Marketing has always been one of the most important business drivers, but it evolved in the last couple of decades just to grow bigger and more complex. The result is that now you can hardly win over new customers using generic messages, so it’s crucial to tailor offers and personalize content.
By definition, personalization is a marketing strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers. The strategy is extremely important since over 60% of consumers expect companies to send personalized offers or discounts based on items they’ve already purchased.
What makes this marketing concept so powerful? It brings businesses a lot of benefits, including these:
Relationship building: Personalized content allows you to get closer to the consumers and strengthen the bonds between them and your brand.
Improved customer experience: Tailored offers make customers feel appreciated and satisfied.
Lead generation: Marketers who customize content can expect to generate more leads than their less agile counterparts.
Higher conversion rate: The same goes for sales results – personalized offers drive more conversions.
Customer retention: The last benefit is critical since personalization improves customer loyalty and turns consumers into brand advocates.
Now that you know the basics of personalization in marketing, it is time to see the most effective ways to apply it to your strategy. Here is the list of seven simple tactics:
1. Collect and Analyze Data
If you want to provide consumers with personalized content, you have to collect and analyze customer-related data. It’s the first step you need to take in order to acquire valuable feedback and design a proper strategy. Most marketers do this in three different ways:
Website analytics reveals user behavior
Tracking comments coming from social media followers and email subscribers
Conducting customer surveys and opinion polls
2. Audience Segmentation
Once you get enough material to work with, you can easily segment the audience based on various indicators. This will serve you as the cornerstone for future content creation activities. Our suggestion is to focus on these parameters:
Age and gender: It’s not the same whether you target teenagers or middle-aged consumers
Location: You can’t apply the same tactic to local, regional, and global markets
Education and annual income: Well-educated individuals analyze offers thoroughly and make data-driven decisions
Online shopping habits: These reflect personal interests of your prospects
3. Segment the Content
Now that you know everything about the target audience, you need to design the corresponding content creation strategy. Vivian Walker, a blogger at Brillassignment.co.uk, says you need to divide content so as to fit the three stages of the sales funnel.
Here’s how she explains it: “Generic content and paid ads are good for users at the top of the sales funnel because they help you to raise awareness. However, the middle part and the bottom of the funnel demand a more customized approach, with tailored content, personalized offers, and free trials.”
4. Personalize Emails
Although being one of the oldest channels of digital marketing, email campaigns still play a major role in contemporary business. According to the reports, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. For this reason, you also need to personalize emails to make the most of your marketing strategy.
5. Engage on Social Media
Another way to use personalization is to engage on social media and establish regular communication with your followers. The goal is to humanize the business by using the same style and tone of voice, letting the world know there are some real people working behind the curtain. It will help you to make the audience feel acknowledged and to strengthen relationships with the regular commentators.
6. Improve Customer Service
Every business must try to improve customer service and allow consumers to express opinions or send inquiries around the clock. What makes this process so important? First of all, high-quality customer service proves the credibility of your organization.
Besides that, you can use the history of customer interaction to personalize communication with your clients and anticipate their future needs. Luckily enough, there are all sorts of customer relationship management tools that can assist you in this process, so you can utilize these platforms to automate most of the work.
7. Measure Results
Customer personalization can only get you so far if you don’t measure the results of your marketing strategy. Therefore, you must keep an eye on all activities to detect both the good sides and pain points. Doing so, you will be able to improve or eliminate weak spots from your strategy and put an emphasis on content that already proved to be successful.
Personalization in marketing is not only an option anymore but rather a full-time necessity. Gone are the days when you could just make “one size fits all” content and expect people to show interest in your products or services. On the contrary, everything you do needs to be tailored so as to fit the need of the target group.
This post described seven simple tactics for customer personalization to boost your marketing strategy. We encourage you to spend some time testing these hacks and find options that perfectly suit your business requirements – it will bring you tons of new leads and drive conversions in the long run.
About the Author:
Scott Matthews is a professional content writer in such topics as a business relationship, SEO and digital marketing. Scott`s the biggest passion is blogging and traveling. He regularly takes part in different career growth conferences and contributes his posts to different websites. Contact him on Facebook and Twitter.
Telegrams first gave way to the telephone which were then made obsolete by smartphones.
Everything around us is evolving and so is customer service.
Most businesses today have three or four channels of communication that allows customers to reach to them via phone, email, live chat and so on.
But instead of waiting for problems to appear and then go about solving them, why not anticipate customer demands in advance?
