Web sites, email, mobile apps, mobile Web sites, social media, print, television… Organizations now interact with customers through a plethora of channels that will only further increase with technological innovation. Customers’ 24/7, anywhere, anytime interaction with your brand, organization or service needs to be relevant to truly engage.
Relevant customer experience now involves much more than just pushing out content to available channels. It requires an understanding of how customers use these channels, identifying where opportunities lie and optimizing the experience for each channel. How can companies accomplish this? How can companies avoid becoming "noise"? And how can they differentiate from their competition through a rich multichannel experience?
One of the biggest opportunities lies in the amount of customer data available. Each customer leaves a footprint, which comes together to form a rich profile of the individual -- including search behavior, clicks, location, time of day, preferences, sales behavior, profiles and social media interaction.
This profile information is now used by many organizations to target, profile and personalize content. Swedish telecom provider Telenor uses this data to present offers to the customer as well as payment plans ensuring both upsell opportunities and reliable payments. Amazon and Zappos present personalized offers based on real-time in-session data combined with existing customer profiles.
Employ content marketing best practices
The goal of content marketing is to really engage customers to drive conversion. The most effective content marketer uses visitor information to target customers through information-based brand recognition.
Providing rich content that engages customers to the extent that they interact with the brand can build tremendous brand loyalty. My Starbucks Idea allows customers to suggest ideas that are reviewed and implemented via a community site. This level of engagement in the brand is more than just loyalty, since it entails active participation.
Content marketing can also tap into growing trends in the customer base. KISSmetrics, an online analytics platform for Web sites and e-commerce platforms, engages Web site owners who want greater conversions by providing blog posts and pragmatic tips and tricks for improving their site. The advice is concrete and active, and quality of the content improves the image and identity of their brand.
Respect your customer
With the number of possible customer touchpoints constantly increasing, it has become easier for organizations to cross the line. For example, mobile devices are intensely personal. Organizations need to ensure that the tactics they employ with these kinds of devices do not intrude on this personal space. Not only should any SMS interaction or offer be relevant but in many cases, they should be the result of an accepted invitation rather than that unwanted, uninvited visitor.
This same respect also applies to email interaction and even to customer preferences. How many customers have been annoyed by their inability to influence suggested offers on online bookselling or retail sites? A single gift for someone with markedly different tastes can sometimes influence the suggested offers in an undesirable way. Instead, for this type of personalization, organizations should consider implementing functionality that allows the customer to specify their preferences. This will alleviate the annoyance and will also improve customer intelligence and content relevance.
As much as we are a global village in the speed of information, global information channels and in-the-moment social media updates, a relevant brand experience also respects culture. Global organizations face the unavoidable reality of multiple languages, local experience and local interpretations of messages.
Language, culture, consumption patterns, competition, socioeconomic characteristics and local device preferences can all have a huge impact on the relevance of the brand interaction with consumers. While a global campaign may provide common brand messaging and imagery (the vision of the brand), local sensitivity is required for a relevant experience.
This can be as simple as including representatives from multiple cultures within an image or as understanding the holiday and celebratory practices in a specific culture. In any case, it is clear that one message does not fit all -- and that local approaches are necessary to gain true cultural relevance.
With the multitude of channels available to consumers today, customer experience management is more complex than ever before. Customers are engaging with brands anywhere, anytime and through any device, which requires the right content, in the right place, at the right time. Providing a relevant customer experience requires using all the tools, knowledge and best practices in your communication arsenal.