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5 Distinct Reasons to Collect Customer Preferences

Type: Blog
Topic: Customer Experience

Have you ever wondered why people adopt preference management? Who first had the idea that the customer might have good feedback? What made this trend of listening to customers grow to where it is today?

There are five distinct reasons that companies adopt preference management. These specific Key Performance Indicators are the ultimate driver for implementation, yes. But they also help justify continuing the system once you start. Most people agree that all five of these KPIs are important. Even so, one in particular is usually the deciding factor to start collecting customer preferences. That “most important” factor may change for each company. But since we consider them all to be important, we’ll discuss them in this five-part series.

These KPIs fall into one of five categories – this series of blogs will discuss them in more depth.

KPI #1 – Preventing loss of customers

Companies that are primarily concerned with preventing the loss of customers have one goal. That goal is to deploy effective opt-down strategies to avoid an “global opt-out.” A “global opt-out” is a customer unsubscribing from all communications from you. The global opt-out can be the result of customer choice. Maybe they don’t want to do business with your company any longer. But sometimes, the company has business rules too rigid to let the customer “opt-down” instead.

For example, one of our customers sold both consumer and business software applications. It was common for the company to send emails to everyone on their customer list. They emailed every customer regardless of the products that the customer owned. They offered an opt-out link, but not the opportunity to “opt-down”. Some customers only wanted to opt-out of the emails that were not relevant to them. However, they had to opt out of all emails because they didn’t have a choice to choose what to receive emails about.

With this KPI, companies look at how many sales or conversions resulted. Your company must document and understand current customer touch-points and associated metrics:

time spent in a communication workflow (how long are they spending engaged with you? do they look at several pages on your website? do they show even more interest, like filling out a form for contact, or download a whitepaper?)
overall conversion (do they buy something and become a customer or remain a prospect?)
abandonment (do they leave your website or opt-out of communications? at what point did they get frustrated enough to leave? was it too difficult to check out? could they not find what they were looking for? was your content not important to them?)

To document this, you’ll need to review your company’s internal marketing initiatives. You’ll also need to understand your 3rd parties, like an email service provider (ESP) you may use. More often than you may think, global opt-outs are caused by a 3rd party action. For example, if you use an email service provider (ESP) to send emails, does their opt-out page provide options to “opt down”? Or do they only offer a global opt-out? Does your outside call center ask customers for their communication preferences? Do they record those preferences for use in future campaigns?

Sometimes it’s easier to start a system in one channel or business unit. A limited proof of concept allows a company to show early wins. It also provides KPI reporting as part of the implementation. This can help create consensus for the next project, with more people buying into the idea. It can also encourage a bigger budget to roll out a preference management solution across the company. Some companies use this “phased approach” to implementation for a variety of reasons. A phased approach can be especially helpful for companies focused on preventing the loss of customers.

We know your company probably has several reasons for wanting a preference management process. No matter what your primary reason is, we know that sometimes different business units within a company consider a different reason to be the main reason. Not everyone agrees on one specific KPI as being the most important. In this blog series, we’ll continue discussing the other KPIs as important factors in the decision to install a preference management tool.

 


 

About the Author: 

Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He’s a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. Check out his book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior – Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.

Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

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