In this article, you'll learn...
- What type of interactions customers like and dislike
- Four customer interaction do's and don'ts
As marketers, we invest time and dollars to get the attention of our target audience. We launch campaigns and measure results. We craft messaging and position our offerings for strategic advantage. Why, despite all those efforts, are our customers still just not that into our brands?
We at Pitney Bowes asked 6,000 consumers across France, Germany, the UK, and the US that very question. The findings are important because a few larger marketing trends amplify the consequences of effective vs. ineffective customer communications.
First, the consumer trends:
- Access to information: Global, social, and local information is at each consumer's fingertips, and consumers seek out the best information faster than ever before.
- Brand transparency: consumers can check the authenticity of a brand promise faster than it takes a 60-second spot to air during the Super Bowl.
- Cross-channel sophistication: consumers seamlessly fly between marketing channels to swiftly explore, shop, transact, or simply educate themselves.
Second, the marketing trends:
- The days of lobbing one-sided campaigns at a target are gone. Today, interactions between brands and customers are two-way real-time conversations.
- Customers have preferences. Marketers must use each customer's preferred channel to conduct a conversation.
- Segment marketing has been replaced by one-to-one marketing (the dialogue goes to the consumer, then back to the brand, etc.).
- Brands are sitting on boatloads of data about their consumers and prospects. By making each communication relevant, brands will draw consumers closer with each interaction.
- Brands can share intelligence across channels. Conversations in the call center should inform Web interactions and even in-store conversations (and vice versa). We have the technology today to achieve cross-channel recognition and relevance.
Our survey indicated which marketing activities draw consumers closer to a brand, and which ones act as repellants. The report is titled "Why Your Customers Are Just Not That Into You" (PDF).
Consumers are clear about what they want from their business interactions, yet many of the techniques and initiatives being deployed are simply not having the intended effect. Worse, inappropriate communications often shrink a brand's pool of available prospects and customers because targets opt out of the brand conversation altogether.
Customer satisfaction surveys are deemed perfectly acceptable by 75% of survey respondents. That presents a good opportunity for brands to get to know their customers. With the insight gained from such surveys, brands can create a personalized or customized experience for each customer based on her preferences—a practice the majority of survey respondents deemed acceptable.
By identifying a customer's desires and concerns more accurately, marketers greatly reduce the number of off-target communications and save substantial marketing dollars.