Don’t Be Channel Obsessed. Be Customer Obsessed.

Customer obsession communication with customersFree-Photos / Pixabay

PPC. Social media. Content marketing. And, of course, SEO. With so much discussion about different marketing channels in 2020, it can be easy to lose yourself in all the unique ways to engage with your customers. Yet, all these digital opportunities come at a cost. With so many channels available, companies often struggle to decide which one returns the best investment, and end up spreading themselves too thin across many channels. Moreover, while focusing on one or two channels with great returns seems advisable, the constantly shifting demands of the market could upend your current strategy overnight. There’s nothing wrong with staying abreast of the changes in an ever-evolving market. To ensure you’re ready for whatever comes next, you have to learn to create customer obsession – and not channel-obsession.

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Global retail sales are expected to reach over $27 trillion in 2021. Despite such an immense volume, e-commerce retailers can’t simply expect customers to meet them halfway. A true obsession of customer satisfaction is what it takes to stand out and thrive. Here’s how.

The Personalization Key

Personalization was once considered a nice bonus on top of classic marketing methods. If a website could send a sales email with the customer’s name in the headline, it was almost considered black magic.

These basic techniques remain effective - personalized subject headlines have a 50% higher open rate than their generic counterparts. Personalization becomes even more powerful when you truly understand your customer and their buying habits.

Balancing personalization with privacy has been the main marketing challenge across industries for years now, particularly as data privacy scandals have rocked consumer confidence. According to a Salesforce report, a majority of customers are willing to provide data on their habits and buying information in exchange for personalized engagement. A full 64% of millennials and Gen Z are comfortable with this, particularly as personalized offers, sales, and other interactions take precedence across channels.

In personalization, being customer-obsessed requires a dual approach. Segmenting your marketing based on demographic factors upgrades your business approach by turning hesitant or one-time customers into repeat buyers and brand evangelists.

By being upfront and transparent about what data is being used, and how, you promote the image of your company’s responsibility and trustworthiness - a winning combination for consumers spending money on your site.

Customer Obsession Through Customer Care

Customer obsession is a subjective term. To many marketers, it means offering the best deals and sales strategies to the customers who want them most. What makes it an obsession is the desire to constantly iterate and develop these strategies across the lifetime of your business.

To make sure your customers actually feel valued, it’s important to look beyond marketing and optimize the department your visitors interact with most: that is, customer support. 76% of consumers believe a company’s customer service department is the ‘true test’ of how much they’re actually valued. In fact, personalization is just as essential here as it is in marketing and sales.

This doesn’t simply mean listening to customer complaints and queries and responding to them in a way that makes them feel heard and satisfied - although that is essential. A majority of customers - 52% - believe that companies need to implement customer feedback. This information comes primarily through your CS department; when you take these insights and apply them to the way you do business, customers take note. It’s here, where your customer obsession strategy prospers.

Brand Loyalty - The Fruits of Customer Obsession

Customer obsession is a quality over quantity approach. A massive, multi-channel marketing blitz can break through the noise and get your message in front of thousands. Perhaps you’ll even bring in new customers this way, but few will become the brand loyalists your company needs to thrive in the long-term.

Studies have shown that loyal customers - about 12% of overall buyers - generate between 55% to 70% of company sales. Even a modest increase in your total number of loyal customers can substantially increase sales. What’s more, these types of customers have lower price sensitivity, spend more, and are more likely to recommend your products and services to their friends and relatives.

Help your repeat buyers become brand loyalists by giving them the right tools - specifically, an effective customer loyalty program. These programs are a direct, overt way to show customers how much value they can get from your company.

The benefits of joining a loyalty program must be clear. 80% of loyalty program subscribers expect to receive special treatment, yet what these perks look like depends on the nature of your business. An across-the-board discount on purchases is one method of adding value to the program, but may only provide a fleeting sense of satisfaction.

Creating status tiers within a loyalty program impells customers to keep moving. A good discount can bring customers into the bronze tier of the loyalty program, but those feelings of anticipation and long-term gratification are what will keep them shopping, recommending, and engaging with your business on their way to the top tier of the program.

The one essential for being customer obsessed is to stay humble. You can only provide as much value to your customers as you’re able to give. Many companies, particularly those just starting out, don’t have the option to create a massive loyalty program, or may not have the necessary data yet to personalize every offer. That’s fine - as long as your customers know you’re working to do your best with the resources you have. Today’s customers will remain loyal so long as you remain obsessed.

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About the Author

Rohan Thambrahalli
Founder and President of UpstartWorks, Rohan Thambrahalli has made it his goal to develop a culture that embodies the builder who delivers best-in-class value to customers and partners. UpstartWorks is Rohan’s greatest personal and professional achievement, it was his vision from the beginning to start a company that could provide vendors the reach, technology, scale, and capabilities to compete with the best brands in the world.

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