Here are a few ways to help your company transform to that way of thinking.
1. Look for problems to solve rather than products to sell
The product you have is relevant as long as the problem exists. When Alexander Graham Bell, the founder of telephone, approached Western Union the leading telegram company back then they couldn’t fathom the use of the device and rejected the offer. A few years later, the telegram wasn’t relevant anymore as everyone switched to the telephone. The new technology had made the old irrelevant and obsolete.
Graham didn’t wait for customer feedback to arrive at a revolution. He fixed the problem of inconvenience that plagued traditional modes of communication.
And that’s something you can do no matter how small or big your business is.
When Carmine Gallo stayed at the five-star rated hotel Grand Del Mer it wasn’t the beds and bath that made him pay attention. It was the customer service.
From placing water bottles in their cars for a hot day to arranging toys for his kids to play with to arranging courtesy cars all without being asked to the hotel staff won his heart over.
The staff was trained to look for cues and signals that meant the guest needed something. And through practice they nailed it.
2. Pay attention and mine the future demand from the next needs of current customers.
When Amazon first began life in a lackluster one-room office, it was an online bookstore that shipped books to one or two customers in the entire nation. As success began to snowball, the bookstore added many more things to their shelves including dog food, fishing supplies, and home products. Recently, the e-commerce giant crossed 1 trillion in market cap and the founder is the richest person in the world.
The mantra is simple. Once you’re successful with your existing line of products, you expand to more customers, more product lines. Somewhere during shipping books, Bezos realized his customer base would also love other things being shipped to them.
Innovate ways to include other products and solutions in the catalog. You might want to hone into what your customers are doing and find a niche where you might serve new customers.
3. Offer interactive options
Know what separates Sephora, a company retailing facial products for women from the rest? They have an interactive makeup assistant that lets customers zero in on one make-up shade. It’s virtually applying makeup that’s as close to the real deal as one can get.
Sometimes customers want to try on things before purchase. How can you let customers do this?
4. Give customers an easy way to share their ideas
Your customers are your greatest source of inspiration. By listening to them you’re holding the key to alleviating their pain points and holding the key to solving problems.
When you create open communication channels you’re opening up ways to capture their thoughts.
Take to forums where your customers hang out and read their comments on blog posts.
Talk to front facing customer support agents and dive into excerpts from phone and chat conversations.
By capturing the customer’s voice you’ll be able to offer better services and offer a new range of products that are better suited to rising demands.
As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with tools and resources for online integration. However, despite a number of options at your fingertips, many of these online tools have limitations.
Some online self-service options provide FAQ resources and allow customers to conduct searches, but then take them to external sites to uncover the answers. Others allow customers to ask questions or request information, only to have to wait several days or weeks for a response.
Enter the cloud call center and all-in-one online integration services, which can provide unmatched satisfaction to customers looking to get answers to some of their burning questions in order to enjoy your product and/or service.
Here are several benefits of adopting self-service options in your business.
Why Utilize the Cloud?
The cloud is a centralized hub where your business can integrate several self-service tools for customers. These options include call center and chatbot tools, which help provide:
Quick and accurate responses to customers
Up-to-date, personalized call center integration based on your company’s niche
Text and chatbot replies via desktop and mobile apps
Escalation to call center agents for immediate answers
The beauty of relying on cloud integration tools is that your company is always online. Even if you don’t have live agents waiting to answers questions 24/7, online tools allow your customers to get answers to questions instantly.
Live chat and chatbots, as well as other similar tools, provide instant gratification to customers. Indeed, these options give customers the information they need when they need it. With this technology in place, there’s no need to sit on hold for 45 minutes, only to get sent back to the original customer service agent. Online chat helps customers find what they’re looking for, by providing answers to commonly asked questions that they may otherwise not have the means to receive.
Incident Ticket System
The adoption of online, self-service tools also allows companies to escalate up the proverbial food chain. Integration of ITS, or incident ticket systems, enables customers to raise a complaint or question that reaches the right department. With such technology in place, customers can come to appreciate the fact that issues aren’t lingering for days at a time. Ultimately, such integrative systems allow businesses to reply to issues in a more timely fashion.
Tech Support and Knowledge-Based Tools
Tech support is yet another self-service tool customers appreciate. These tools allow customers to see common answers to online FAQs without having to contact a customer service agent via phone. Knowledge bases are centralized libraries that provide customers answers to common-knowledge questions/information.
