May 19, 2020

How to make email an effective customer relations tool

Skip Fidura
email marketing
Skip Fidura, dotmailer
3 min
How to make email an effective customer relations tool

For consumers to spend money with you, they need to trust you and feel valued. One of the best marking channels that companies can use to engage with customers is email, but the inbox is a competitive environment.

Businesses need to fight for cut-through against the growing number of competitors also vying for attention, and the key to doing so is great content. That means every email needs to be engaging, personalised and directly relevant.

Doing this at scale, however, poses a difficult challenge for any business. When your customer database has tens or hundreds of thousands of names in it, knowing each of their individual preferences and targeting communications accordingly is simply impossible to do manually.

This is where technology comes in. By plugging automation technologies into intelligent ecommerce platforms like Magento, businesses can track customer behaviour to an extraordinarily sophisticated level. Using these insights, companies can then build audience segments based on their behaviours and preferences, as well as more basic demographic and geographical information.

It is an iterative process. While gathering all this insight enables businesses to initially build profiles of their customers, as engagement goes on brands will learn more and more about the customers organically. This ever-increasing depth of insight enables businesses to adapt, evolve and improve their targeting by building ever more sophisticated segments. This ensures that every email sent provides consumers with something that is of genuine value, reaching them with the right content at the right time.

It is not just ecommerce software that can help businesses build better relationships with customers though. The information stored in social media platforms is a goldmine of rich data, providing a view of education, brand likes, attitudes, opinions, affinities and behaviour. By combining social data with the brand’s own first party and added-value third party data, (such as household income), companies can attempt to build the most complete customer picture possible.

Apps are also a great source of data which businesses are increasingly plugging into their email marketing activities. Toning belt company Slendertone sought to gain a better understanding of how its customers were using its products, which led to the development of Connect Abs: a wearable device which feeds data into a motivational coaching app on the customer’s smartphone.

The brand’s challenge is that customers tend to hit a motivation wall at around three to four weeks, but it usually takes four to six weeks to start seeing and feeling the results. By utilising the dotmailer for Magento connector, Slendertone was able to harness the power of the data gathered via the Connect Abs platform to send users personalized emails based on their individual progress. This meant that Slendertone was able to communicate with customers at the exact moment their motivation needed a pickup, to help re-introduce them to their toning program. Using the Connect Abs information, and measuring re-engagement from the platform, the company has seen a 21 percent success rate in encouraging people to pick their belt back up and start toning again.

By paying attention to customers’ preferences and behaviours, as Slendertone has, companies can keep customers engaged throughout their journey with the brand. Indeed, Slendertone recently won ‘Best Use of Data’ at dotmailer’s inaugural ‘dotties’ awards for its work.

Technology is enabling brands like Slendertone to develop and deepen relationships with their customers, without the need for a huge team. When the technologies talk to each other and work in harmony, businesses can leverage data from apps and wearables to enhance channels like email – so they always send the right message at the right time. 

By Skip Fidura, Client Services Director at dotmailer

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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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