By Jeanne Roué Taylor
In a recent post, 3 Reasons Loyalty Programs Aren’t Optional, I pointed out why loyalty programs are a critical part of customer engagement. A sudden surge in tablets and smartphones, the phenomena of Big Data, and the need for customer permission to avoid creepiness were reasons every brand needs to have a loyalty program.
But the reasons go even deeper than technology and privacy. In today’s climate of increasing choice, customer loyalty takes on many of the traditional aspects of customer service. By knowing your customer’s history, preferred channels of communication, current context and—most importantly—your service options, the chance of turning around a bad situation or delighting your customer are significantly improved (learn more in this whitepaper).
Sounds Good, But How?
Understanding your customer’s history, preferences and current context is the job of a loyalty platform for a loyalty program, but taking on the customer service opportunity requires the same knowledge of the customer. By studying customer responses with a test-and-learn approach, customer service based on customer loyalty data allows for segmentation and can be improved upon just like customer loyalty programs. It’s a win-win.
Customer service today is an opportunity to create customer loyalty in new ways and with far better results than in the past. And the best part? It is a by-product of having an excellent customer loyalty platform…and the tools are already available.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
How well do you know your customers? While most brands would say they know their ideal shopper, how many can break down their customer engagement into finely tuned segments based on analytics? Some can, but too many are still behind the curve when it comes to having the loyalty platform to gather data, visualize and discover patterns of people and behaviors, and respond with the right engagement at the right time. Having a high level of customer intimacy enables right-time marketing and it’s within reach of most businesses (learn about right-time marketing in this whitepaper). We’ve entered a data-rich age where there are fewer and fewer excuses for not knowing your customer crowd.
How to Know Your Crowd
For starters, every customer has unique attributes that we refer to as their characteristics. That set of information includes permanent things like gender and age, but also includes things like past history of interaction and purchases that paint a clearer picture than simple demographics. While age, gender, affluence, and other factors give us broad stroke indicators of buying propensity, finely tuned segmentation requires a richer set of information than traditional groupings.
The second aspect of knowing your crowd is tightly coupled to how your customers communicate with you, which we refer to as channel. These are the pathways of interaction preferred by your audience, and getting the channel right is the difference between having a seamless conversation and being intrusive. Brands that can’t listen and respond across the many, sometimes simultaneous, channels of today’s marketing can’t say they truly know their customer.
The third aspect of knowing your customer is having a context for each moment of interaction. Knowing whether a customer is currently in the act of shopping, at the time of purchase, or just in the information-gathering phase has a strong effect on what interactions are most appropriate and what the timing should be for engagement.
Characteristics, channel and context together are what define truly knowing your customer crowd. Without them, your ability to increase intimacy, gain loyalty, and increase total lifetime value are negatively impacted.
Watch the webinar on right time marketing and learn how to use characteristics, channel and context to determine the best time to market.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
If you happened to be at TUCON 2013, TIBCO’s user conference, you heard about Turning Customers into Fans from Head of Client Technical Services Wen Miao. In Miao’s words, “It is no longer acceptable to have only a transactional relationship with customers.” He’s absolutely correct. We are in an age where we can use our loyalty platform as the way to capture each and every engagement with our customers.
Here are three compelling reasons why loyalty programs are no longer an optional part of marketing:
1. Mobility – Consumers are on the move and accessing information about brands from traditional sources like stores and the Web, but also on laptops and tablets, sometimes from within physical locations. Keeping track of the use of multiple, even simultaneous interactions, are impossible without a platform that listens and knows the customers voice over any channel. The same goes for outbound engagement—brands need to instantly discern a customer’s preferences, the channel for communication, and the context for each moment of engagement.
2. Big Data – The amount, variety, and speed with which data moves in today’s marketplace are growing rapidly; but so have the tools and techniques to keep track of what’s happening. Some of that data is in systems of records as transactions and stock, and some is on the move, like geolocation. Brands require a platform that can keep track of historical information, inventory and sell-through, and what’s happening now in the customer’s ambient environment. This amount of data creates analytical treasure troves that can be used to better position offers, test and learn, and increase revenue and loyalty.
3. Permission – This may be coming last, but the permissioning aspect of a loyalty program is critical to avoid being creepy. Loyalty is more than a reward for spending—it is a customer raising their hand to be part of something more than just a purchase. Loyal customers are advocates as well and spread the good word about a brand. Lastly, loyal customers are forgiving of a brand’s faults and less likely to create “negative press.”
These three reasons for loyalty programs are in themselves enough to compel most brands to start down the path to customer loyalty marketing. This reminds me of the fourth reason for loyalty programs: Your competitor has or is about to launch one.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
Customer engagement involves having access to the information that allows right-time marketing to happen, based on interaction channel, context, and customer’s preferences. For some, this is the definition of Big Data’s role in creating brand loyalty, but what if the Big Data conversation wasn’t enough?
Going Beyond the Data Set
In a recent Venture Beat piece, TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn brought up a flaw in the discussion of Big Data. Quinn says that the way we talk about Big Data is an attempt to put a scope around it, or “compartmentalize it.” We do this because it’s what makes us feel comfortable in a world that has long been transactional. Comfort that doesn’t solve the problem eventually becomes discomfort when it becomes clear that something’s missing:
“That’s the reason we talk about data sets and batch jobs. It fits a paradigm we’re comfortable with, but at the same time, aren’t we missing something? Aren’t we failing to take into account all of the data being created everywhere, every day? The perceived value of different types of data today will grow exponentially in the future. Just because today certain types of data may not appear useful, valuable, or be too difficult to process—I can guarantee that your future self will see things differently.”
Going Beyond the Transaction
Quinn recommends thinking of the bigger picture by linking data together, allowing for broad analysis, and making that information available to anyone in the organization who needs it. In the marketing world, that sounds like the requirements for a loyalty platform that isn’t full of silos, isn’t only aware of transactions, and doesn’t only find answers through batch processing. A great loyalty marketing platform offers a unified way to see all data.