Customers can also utilize the tech support feature to send questions to the appropriate agent. Emails are typically replied to in 24-48-hours, depending on team availability. These tools provide customers another alternative to have their questions answered and learn information about a complex product/service offered by various online companies.
Why Integration Matters
Today, everything revolves around getting things done quickly — and online, if possible. Customers want instant gratification, and with the all-in-one, online integration tools, companies can seize this opportunity. It’s essential, however, to utilize proper self-service tools. If customers keep getting tossed around to different departments in a roundabout manner, it can make matters worse for companies. Therefore, adequate integration, implementation, and planning are crucial to choosing the right self-service tools.
Integrating the right platforms can do wonders for a company’s reputation and ROI. Moreover, the proper self-service tools will keep your customers happy, without creating a floodgate or delays in responding to customer inquiries.
American Express reported that, according to research, Americans will tell 15 people about their bad brand experiences but only 11 people about their good ones. To someone who sees this as generic data, the implication is that a customer would propagate a poor experience to approximately 40% more people than a good experience. This confirms the psychological phenomenon that negativity garners more lasting responses than positivity.
These are the facts that led brands to become more conscious about their customer support practices. That said, in trying to revamp their policies many brands lean into myths that make no business sense nor bring any customer satisfaction:
1. The Great Myth: The Customer is Always Right.
This is thought to have been perpetuated by sales gurus and trainers. In reality, the rule is a bit too archaic to be followed today. It originated to make production-intensive businesses pay closer attention to customer complaints and improve their products. But today’s brands and businesses are already building solutions around customers; therefore, the assumption that the customer will always be right is too utopian.
Businesses need to see that customers are subconsciously prone to self-serving biases. Under a self-serving bias, individuals only look at things using their preconceived perception that their beliefs are correct and everyone else’s are not. This may be the case when customers contact brands with complaints. As a result, brands need to display an objective view when interacting with customers. They can do this by:
a. Focusing on Transparent and Honest Communication. This helps in building trust. Regardless of the problem, the brand needs to be honest. You would be surprised to know how many customer service executives don’t follow these practices. It can be as small as promising the time required to work on the customer complaint or about accepting a bug in the process. A customer is more likely to agree to wait an additional day for resolution than dealing with false promises.
b. Always Keep the Customer in the Loop. This follows the above principle. A customer would prefer to know their stage of complaint resolution than wait for the final resolution to magically show up.
c. Maintain Customer Data and Run Analytics. Brands should maintain customer data and analyze it with every interaction. Several insights can be ascertained, like trends in customer complaints, geographic trends and time differences between product purchases and initial complaints.
2. More training for customer care executives = More satisfied customers.
Sales coaches and marketing gurus want you to believe that training is the only way you can mold your customer executives into performing their jobs better. But think about it – this is also the only way that they can propagate their own business agenda. Even with good sales trainers, your employees can only be given a certain set of tools for handling customers. Your employees’ real mindset will depend on the degree of freedom they are provided when handling customers.
Top managers create procedures and directives for their employees to follow when handling customers, but the correlation of customer satisfaction is to the degree of empowerment your customer care teams are provided. You can use Chatbots to address routine customer queries and complaints. Here’s where your protocols and rules come in handy. When it comes to anomalous customer queries, employees can use live chat but will need a freer hand. This is where brand regulations won’t enter the picture. If you do not provide this, you will see impediments:
a. On the customer end, as the customer executives will need to get repeated supervisor permission leading to longer waiting periods for already-agitated customers; and/or,
b. With managers, who will get dragged into daily operations and menial tasks rather than making more-efficient processes.
An empirical study published for banks showed that when employees were given more structural and psychological power they had a direct positive effect on customer satisfaction. Employees are empowered by:
a. Providing them with an achievement vs. designation-oriented work culture.
b. Giving them contingent decision-making powers.
c. Linking incentives to customer satisfaction levels.
3. The customer is the centerpiece of customer service.
This is a key point for both established and upcoming brands. Top management often tries to establish the right procedures, protocols, and strategies to keep the customer at the center of the business without showing the desired results. They miss out on the key part of the puzzle – their internal customers, i.e. their very own employees. As the CEO/Manager of your company, you try your best to ensure customer centricity but the foundational work is performed by your employees. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are taking care of your employees. Then they will automatically take care of your customers.
A scholarly study published by Hallym University (Korea) and California State University – Sacramento (USA) proved a direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction. Businesses need to focus on their employees, so their employees can focus on their customers. A further study by Gallup showed that satisfied employees lead to:
These results are evident following the leadership principle, stated by Simon Sinek – employees will go beyond their call of duty when they know that their managers will do the same for them, if required. Employees are enthusiastic to go beyond their basic job description because they know that they have the complete support of their brand and top management.
