continuous feedback loop to advance a CX program based on data and learnings from the implemented program, it becomes siloed and improvement stalls. It is critical to engage all employees in developing a great customer experience – both customer facing and non-customer facing.

For example, digital experiences are different than physical experiences, and putting engineers in direct contact with your customers to get feedback can create a different kind of empathy and build a better customer experience from an engineering perspective than giving them indirect feedback based on survey data. Companies that have employed this kind of customer research have made great strides in developing customer centric products.

Don’t Bombard Customers: Use Indirect Approaches to Listen to Your Customers

There are tools available to organizations to better understand their customer’s experience outside of traditional customer feedback surveys. Social listening studies monitoring brand properties and non-brand properties (like message boards) can help companies understand what customers are saying about them as well as their competition. Brands can index advocacy/detractor statements and people’s real behaviors vs. market share. These assessments are a non-invasive way to “listen to” your customers.

Customer Experience is inherently complex. There is no single metric that fully communicates an experience and there is no single person at a company who can be fully responsible for all customer experiences. But, if brands keep the experience of the customer at the forefront of their thinking, use VoC programs to capture real information and the right metrics, use social listening to understand what their customers are really saying, and create a CX focused company culture, they will thrive amidst heavy competition.

The post From Voice of the Customer to Customer Health appeared first on Lenati.

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As brands seek to remain relevant and deliver value to their customers in the digital age, customer engagement has become a focal point on the agenda. Marketers now know that engaged customers buy more, spread more word of mouth, and are more satisfied and loyal. A recent Loyalty Driver Modeling Poll conducted by Lenati found that 96% of marketers agree that customer engagement drives business performance.

Highly engaged customers gain more value from your core offering and will devote their own time and effort to creating value on behalf of your brand. Brands that invest in a well-thought-out customer engagement program are seeing meaningful business results through co-designed products or services, user-generated content, grassroots publicity, and broad brand reach.

To get to these kinds of results, you need a well-designed and managed engagement strategy—not just a collection of ad-hoc tactics.

In our experience working with clients, we have identified five key steps to developing an effective customer engagement program:

1. Align The Organization

The strongest customer engagement programs don’t rely only on individual marketing touch points. They leverage the entire customer experience as a continuum for customers to deepen their relationship with the brand.

This “continuum of engagement” will require a cross-functional team across the company—marketing, product, customer service, etc.—to develop and execute a seamless customer engagement program regardless of channel or stage in the customer life cycle.

Executive support is critical at the early stages—helping secure resources, selecting members of the cross-functional team, and establishing a chain of command. An effective practice when selecting program sponsors is to find an executive champion outside of marketing who will co-sponsor the initiative along with the CMO.

Furthermore, a critical step in this phase is to define what “engagement” means for your brand. In the same Loyalty Driver Modeling Poll, Lenati found that only four out of 10 marketers believe that their organizations have an agreed-upon definition of “engagement.”

2. Design Your Strategy

After gaining executive support and buy-in from key teams, you’ll want to develop an overarching strategy for your customer engagement program. Not only should this strategy be aligned to key organizational objectives, it should provide a guide for the relationship your brand wants with customers. It should outline the value your customers will get from engaging with you, identify your business goals for the program, establish measures of success, and present a plan for tapping customers’ key motivations to engage.

In this phase, you’ll hypothesize a “theory of engagement” for your program: which types of engagement activities deliver the most results and which emotions these activities should tap into to drive customer behavior. This ideation process is a valuable part of aligning the team around the objectives of the engagement program. You should validate and refine your hypotheses using data, insights, and driver modeling.

The outcome of the strategy phase will be a customer engagement ladder that depicts a customer’s journey toward high levels of engagement with your brand. Your ladder should be designed to realize increasing value for your customers. A well-designed engagement ladder becomes the architecture that supports tactics and campaigns.

3. Develop Tactics


A customer engagement program needs to operate seamlessly across channels. To maximize value, it should be consistent and synced, regardless of where a customer engages. Since today’s customer expects always-on, personalized, and unified experiences from brands, it’s critical to offer the right engagement opportunities—tailored to each customer—across all channels: mobile, web, social, and physical.

Of particular importance, mobile is one of the most powerful platforms available to brands. Even very simple mobile engagement produces strong impacts on both web and physical engagement, as well as on sales. In addition, depending on your industry or business, social media offers multiple opportunities to facilitate and encourage customer engagement.

Online and traditional advertising, loyalty programs, brick and mortar locations, and customer service also offer engagement opportunities. They should be optimized to put customers on the engagement path and help them move up the ladder over time. These programs can act as feedback loops to help route customers back onto the engagement ladder over and over, regardless of where they interact with the brand.

4. Pilot And Scale

When preparing to introduce new components of an engagement program, build in the discipline to filter ideas and test them with customers to prove their value. Testing techniques that have been effective for our clients include agile pilots, A/B testing, and cohort analysis.

Once a new program has been validated and optimized through piloting, it’s time to scale. Scale requires putting the right processes and systems in place to offer and manage each new program for the broader market.

5. Measure And Manage

The measurement strategy should provide leaders and teams the information needed to make smart business decisions and optimize the engagement program. When determining what to measure, it’s important to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most and find ways to streamline information so the critical insights come clearly to the surface in actionable ways.

A challenging but valuable exercise is to develop a customer engagement score—combining multiple behavioral measures of engagement into one KPI. Increases in this score can be linked to improved sales and other business results, helping quantify the ROI and value of your engagement program. Furthermore, customer engagement scores can also contribute to predictive customer lifetime value models.

Other sophisticated methods of customer engagement measurement can produce what we call “magic numbers:” flags that call out critical behaviors requiring action, such as flags that indicate “at risk” customers who are likely to churn and need reactivation or “ready to advocate” individuals who should be recruited into advocacy programs or provided with special referral offers.

Customers today decide when and how to interact with brands or whether to ignore a brand entirely. A customer engagement program is essential to capture and retain customers—not just their dollars, but also their respect, affinity, excitement, and willingness to spread word of mouth.

Now is the time to think through this process and deepen your relationship with customers—and in return your brand will increase satisfaction, loyalty, reach, and sales.

For tips on how to drive revenue, retention, and reach through customer engagement, download “The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement”.

The post 5 Musts For A Successful Customer Engagement Program appeared first on Lenati.

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