3 (Big) Ways to Use Big Data for Your Critical Customer Communications
When it comes to data in the 21st century, it’s time to think big—literally. Big Data is collected constantly at ever-increasing speeds from smart phones, computers and a variety of other touch points. With so many metrics and data points, it can be intimidating to know where and how to start leveraging them. Luckily, there are a few easy and very effective ways to use data to increase the impact of your critical customer communications.
- Understanding Your Customer
One of the first—and, in all actuality, the most crucial—things you can gain from data is a true understanding of your customer: how they act, what motivates them, what they like to purchase and why. A true insight into each of your customers is a veritable gold mine of information. Understanding your customer means understanding how to communicate with them and, ultimately, how to keep them from abandoning your brand for another.
Personalization and data go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s an obvious pairing, because data allows you to gain the insight you need to make each customer’s communication a personalized experience. Once you understand a customer, the next step is to begin targeting messages to their specific needs. Tools like OSG Dynamic Messaging allow you to send customers specified messages that speak directly to them. After all, customers want to feel unique and understood, and what better way to do that than by sending them customer specific communications?
For most companies it is a difficult feat to attempt to send out personalized messages to each individual customer, that’s where segmentation comes in. Grouping customers into segments based on similar qualities such as purchase frequency, products purchased, purchasing motivation and more allows you to send a message that targets your customer without needing to send individualized messages. With OSG Campaign Composer you can filter your audience using specific data and send targeted, one-to-one messages to any segment of your customer base. These targeted communications make your customers feel more understood, which in turn means they are more likely to engage with your message.
Learning how to utilize data in each message you send out allows you to more accurately and efficiently communicate with your customers. Contact us to learn how to begin using data in your critical customer communications.
Companies are no longer fighting to prove they have the latest product or most advanced system—instead, they are fighting to prove they can create the best customer experience (CX). According to Forbes, “Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010.” This shift comes directly from the customers and their heightened expectations.
Customers are now forming opinions of companies based primarily on the experience they have with that specific company. If a customer has a negative interaction with your company, they are much more likely to abandon ship and find a new company that can give them the CX they seek. This is so important, in fact, that Forbes states, “Consumers are willing to spend up to 16% more on products and services with companies that offer a better experience, and they’re more loyal.”
Creating a positive customer experience can involve a multitude of things, but it essentially breaks down to ensuring that each interaction your customer has with your company is positive and relevant. This can entail anything from personalized messages on their bills to creating an omnichannel communication strategy that allows a customer to reach you through whichever channel they choose. Whatever form it takes, it is critical for companies to make the customer central in the decision-making process.
Contact us to talk about taking your CX model to the next level.
The term channel surfing brings to mind images of lazy teenagers flipping from one TV station to another, halfheartedly looking for a show to pique their interest. When it comes to customer communication however, channel surfing takes on a whole new meaning.
Choosing Your Channel
Your customers no longer solely rely on one source for their entire catalogue of communication needs. Instead, they navigate between channels to receive their information and relevant news. With clients perpetually changing devices, it is more important than ever for businesses to offer multiple forms of communication. Only utilizing one or two channels means you end up ignoring huge chunks of your customer base and losing out on building lasting relationships with those customers. According to Aberdeen Group, Inc., “Companies with strong omni-channel strategies can expect to retain an average of 89% of their customers.” Be it print or digital, communicating with your customers where they are most comfortable means you are guaranteeing you remain connected.
Different Channel, Same Message
The variety of communication channels can bring about a significant issue for companies—unifying the message. Although print and digital may seem like two completely different worlds, it is crucial for every channel – be it online or off – to have a consistent voice. If a customer chooses to receive email notifications instead of a printed bill, they shouldn’t be receiving a completely different message. Aligning cross-channel communication means you create a unified voice for your company and a better overall experience for your customer.
Whatever channel your customers pick, it’s up to you to ensure your message is received.
Today’s customer is more connected to the digital world than ever before, from phones to laptops to smart TVs. This landscape may seem like a paradise for businesses who want to transition their customers over to e-billing, but the switch can be more difficult than initially expected. We’ve compiled a list of the most common excuses not to switch over to e-billing and, more importantly, the arguments against these excuses.
- “I like to receive a physical copy to keep for my records.”
