May 19, 2020

You can't lead the consumer; you have to let them lead you

Ben Cooper
4 min
You can't lead the consumer; you have to let them lead you

Consumers are setting their own purchasing rules. The rigid and linear processes that once dominated the path to conversion are now outdated and redundant. Shoppers adopt leading edge technologies as fast as they’re released.  Peer reviews, easy-to-access manufacturer information, and multichannel shopping are empowering them to reach their final decision anywhere, anytime.

Marketers can no longer predict a shopper’s purchase journey and brands must work hard to understand the varied needs of the modern-day consumer to stay relevant and connected. The brands that are winning are doing so by a considerable amount, while others are struggling to keep up in an increasingly competitive environment. It is important for companies to identify audience behaviour of iterative browsing, discovery, and considering, and build lasting, valuable relationships that influence short-term and future purchasing decisions.

Yet with so many competitors vying for the attention of the increasingly distracted consumer, how can brands cut through the noise and ensure their message is heard – and remembered?

Understand the audience to target efficiently

It is important for businesses to identify the most impactful touchpoints in the shopper journey so they can better understand their target audience and respond appropriately. By using attribution to accurately analyse buyer activity, brands can uncover their audience’s preferences and behaviours, and ensure the right consumer is targeted at the right time.

Access to valuable insight can help ascertain the buying habits of today’s complex consumer. Apparel shoppers, for example, are more likely to continue shopping after finding the item they are looking for, with just 29 percent immediately proceeding to the checkout – compared to 41 percent of average shoppers. Armed with this knowledge, retailers can suggest further relevant items at the optimum moment in the purchase journey, or risk missing out on additional sales. Offering shoppers the chance to purchase complementary products, carefully chosen according to their individual needs, interests and even previous purchasing behaviour, will ensure they feel valued and encourage further interaction with the brand.

By forging these emotional relationships with consumers, brands can unlock the true value of a shopping basket and the lifetime value of a customer. For example, a shopper who chooses a specific branded cooking pot on their wedding registry are likely to remain loyal to the brand for life – assuming they are happy with the initial product. The same can be true for all products, including consumer electronics, baby items, and personal care, so brands must consider the lasting effects of building a positive relationship.

Offline interaction cannot be neglected with 70 percent of consumers claiming that their offline sales are influenced by online research.  A high quality experience, encompassing both online and offline touchpoints, is vital for retailers to maximise the potential of these multichannel shoppers. Interactions need to be personalised in every aspect – whether that’s loyalty schemes or customer service – ensuring the shopping experience is seamless across channels, convenient, and enjoyable to repeat.

Tell a story to engage consumers

On average, consumers visit 2.7 websites each time they shop, so it is paramount a brand is noticed above its competitors across multiple retailer sites, not just one. Marketers must tell a consistent and compelling story across different channels and websites to pique and maintain interest, and lead consumers towards conversion.

While direct manufacturer websites are fundamental in establishing a brand story and displaying trusted product information, uncompetitive prices often prevent consumers purchasing directly from the site.

For example, a consumer researching a vacuum cleaner may initially visit a brand website to ascertain product specifications, but then shop around for the best deal. It is less likely that they will actually make a purchase directly with the manufacturer, however the website still plays a vital role in their purchase journey. Brands must be mindful of allocating marketing budgets effectively across multiple retailers to create consistent messaging where there are genuine opportunities for purchase, rather than diverting too much spend to their own website where sales will be limited. 

Be seen

To attain the elusive goal of being ever-present, brands must be visible in the space where their consumers are browsing. With 73 percent of shoppers preferring to ‘showroom’ – view products in store and then purchase online – becoming digitally minded is now a necessity, even for those retailers whose speciality is in-store service.

Additionally, more than half of consumers use their mobile phones in-store, whether to check prices or reviews, or get further product details. By having a digital strategy that allows brands to connect with consumers when they’re seeking information, whenever or wherever that is, marketers can create an enhanced and seamless experience for shoppers.

Consumer behaviour dictates the path to purchase, and brands must listen and respond accordingly. Full attribution and data analysis allows marketers to join the dots between on and offline touchpoints, and gain a better overall picture of the purchase journey. By allowing consumers to lead the way and providing the personalised shopping experience they desire, brands can ultimately increase engagement and drive sales, now and in the future.

The author: Ben Cooper is Managing Director, Europe at HookLogic

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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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