Business development · 20 March 2020

Maximise your customer contact strategy

Contacting your customers is a delicate balance: too frequently or clumsily and they’ll unsubscribe, but too infrequently and you’re missing out on valuable brand-building opportunities and sales to happy repeat customers.

This balance has changed and evolved over the past decade, it has been largely impacted by the implementation of the GDPR, and it will continue to change throughout the 2020s.

Here are three elements your business should consider creating the ideal customer contact strategy. 

1. Use data to optimise your approach

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The first step to undertaking any successful project is to consider what goals you want to achieve, and this should be equally true of your customer contact strategy. What do you hope to do with the data you gather? How will you define success? How do the KPIs of your customer contact project tie into your company’s overarching objectives?

Working backwards from the desired results, it should be clear what steps you need to take to get there. If, for instance, you’re trying to increase sales on your website using a segment-based SMS campaign, you’ll need to measure CTR and conversion source.

Focusing the campaign on a particular KPI – for example, increasing CTR – should guide any further decisions you make. In the case of CTR,  testing different messages among demographics would be a must. 

2. Don’t neglect SMS

SMS isn’t the newest or sleekest technology – in fact, it has been largely disregarded by many retailers because it seems old fashioned – but it remains one of the most effective tools in the customer contact toolkit. The ubiquity and convenience of a text message allow it to reach a much larger audience than social media. The availability of smartphones also means that SMS can combine easily with other channels by including links to websites or apps which are more effective at gathering user data. 

SMS still has a 98% open rate, which is incredible when you consider that emails is just 22%. It also has a great CTR of 19% compared to email’s mere 3%.

SMS is best suited to promoting short-notice or time-limited events or sales since these messages are the most likely to reach the customer before the event has ended. 

3. Be sparing with your multi-channel approach

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Multi-channel marketing necessarily means juggling a number of communications simultaneously, but creating a unified message through mail, mobile, social, and in-store is no simple task. Companies which do this effectively begin by considering all of their data and using it to get a better picture of their customers. 

Breaking these customers down into segments lets you identify the right prospects for a given deal, and lets the company focus its efforts on the most lucrative, loyal customers. Their experience with the brand should be seamless across platforms, and they should see personalised, relevant offers regardless of which platform they prefer. 

The most frequent mistake companies make when trying to implement multi-channel is overdoing it. Multi-channel doesn’t mean all channels all the time, but rather the right channel for the right task. Building this balance will take time, but it’s better to start slow than risk pushing customers to unsubscribe. Some companies have found it worthwhile to create a dedicated customer experience team to oversee communication across channels.  

Contact should improve the customer experience

Ultimately, any time a brand contacts a customer is an opportunity to establish the brand identity and build affinity. A well-targeted communication can be the foundation for a sale, while a poorly targeted one can irritate customers. 

Each channel has a unique tone of voice, and an email, tweet, and SMS message should each be tailored to their respective platform. Determining how to maximise the value of each channel – and how to effectively use them in combination – takes time, but brands which invest in learning will reap the rewards.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Jason Lark is the Managing Director of Celerity, a data, marketing, and technology consultancy. He co-founded Celerity in 2002, as he envisaged how data and marketing communications would lead businesses of the future. After taking on their very first client, Nectar, Celerity quickly became a multi-award winning agency and system integrator with offices around the world including in the UK, USA and Spain. Jason continues to lead the company’s vision, strategy and operational performance.

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