4. No complaints = Happy customers.
A decrease in customer complaints may not be a positive sign. Many customers don’t have time or opportunity to express their discomfort with a brand, so many customers may simply choose not to complain. This is possible when:
a. The switching costs are negligible. It will motivate them to simply change service providers instead of talking to customer executives.
b. The complaint filing process is arduous and time-consuming.
c. Word-of-mouth has shown that the brand is unresponsive in solving customer queries. In this case, the business will need to pay for its past mistakes.
Brands need to be proactive when communicating with customers and asking for feedback. Management can gauge a customer’s perception of the brand and uncover insights that might otherwise go unnoticed. Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, personally reached out to customers during the initial days of its operations. One customer gave Chesky an entire book of ideas on how to add more features to the app, which helped uncover various nuances seen only from a customer’s perspective. By not proactively reaching out to customers, brands are missing out on important customer insight and feedback.
Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI.
For ecommerce websites, the essential thing is to attract as much relevant traffic as possible. Of course, you need to have a well-designed website, offer quality products, add various incentives, discounts, content, etc. but all of these things are easy compared to driving quality traffic.
On top of that, all of these things won’t matter if there are no interested people visiting your site and seeing what products and discounts you are offering. This is why we have created this list of 6 things that can help you drive traffic that has interest in what your ecommerce store has to offer.
1. Competitiveness in products and prices
When running an ecommerce store, chances are that you will have a few competitors. The nature of this kind of business allows many entrepreneurs to start something on their own and the market is fairly saturated. On top of that, you are competing with everyone on the Internet. This is why you need to be competitive with your products and prices.
Look to deliver similar or better quality products at similar or lower prices. You can use competitive pricing analysis software to boost profits by quickly learning more about your competitors, their products, and their prices and adjust yours to provide better offers to your customers and increase sales.
2. Social media presence
Social media has become a vital part of any business online. These platforms are perfect settings for promoting your store and products while attracting more website visitors. By building your audiences on social media and engaging them, you will have the potential to build a strong presence that will be noticed.
Share updates about your store, new products, discounts, special services, and get the word out about your store. This is how more people will learn about your business and potentially buy something from you. Additionally, you can create ad campaigns on networks such as Facebook and reach wider audiences with a small investment.
3. Work on SEO
Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing your website in various ways to increase your search results page rankings. With a good SEO strategy for your website, you can rank for good keywords that people interested in what you have to offer search, which will lead them to your website.
SEO is the best practice for increasing organic traffic, and organic traffic carries the most value. Although SEO takes a lot of time to rank your site high in searches, once you get there it can sustain your business for a long time without having to invest in any other form of marketing. Learn about B2B SEO tips, tricks and tools, and do this on your own, step by step.
4. PPC (Pay Per Click)
PPC ads are those sponsored search results you see when you look for something using your search engine. PPC is a paid marketing method where you can instantly climb to the top of the search rankings for certain keywords while ignoring your current SEO quality. PPC ads can also be video ads on sites, banner ads, social media ads, and so on.
These campaigns are set up very quickly and can instantly bring you lots of valuable traffic if done properly. It can be used to boost sales when you need it the most and get some long-term customers. However, it can cost a lot and backfire if done badly.
5. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
A CRM solution can help you gain valuable information about all of your online customers and manage relationships with them effectively. This is very important in modern business, especially in ecommerce where you need to provide great customer experience to be competitive, as explained in this article.
A CRM solution allows you to monitor all customer communications through all channels and always be there to respond to them, store information about them, analyze this information to improve marketing and sales and create better customer relationships overall.
In the online world, where there is no face-to-face communication, you need to care about your customers and tend to their needs.
6. Branding tactics
Since the competition is fierce in ecommerce, it can be difficult to attract customers. To swim out of the sea of similar stores, you need to brand your business and offer something unique. You need to build trust around your brand and let everyone know you are serious.
This includes creating your own brand voice, sharing your story, creating branded content, implementing designs that represent your brand, and reward your customers for taking actions on your website. This is how people will remember your store and come back to it again, as well as recommending it to their friends.
Work on all of these things simultaneously to boost your traffic or prioritize them one by one to make the most out of these options.
Companies are always looking for new ways to streamline their customer support department efforts. This doesn’t strike us as a surprise. Markets worldwide are becoming more volatile and saturated as we speak, and providing excellent customer support is important for business success.
