Over the past few weeks we’ve delved deeper into the different aspects you need to focus on to build better communications that truly revolve around the needs and expectations of your customers. In other words: As an organisation, how do you build customer centricity?
In this week’s blog it’s time for a small recap, as we take a look back on these different pillars on which customer centricity is built.
Outside-In versus Inside-Out Communications
Worldwide too many companies still believe that they know best when it comes to communications. They see the efficient use of resources and talent as the most important driver for shareholder value and base their decisions regarding communications on what's best for the company instead of taking the customer's needs into consideration. This is what’s called the Inside-Out approach.
On the other hand there are companies that include the client as a part of their decision making, as communications also involve customer interactions. They take the Outside-In approach. They believe that customer value is key to shareholder value and base their decisions on customer's needs and what's best for them, and not for the organisation. This works better. Listening to your customer’s needs and prioritising on customer consequences first instead of cost, results in a better customer experience, which in turn leads to growth and revenue.
As the worlds of marketing and transactional or servicecommunications are converging, a lot of marketers have come to realise that the finish line is not sealing the deal, but creating long term customer relationships. As a result, customer loyalty and retention are key priorities.
To achieve customer loyalty, you have to make sure your communications are consistent over the entire customer journey and across all touchpoints. Determine where your customers are in the buying cycle. What’s catching their attention? What do your customers need and when do they need it? Relevance and good timing are the key ingredients to making your customers act upon your communications and boost customer loyalty and retention.
As we live in a decade dominated by data, customers realise that their data are out there and can be used. In turn they expect a customer experience that delights and respects them and meets their individual needs.
A lot of organisations fail to meet these customer expectations and end up segmenting their target audience. In modern customer communications however, the only segment that matters is that of the individual customer. In order to individualise, you need data about the motivations and behavior of your customers in the context of time. Individualisation comes down to omni-channel data-driven communications. It’s not easy to achieve but it’s what customers have come to expect.
You can spend big budgets on an app or website to improve the customer journey and generate revenue, if customers are unable to discover and use their full potential, your return on investment will come up short. To enforce digital adoption you have to use paper communications as a stepping stone for customers towards a satisfactory digital customer experience. And then keep them there.
On paper this may seem difficult as print communications don’t appear to be very actionable, but including something as simple as a QR code is enough. It allows you to take the customer on a digital customer journey, where the possibilities aren’t limited to the permanent contents of a printed document.
Example of how you can turn a simple paper mortgage loan into an interactive digital simulator
As companies try their hardest to squeeze every channel for every ounce of potential, customers themselves see this differently. In fact, they don’t think in channels at all. Customer expectations are all about getting the right communication at the right moment. And the ability to act upon it.
Make your communication actionable; use a mobile bankmail as an opportunity to engage. Let your
customer immediately reschedule or add it to his/her calendar within the communication.
Yet this doesn’t mean you can throw your channels overboard. They have to be there so you can always meet your customer preferences. In fear of losing out, companies too often jump the gun and reach out without proper customer insights. These hit-and-hope tactics tend to backfire. As an organisation you have to invest in the means and mindset to find out what your customers need and via which channel they prefer to be contacted, so you can be as relevant as possible in engaging with them.