The data you need to get a loyal customer

 
 

How much should you know about your clients to offer them an excellent service and relevant interactions? Since people are empowered and decide how they wish to interact with your company, define their buying behavior and use a mass of offline and especially online channels, to measure is to know in this multi-channel reality. For the web analysts amongst you: I know it is not enough to know and to measure. It's what you measure and why. In short: it's about data that you can translate into knowledge that leads to actions and result. But, again, what should you really measure and know?

Today's customer appears to be social. With this we mean amongst other that the client uses social media and appeals on the experiences and opinions of other people, even complete strangers like the so-called "influencers". People have not suddenly become more social. The most important reason why people start following companies on social media are promotions, discounts and benefits. Not the sacred virtue of being social.

Acquiring cross media data in the complex buying journey

The customer has become multi-channel. He searches for gift ideas on his smartphone, asks his friends for advice via Facebook or Twitter, phones someone who knows the person that the gift is intended for, compares products on the Internet, downloads a paper about it, looks for some suppliers via Google, consults his social circle to know which one is the "best", visits a shop, sees a banner where one of the suppliers offers a promotion on the desired product and orders via his iPad. Or something like that.

What do companies, like the suppliers in my example, do in such a situation? They ensure that they provide adequate information (content!), are easily reachable (namely in the "environments" that people use), enable people to provide reviews, work with community marketing, ensure a positive word-of-mouth through excellent service etc.

But probably the most important is that they acquire client details in a cross media way throughout the complex purchasing journey.

As long as it makes sense

Any data that you acquire over (future) clients have only one purpose: the gradual evolution of a first "connection" (also via social media) to a more personal dialogue whereby what you offer becomes increasingly relevant for the customers, has increasingly more value and brings them even closer to what you strive for.

With the abundance of channels and contact moments today's companies sit on mountains of data. What can you do with all of this data? You can use it to improve your marketing and provide your client with a personal and consistent (I repeat on behalf of importance: consistent) user experience throughout all interactions, contact moments, channels and whatever else. As long as it has a purpose and means something to you and your (future) client.

Does this mean that per definition you need masses of details to serve your client and acquire many new clients or send out extra messages? Double no! What you should know about your clients is determined by what clients want you to know about them. Sometimes you really do not need much more.

A nice example of how a few customer data can lead to customer loyalty

Here is a story. It is a story that I was told earlier this month by David Sable, the COO of direct marketing agency Wunderman. I love retelling it, feel free to do the same.

One day David was walking in a busy shopping street. In the showcase of a clothing store he saw a beautiful pair of pants. He really needed a pair but the pants were blue and David preferred them in grey. So he walked inside and asked if they also had a grey pair. The shop assistant said that they were unfortunately not in stock but that he would definitely keep a pair aside as soon as they were in stock. David wanted the pair of pants though. He liked the blue as well and especially liked the pants. "I am going to buy them" he decided. A quick measuring, some adjustments and everything was in order.

Two weeks later David received an e-mail from the shop: "Dear Mr Sable, the pants that you purchased are now also available in your favorite color, grey. If you wish I can come to your office and take care of the fitting" (as COO David is quite busy). David thanked them and declined the offer.

Approximately one month later David received another e-mail. "Dear Mr. Sable, at the moment we are offering a discount on the pants that you purchased. Would you like me to bring you a few to see if there are any that you like?" Once again David thanked them and declined.

He heard nothing more until about three months later. "Dear Mr. Sable, I know that you like blue and grey and that you like this and that type of pants and suits. I have compiled a collection for you for the season, based on your preferences. Would you like me to come around to show you?"

What did David do? He agreed and bought. Only because of the clothing? No. Because the timing and frequency of the communication was good and especially because the company anticipated David's needs because of what it knew about him.

Now, what did they really know? That he likes blue and grey. What size he wears. And some contact details.

From blue and grey to a loyal client. Sometimes that's all it takes.
Think about it.
 


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