The unhappy customer: unless you’re just starting out, chances are you’ve encountered a few. They’re vocal, influential, and can do real damage to your bottom line. In fact, in 2013 Accenture reported that in the United States alone, $1.3 trillion in revenue is lost by companies whose dissatisfied customers go searching for greener pastures.
As online commerce continues to grow, both the importance and challenge of keeping customers happy has increased. Despite never having met them, we’re expected to anticipate the evolving needs of our online customers, heading off possible problems before they arise. It’s a big challenge.
Thankfully, through the gathering and analysis of customer data, today’s companies are getting to know their online customers better than ever. But, as with any innovation, these data-driven customer relationships come with their own pitfalls—some of which can actually make things worse between you and your customers. Just like answering your phone at the theater, these are the new social missteps. Here’s how to avoid three of the worst.
Doing the bare minimum. Customer segmentation can be a tricky business if you’re not gathering enough data. Imagine estimating customers’ income brackets by their taste in movies, for example. By not getting to know your customers well enough you run the risk of repeatedly sending them marketing that they have no interest in.
The result? Your customers may feel as if you don’t know them at all, and you’ve inadvertently “spammed” their inboxes. Make use of tools like Insights to go beyond segmentation and get to know your customers on a truly personal level.
Treating new customers as strangers. Just because someone is new doesn’t mean they should be treated differently. Just as any good on-site sales representative would do, begin listening to your customers the second they walk through your virtual doors. They may not have an account with you yet, but the clicks, searches, and hovers of new visitors can prove just as valuable as the shopping histories of your most loyal customers. Customer profiles don’t have to start with a purchase (or even a name), just data.
The key to not offending here is balance. Let customers shop at their leisure, but if you’ve got a sale on items related to something they searched your site for, let them know. In welcoming the new and old alike, you’ll be sowing the seeds of stronger customer relationships.
Improving sales without improving relationships. Getting to know your customers’ likes and dislikes is an important aspect of retaining their business. Equally important, however, is the sort of relationship you foster with that knowledge. For instance, marketing that begins with “dear customer” tends to rub people the wrong way.
If customers are to accept that your company is storing their shopping data, they need to know that you’re doing it to improve their experience, not just the bottom line. When you reach out, look for ways to add value to each customer’s journey, and make sure you’re striking the right tone with tools like A/B testing and social listening.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interacting with today’s customers, but Microsoft Dynamics is ready to help you navigate this ever-evolving landscape with ease. That’s why we’ve created a suite of social engagement tools. And if you’d like more information on handling using social to listen to customers, as well as close leads, download our e-book, Social is for Closers.