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Use Customer Insights to Optimise Your Multichannel Marketing

July 5th 2018

If you’re using multiple channels to engage and support your customers, then you need actionable, deep-dive customer insights to deliver the seamless experience they’re looking for.

The way businesses interact with customers – and vice versa – has been transformed by digital technology in recent years. It’s standard practice for enterprise, e-commerce, and passionate start-ups to implement a host of online and offline support channels in order to engage and entice customers – from apps to websites, right through to social media and instant messaging channels.

Today’s customers are far more empowered than those of old. Recent figures show that today’s customers use an average of almost six touchpoints on their journey to purchasing an item, compared to just two 15 years ago, making the path to customer purchase all the more unpredictable.

Let’s take car repair as an example; a customer seeking a last-minute repair may consult a number of different channels to find a reputable garage locally. A ‘best garages near me’ Google search would be the most obvious place to start, possibly followed by scanning of local Facebook groups for user recommendations, before landing on a suggested garage’s website. Today’s customers are more inclined to enquire and book by email, so a quick online form and prompt confirmation email back is then all it takes to get the job done.

Consistent Multichannel Customer Service – The Challenge

Or is it? Here’s the rub – it’s true that customers enjoy the convenience of channel-hopping to get the answers and services they need, the challenge that remains for multi-channel customer service is delivering a seamless customer experience at each contact point, while also juggling and responding to a continuous stream of customer feedback and enquiries.

And it’s not just the company’s established channels that need careful handling – there’s an array of independent review sites (Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor etc) for customers to leave instant, uncensored feedback on any aspect of a company’s service or product.

So, what are the Touch Points to Tame?

Digital transformation dictates that there are now numerous ways a customer might encounter a company’s brand before, during, and after making their purchase. These are often referred to as ‘touch points’ and refers to each of the key moments a customer interacts with a brand, or its representatives, services or products. Each presents a golden opportunity to delight… or disappoint.

Key customer touch points include:

Pre-purchase Touch Points

  • TV, online, direct mail and print adverts
  • Targeted social media marketing and emails
  • Following a brand’s interactions and customer feedback on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Youtube
  • Discovering more about a brand via customer review sites, bloggers and other social media influencers
  • Browsing a brand’s website to discover more about their offering
  • Putting specific questions to a company chatbot or representative
  • Opinion gathering from friends and family

Purchase Touch Points

  • Direct interaction with sales staff in store, on the phone or online
  • e-catalogue and online purchasing process
  • e-mail and hard copy invoicing and receipts
  • Packing, packaging and delivery

Post-purchase Touch Points

  • Contacting Customer Services in store or via call centre or SMS
  • Returns and reimbursement processes
  • e-newsletters, promotional and loyalty scheme mailouts
  • Customer satisfaction surveys and questionnaires

It is vital to ensure that customers receive quick, quality customer service at each of these points in their journey – particularly the ones which are under the brand’s direct control. Failing to prioritise, or not respond, or to respond poorly to a customer’s enquiry or concern, not only risks losing that one customer, but thousands more as word spreads across the digital grapevine.

Paying the Price for Poor Customer Experience

75% of consumers expect consistent customer service, according to recent stats, however they engage – on or offline.

When performed well, effective in-person and digital customer care arms companies with a powerful strategy and differentiator for increasing market share. The latest figures reveal that an omnichannel customer engagement strategy enables companies to retain an average of 89% of their customers.

Bad customer service risks potential damage to company sales, reputation, and more.

American Express recently reported that 33% of people consider switching service providers after a single poor customer service experience. What’s more, they’ll likely tell at least 15 other people about that poor experience, which just perpetuates the bad press.

When the stakes are this high, what’s the best way to go about shaping the perfect multi-channel customer experience?

Tailor your Customer Experience with Tailored Customer Research

The key to success is making sure the research data you accrue is accurate, informative, and interpretable, and there are many online research tools available to evaluate the strength of your company’s customer experience.

In-house email surveys may promise great value and take only a few hours to collate before you hit send – but there are a few questions to consider:

  • Will the survey questions elicit the most meaningful response?
  • Have you been able to narrow down and target the appropriate audience?
  • Is it being issued via your audience’s preferred communication channel?
  • Is the survey content engaging and presented in a way that reflects your company in its best light?
  • And, most importantly, can you sift the raw data for the customer insight to develop an effective business action plan?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these, experience shows that the best option is to step away from the software and seek the support of a professional, MRS-accredited or MRS company partnered market research agency.

Customer Research for Multi-Channel Businesses – The Benefits

When executed correctly, professional customer research can invariably help create and develop a consistent, compelling customer experience from one channel to the next.

Benefits include:

  • Meaningful and accurate feedback from current, prospective, or lapsed customers about their preferences, needs, and motivations to buy.
  • Targeted insight into what customers expect of a company’s product and/or service, and what is delivered at each stage of their customer journey across all channels – including company website (mobile or desktop, which can vary enormously), social media, SMS, call centre, and in-store interactions.
  • Identifying and measuring of customer service gaps online and offline, and the processes that have customers the most frustrated.
  • A clear outline of the automated self-service capabilities customers want, and where current self-help systems may be failing.
  • Providing understanding of how a customer’s needs may change in the future, enabling early adoption of innovative technologies
  • Action planning for quality improvements required to enhance and align the customer experience across all live and digital channels, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Competitive benchmarking, showing company position and performance compared to close competitors, helping identify growth opportunities and improvements.

TTi Global Research’s Customer Research and Customer Satisfaction Research solutions are used by over 50 blue chip companies world-wide to hone their multi-channel customer experience, increasing customer satisfaction and sales. To find out how we can boost your customer service, contact us today.