Three steps to keep your customers coming back for more
Digital technologies have made it easier than ever for marketers to demonstrate the return on investment from their initiatives – making them much more accountable as a result. In this climate, it’s natural for businesses to want the biggest bang for their marketing buck.
It’s therefore surprising to see so few businesses consider what happens after a customer converts, or strive to understand what the customer’s journey has been to that point. In an age where it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, this has to be an oversight.
With this in mind, this article will look at the three steps businesses should take to provide an exceptional customer experience, and increase client retention and conversion as a result.
Step one - focus on the customer experience
One of the best ways to keep users coming back for more is to ensure that every aspect of their experience with a brand is of the highest standard possible. This might sound obvious, but many businesses still don’t place enough importance on what is known as the ‘customer experience’ (CX).
Advances in technology are central to this discussion and an increasing diversity of platforms has both made customer journeys more complex and afforded users ever-more choice in how and where they interact with organisations online.
Increased innovation has raised the bar too, as particularly forward-thinking competitors (within and outside their own sector) raise customer expectations even further. So, while the customer experience is now more important than ever, it has simultaneously become more difficult to manage.
Organisations can tackle this challenging landscape via activities such as customer experience mapping, ensuring that all digital platforms work together to meet the needs of the consumer and that the appropriate messages are delivered at the right time to achieve maximum impact. It’s also important of course that CX is continually reviewed and refined through usability testing and usability reviews, to ensure it remains on track for success.
Step two - simplify the customer experience
While digital technologies have introduced challenges to delivering exceptional customer experiences, they can of course also be used to support this.
For example, with a greater number of channels available, it becomes possible to make content more accessible – something which has become particularly important as users increasingly search for information on the move. Content can even be tailored according to different device capabilities and user motivations if using a Create Once, Publish Everywhere model.
Customers want a pain-free way to be able to access the information that they need, and websites with self-service capabilities can both improve the ease with which users can complete this task, and encourage them to engage more deeply with an organisation. It’s an approach that applies further than just e-commerce too. One Box UK client for example, TBC Bank, has given its customers better access to their financial information (and driven up adoption for mobile banking) by enabling them to analyse their finances in detail through sophisticated Personal Finance Management (PFM) applications.
Step three - personalise the customer experience
Alongside self-service tools, there are a number of other ‘delighters’ that businesses can introduce into their digital strategy to make sure the experience users have is one they’ll want to repeat.
Just as with traditional physical interactions, these often relate to the quality of service being delivered and encompass everything from the smallest microinteraction right through to the processes and strategies at the very heart of the organisation.
Once the basic functionality of a website is completed, web designers must focus on the elements that, when put together, help to enhance CX – reliability, usability, proficiency and finally, creativity.
Furthermore, if organisations take a structured approach to the collection, processing, storage and analysis of customer data, using this to personalise the content delivered, the relevance and impact of their business messaging will increase.
And when data is truly aligned with business goals, the reward is deep insight into individual user behaviour and profiles, which can be used to further develop the effectiveness of personalisation efforts.
Seamless, streamlined and special
Following the best practice highlighted above is a great way to get started with a customer retention strategy. However, the initiatives that make an audience stay and encourage them to keep coming back will always depend on the specific circumstances and requirements of each business. In today’s landscape of limitless choice and limited attention spans, businesses need to deliver a customer experience that’s seamless, streamlined and special in order to succeed – but the benefits that they stand to gain make it an approach that is worthy of pursuit.
Gavin Harris is Senior User Experience Consultant at Box UK
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”