In order to keep customers returning and keep that competitive edge, businesses have to use the latest software to deliver profound care. What tools are those? Stay with us, as we go through a list of 7 tools for providing better customer service support.
Live Support Chat
Live support chat tool provides amazing opportunities for your customer support agents. Integrating it to your official website is simple, and, moreover, it is easy to use. Other than that, the integration empowers your agents to handle multiple customers at the same time, engage them when they arrive at your website while providing further assistance, and add more to that delightful shopping experience.
Besides these, a live support chat tool comes with other functionality, too. For instance, your senior agents can oversee and be of assistance to their younger peers. You can also track and record conversations to identify trends and tailor your approach to customers accordingly.
In the end, you can compile a list of commonly asked questions and publish a FAQ on your website as an ultimate ticket deflection solution.
We live in a “Google It” era. The chances are that your customers are going to search for a solution online before they decide to directly contact you. Fortunately, you can seize this opportunity by publishing your online self-service help-desk. Thanks to the help desk software, you will be able to do it without any previous technical knowledge.
With a search feature, your new self-service help desk will enable your customers to look for solutions wherever they are. Since it is a part of your website, all your help documentation will be indexed by search engines, thus increasing your chances of showing up in the search results of your competitor’s audience.
Automatic Callback Phone System
Some customers still prefer using the phone over the other digital methods at their disposal. You have to make sure that your call center works towards providing a delightful customer experience at all times. Besides, there is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being on hold for a long period of time just to get disconnected.
The automatic callback system will help you to bring your service system to another level. After the customer leaves their phone number, the system remembers their place in queue and automatically calls them back when the first support agent becomes available. By doing so, you will set your customers free from waiting in queues with a phone stuck to their heads.
Dedicated Mobile App
A dedicated mobile app is a great way to connect with your customers. When it comes to mobile apps you should know that there are no limits. You can embed your online shop in them, as well as a ticketing system, customer support agent call and chat functionality. Basically, you can make a window to any of your services via a mobile app.
Customers will love it. In fact, 75% of customers rely on the Internet and their smartphones when they shop. Additionally, 50% of these customers prefer to use a mobile customer service app before any other means at their disposal.
One word of advice, make sure to outsource your mobile app development to an established and renowned firm. You don’t want to end up providing support for a mobile app as well – you need it to work perfectly on as many devices as possible.
Email Marketing Tool
Now, you might think: “Why would I need an email marketing tool for the customer support department?” Well, some customers still favor using email communication above anything else. And if you receive a lot of support requests and/or direct inquiries via this channel, it might be a good idea to use an email marketing tool.
This tool will help you by allowing you to automate the responses to the emails you’ve received. You can schedule this response, make your own conditions that will trigger auto emails, and so on. For instance, you can inform your customers in distress that you have received their email and that you will get back to them as soon as possible.
Remember, keeping customers in the information loop is pivotal for any business. This is especially true in case of those customers who are on the brink of getting frustrated.
Social Media Management Tool
Today, businesses also have to nurture their online audience. With the popularity of social media platforms, this has become even more important. One bad experience can cost you a lot if the word spreads out on these mediums. But how to track and know what is going on, in a place as crowded as social media platforms?
In order to take control of social media networks and leverage their popularity, you have to consider using social media management tool. This tool will help you to streamline your communication on social media, help you to provide answers to everyone, and track and record every interaction.
Customer Support Ticketing Tool
When the number of tickets spikes, you need all the help you can muster. If you are not using a customer support ticketing tool already, you have to at least consider it. Why? Because it makes ticket management simple.
With the help of this tool, you can interact with customers across multiple channels. This includes live chat, email, phone, and others. Your managers can also assign agents their tickets quickly whenever it is necessary. Some of these tools also come with automated features to help you remove redundant and time-consuming tasks from the picture for your agents.
Thanks to technological and software solutions, we have access to these 7 tools to help us streamline and improve customer support service efforts. The increasing number of communication channels demands organizations to diversify their customer support efforts in order to meet the new demands and expectations of the modern consumers.
About the Author Jared is a customer-support ninja and a marketing evangelist working with ProProfs.com for more than 5 years. After wearing many hats as a sales specialist, a content marketer and a brief stint as project manager; Jared found customer support to be the passion-fueled calling while working with ProProfs Chat. Being an avid book lover, he regularly visits the library and is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking live chat assistance for a delightful experience.