Start paying attention to your individual customers


Companies have more data than they know what to do with. But very few leverage the information to improve customer experience and customer service. At South Africa’s leading consumer marketing analytical solutions provider, Effective Intelligence, we share our experience on how you can use customer data to delight your customers.

Imagine – not an unlikely scenario - you have a problem with your cellphone. You log onto the manufacturer’s website and type up your complaint. A few seconds after lodging your complaint, you receive an e-mail from the service department – understanding your problem and wanting a contact number so they can help you. They call you on the alternate number you provide and within two minutes, resolves your problem. Best of all, you skip the part where you carefully spell out your last name and physical address – and the operator doesn’t try and upsell you anything.

In reality, when we do receive calls from customer service departments, we are prepared to have an unpleasant experience with the operator. We have become accustomed to poor service, since our interactions with most companies are largely negative. We’re used to mispronunciations, language barriers, scripted, cold and inhumane interactions with a ‘real person’ voice on the other end of the receiver. What will make favourable exchanges possible is companies having the right information about customers, BEFORE picking up the phone. Use the data you have on them to build a relationships with them. Omni-Channel marketing and digital marketing strategies has got a lot of attention recently and nearly all posts and discussions relate to how to connect better with customers. It also identifies all the ways you can slice and dice the pie to connect to specific segments – only in terms of improved segmentation, smarter visualisation and other efficiency enhancers. These are all worthwhile goals, but using the data for personalisation from the customers’ perspective, has far more power.

Customers will interact and communicate with their favourite brands, not just passively absorb information you feed them through “channels”. Take their transactional data, web browsing data, subscription data etc – and you have a clear mandate from them. In order to drive personalisation and relevancy and authenticity – they must be well informed. Getting targeted information in front of the person dealing with the customer, or designing creative / campaigns/ artwork for one, is still a ludicrous concept to most marketers. When a customer engages with you, via web/ phone/ in-store – he is hoping for conversation but bracing for an ordeal. The customer knows you have information on them for your own purposes, so why not do something useful with it FOR THE CUSTOMER?

Where to start?

1.       Give your staff the right tools: Call Centre staff or on the ground Staff – in fact all client facing staff - should have access to information on customers they are dealing with in a matter of seconds. Despite your internal divisions. A customer doesn’t care about your divisions. And please take corporate, awkward and impersonal conversation out the way.

2.       Listen. Then respond appropriately and timeously. The fact that you can remember where the new cellphone needs to be delivered to, conveying just the right amount of information in their personal conversation with you, will delight your customers.

3.       Treat customers as individuals. You are in business because of your customer.

Starting this strategy doesn’t require a vastly expanded workforce or new software. To show your customers you care you need to really start paying attention. Start by listening to the voice of your customer. Effective Intelligence can assist you to deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.

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