Topic: Customer Experience
Even if you begin with a phased approach to implementing a system for gathering customer preferences, the end result is hopefully a comprehensive solution across your organization. The goal for preference management is to allow preference collection to take place across the full spectrum of prospect and customer interactions. Enterprise-level businesses engage in complex interactions that often feature an expanding set of personal and virtual interactions. It’s essential to collect and react to information from all touchpoints (such as call centers, social media and mobile devices), not just the easy or inexpensive ones such as email or websites.
Here are the six most common customer interaction points where enterprises must collect preferences. As the preference management program develops, these points represent excellent targets for inclusion:
1. Acquisition marketing.
Building awareness and earning a purchase is a purposeful and complicated process. Yet many companies fail to use these interactions as opportunities to learn about communication channel of choice, preferred product segment or other information that could make the difference between a window-shop and a sale.
2. Product and/or services support.
With the sale secured, customer interaction often passes to support — an entirely different team operating a different CRM, a different database and a different mindset. Customer data can be lost in the transition, slowing the support process and presenting a fragmented and contradictory experience to the customer. It can prevent a one-time customer from becoming a repeat customer.
3. Website services and functions.
Most people now do research on a product or service before deciding what to buy or where/who to buy it from. With very few exceptions, customers begin their journey to sales, support or social interaction with the brand on the web in an effort to find the information they want in way that is convenient to them. The website is not just a critical opportunity for preference collection, it’s also one of the cheapest and most efficient means to do so.
4. Account services.
For most consumers, the can’t-miss brand interaction is the payment process. Learn how and when your customers want to be billed and find innovative ways to remind them to do so. You’ll be rewarded with improved receivables collection and preference data applicable to new sales.
5. In-store and point-of-sale (POS).
Many enterprise businesses maintain physical locations where key tasks are handled through human interaction. While much attention has been paid to culture and customer experience in the store environment, too little attention has been directed at preference collection and distribution. Arm your staff with timely data and give them the opportunity to add to the customer profile.
6. Emerging channels.
As more and more customers rely on SMS and social media for interaction with each other and brands, enterprises must stay ahead of new technology adoption to continue to remain relevant and connected with their customer base. The addition of a communication channel becomes a value add reason to reach out to a customer to further enhance the relationship and better understand the customer’s profile.
A goal of any business is to not only get new customers but to make those customers come back again for another purchase. It’s easier and more profitable to make an existing customer a repeat customer than to start from scratch every time with a new prospect. Preference collection and management improves the customer experience and can increase customer loyalty and engagement. The happier your customers are, the more they’ll engage with you – not only for their own needs, but also to recommend you to others. It’s a win/win.