While physical copies and drawers full of files may have been the only way to keep a history of bills and invoices in the past, it is certainly not the only option presently. OSG Digital Solutions gives your customers the ability to view both current and past bills and invoices in PDF format. A full billing history is a click of the mouse away!
- “I’m used to the way I receive bills now and changing to a new way seems difficult.”
Switching customers over to a new billing process can seem like a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Customers often lack an incentive to switch over to e-billing. By providing a motivation to switch – like a discount or a sweepstakes – you give your customers the push they need.
- “I’m worried I will miss a payment if I don’t receive a bill in the mail.”
Fearing a missed payment and the subsequent consequences is one of the biggest deterrents customers have when considering e-billing. Luckily, numerous resources exist to ensure that every payment is made on time. Through OSG eBill, customers receive email notifications as soon as the bill is ready. Additionally, customers can set up automatic and scheduled payments, ensuring ease of mind for every billing cycle.
- “Receiving bills and invoices over the internet doesn’t seem secure.”
The safety and security of customer data is of the highest importance, especially in today’s climate of data hacks and breaches. Remaining compliant with all standards and utilizing firewalls and safety measures ensures customer data is continuously safeguarded.
- “Switching to e-billing doesn’t seem like it will make my life any better. Why bother?”
Customers are constantly looking for products and services to make their lives easier and e-billing is not any different. According to Forbes, “Electronic communications must do more than simply digitize checks. They must have simple onboarding, be easy to use and be interactive.” Although many of the benefits of e-billing may seem intuitive, for some customers it will come down to showcasing how their lives will benefit directly from the switch.
Change can be hard for some customers, but understanding exactly what is making them hesitant means you can relieve their worries and help them make the switch! Contact us to start the process.
We’ve previously covered the marketing potential of the transactional document. With enhancements like dynamic messaging, it’s possible to transform a bill or invoice into a more personalized vehicle to send to the customer.
But the transpromotional possibilities of the transactional document now extend beyond the document itself. It is, in fact, essential to think beyond bills and invoices, to leverage data and employ other optimized channels that reach customers in new, additionally engaging ways.
What does that mean in practice? Imagine a Go Green message on a paper bill, incentivizing a print customer to switch to an electronic solution. That printed message can be modified and then delivered to through a customer contact center phone call, a text message, a social media ad, or an email campaign. By extending the “life” of the message, we can reach customers at the right time in their preferred channel.
The idea is to weave robust technology with powerful transpromotional marketing messages, to merge customers’ viewing preferences with your marketing initiatives, and to extend the life of your marketing plan across channels. The bill is just the beginning.
Contact us for more information on leveraging the power of your data and transactional documents.
Jules grew up in Denville, NJ, but is currently attending Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. There she is studying Integrated Marketing Communications and Communication Management and Design. At Ithaca College, she helps run the promotions and social media for the school’s morning talk show, Good Day Ithaca. During her college career, Jules hopes to learn more about event planning, journalism, and magazine publication.
What are you looking forward to most about working at OSG this summer?
I’m excited to learn about tradeshows, help with social media campaigns, and get a look into the world of corporate marketing.
Describe your dream job.
I have always loved interior design and décor, so my dream job would be to work in branding or content creation for a media outlet like HGTV magazine.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel, read beachy novels, spend time outdoors, take exercise classes, and obsess over my two cats.
To be frank, paying a bill is never going to be exciting for a customer. What it can and should be is convenient, simple, and seamless. Customers receive 4.1 pieces of transactional mail per week. The payment structure needs to fit within their framework, to feel like it’s tailored to them specifically. It seems like paying electronically would be the obvious choice. We are in an ever-expanding digital landscape where so much of our lives are tied to online interactions and transactions.
But these are bills and habits are tough to break. This brings us to the essential—and perennial—question: How do you get someone perfectly satisfied with their service to switch from paper bills to e-billing? You incentivize, and those incentives must be good. Here are three.
- Offer a discount.
Offer e-billing as part of a discounted service plan. It’s concrete and uncomplicated. It requires no effort on their part, but the difference will be noticeable.
- Enter them into a sweepstakes.
Nothing like a prize to sweeten the pot. Try a major gift card or the latest gadget (we are pushing e-bills, after all).
- Tie in a charitable cause.
Present customers with the opportunity to give back in some way. This could be something as straightforward as a tree planted for every customer who signs up for paperless billing.
Remember that once the customer switches, the service must be on point. Ultimately, the best incentive is having the best solution.