The way that retailers and brands communicate with customers has changed radically over the past decade, and it is clearly set to continue to evolve through the 2020s. Customers are spread over a variety of channels, each with their own unique benefits. Retailers must navigate this complex environment to maximise their outreach, and carefully consider how to get the most out of each channel. Here are three essential elements for creating the optimal customer contact strategy.
Don’t forget SMS
While some retailers have tossed SMS aside as an outdated form of communication, it has several significant benefits and still forms a critical part of many brands’ customer contact strategies. Its ubiquity and convenience make it an effective way of reaching the maximum number of customers, and it is particularly effective when used in combination with other channels.
SMS has a very impressive 98 percent open rate – compared to email’s 22 percent – and the likelihood of a customer clicking through on a text message is ten times greater than on an email.
These properties make SMS the perfect tool for promoting events and exclusive, limited time offers since the customer has the greatest chance of being notified in a timely manner. The high click-through rate is also an effective means of directing customers to the brand website or app, both of which offer a richer, more personalised experience with more opportunity for tracking.
Using multi-channel marketing selectively
Keeping track of communications as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign relies on effective management. As the name suggests, multi-channel marketing attempts to create a unified experience across mail, mobile, website, and social platforms, as well as in-store.
Companies begin by poring over their data and segmenting it to identify the right prospects to reach out to. This allows the company to focus their resources on their most lucrative, loyal customers, and offer them personalised, relevant offers and other forms of marketing communication.
Multi-channel shouldn’t be misinterpreted to mean bombarding customers with messaging across every channel simultaneously. Rather, good communication is all about leveraging the strengths of each channel, reaching out to customers where they are most comfortable and gradually building an effective balance. A clear understanding of what each channel brings to the table is critical to building a coherent strategy. Marketers must understand where each channel fits in creating a seamless experience – to do so, they must focus on the macro instead of looking at each channel individually.
Working out which channels work best and what tone works best on each channel is a process of trial and error, but companies which can communicate effectively will be well placed to reap the rewards. Some companies even dedicate a customer experience team whose responsibility it is to manage specific channels, such as social, mobile, and mail.
Focus on specific metrics
Marketers should begin by asking themselves what they hope to achieve before they begin collecting any data; how will they measure success? What are the overall business objectives – and therefore what are the KPIs that reflect progress towards that objective?
Once the end goal is established, it’s possible to work back and develop specific tactics to achieve those goals. For example, if you’re running a campaign to drive traffic and goal completions to your website via gender-based URLs in an SMS campaign, increased CTR is the key metric.
Maintain focus on improving CTR and this will push towards the larger objective.
Creating a positive customer experience
When it comes to maximising your customer contact strategy, companies should consider the best way to use all of the channels they have available. Certain channels will be best suited to specific age ranges or types of customers, while others – such as SMS – offer benefits across all groups. Use data to fine-tune your operation and ensure that you’re pursuing the right KPIs.
Ultimately, a good customer contact strategy is about maximising the customer experience to build a positive relationship that keeps the customers happy and coming back for more.
By Lorenzo Vasini, chief growth officer at Celerity