May 19, 2020

Black Friday: how to turn a single day into lasting success

Black Friday
European retail industry
Black Friday marketing
4 min
Black Friday: how to turn a single day into lasting success

Black Friday has appeared in a blaze of glory in the UK, but after just a couple of years in the spotlight, businesses are starting to question its value. For high street stores, the logistics of planning for one chaotic day just aren’t worth it in order to sell items cheaply that people would have bought in their Christmas shopping anyway. And in the online sphere, a lack of preparation stops ecommerce businesses from really taking advantage of it.

There are two parts to Black Friday: the day itself and the aftermath. Problems arise when businesses focus too much on the first part, and not the second. Focusing only on the day leads to businesses putting on sales they can’t afford, struggling to deal with the customer service and PR ramifications, and limiting the success of the event to a one time sales spike.

If businesses were to pay just as much attention to the aftermath as they do to the day itself, they may be able to avoid some of the problems that have plagued the event in the UK. Considering Black Friday in the longer term context may even mean that some businesses decide it’s not for them, and if that’s the best decision for them, so be it.

It's particularly hard for smaller, independent retailers to see a real benefit from Black Friday. For many of them, it's disruptive to their retail pattern and forces them to sell things for lower prices than they can afford if they want to sell anything at all.

However, there are other businesses that can benefit from a well-planned campaign. Ecommerce and online service businesses have the tools at their disposal to turn new Black Friday visitors into longer term customers, allowing their business to grow in a meaningful way.

Andy Norton, director of SNAP Nutrition, has taken the right approach: “As a young business which sells entirely online, we're using it as an extra opportunity to introduce customers to our brand for the first time. Our plan this year will include special introductory prices as well as secret extra incentives for people to visit our website on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which we're going to reveal through social media over the next couple of weeks."

Andy is seeing Black Friday not just as a time to make a lot of sales, but as a time to engage with human customers. This shift in thinking from numbers to humans is essential if businesses are going to effectively plan for the aftermath of Black Friday. It encourages you to pay attention to the experience your customers are having throughout.

For online businesses, this means having a website that does what customers want it to do, even under the strains of Black Friday traffic. It also means making sure that customers’ orders get delivered on time, and you don’t make promises that you can’t keep. If customers have a bad experience with a Black Friday purchase, they may not come back.

These businesses can also make use of the extra data they can gather from a Black Friday campaign, perhaps even accumulating a list of emails from new customers who've taken advantage of the special deals.

The opportunity for data gathering is one of the main things that makes Black Friday more attractive to online businesses than to High Street shops. Even before Black Friday starts, you can be planning how you're going to use that data in ad campaigns and the like going forward. If customers have a good one-off experience on Black Friday and then see an email from you a couple of weeks before Christmas advertising another great gift idea, you may well be able to turn that one-off customer into a regular who'll hopefully keep coming back.

Taking part in Black Friday is by no means a magic formula for sales - the amount of businesses that are becoming disillusioned with the whole thing proves that. However, it can turn into a success if you take a broader view of how it fits into your plan for attracting and retaining new customers over the long term. There’s still time to think through how you can turn that one day into a marketing strategy that lasts for weeks and months to come, but you'll have to be quick!

Read the full series of white papers.

Written by Ben Garry at Impression.

Read the November 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.

There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.

There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.

In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.

Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.

So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?

Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney

While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.

For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.

For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.

Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.

It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.

How do companies support the new customer journey?

More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.

These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.

The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?

For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.

It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.

And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.

It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.

At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.

About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.

About Limitless
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.

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