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The Customer Journey, Part 6: Reactivate

Customer Journey: Reconnect

Ok, so your customers are as lost as Tom Hanks on that island with Wilson. Unfortunately, unlike Tom, your customers aren’t building a raft and floating back into your revenue stream – its up to you to reconnect and win them back. But how are you going to do that?

Losing a customer can happen for a variety of reasons. Whether it was a price increase or a negative experience with your brand, that customer made the executive decision to cut ties, but that does not mean your customer is lost for good. As many would say, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. Culling your customer list to determine which customers you have lost is the first step in winning them back. Identify those customers and ­– even more importantly – identify why you lost them.

A holistic understanding of the customer and what made them leave in the first place will help you win them back now. A customer does not want to reconnect with a brand that doesn’t seem to grasp their issues or ignored pain points. Recognizing the issues the customer had with your brand allows you to strategically communicate and highlight the benefits of your products and services. Following suit with the previous steps in the customer journey, a brand who understands the customer and takes the time to truly know the individual is a brand that will win them over – or win them again in this case.

Reconnecting with these customers requires your brand to open the channels of communication that your customer closed. While you should align your message across all touchpoints, engaging the customer through their preferred channel of communication increases the chances of reconnecting. OSG Email Marketing offers the ability to reach out to your lost customers and digitally open the door. Utilizing data-driven segmentation, OSG Email Marketing allows you to create targeted email campaigns with personalized, expertly crafted messages designed to win back a lost customer.

Once you have started the conversation it is up to you to demonstrate why the customer should come back to your brand and rebuild the customer relationship. Have you fixed a broken system? Reduced prices? Introduced new products that better suit your customer needs? Whatever the case, the door is open, and now is the time to keep the conversation going.

The Customer Journey, Part 5: Retain

Customer Retention

A company with no customer retention is tantamount to catching butterflies with a broken net. No matter how many customers you catch – with no reason or need to stay, they will simply keep abandoning your brand. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” Translation: retaining your customers is a must.

Doing so comes down to a few key actions: Establishing ongoing touchpoints, creating a positive experience with each engagement, building trust and loyalty and solving any customer problems.

  1. Throughout the entirety of the customer journey, engaging touchpoints are the key to keeping the lines of communication open with your customer. Once you have acquired a customer, these touchpoints transition from selling specific products or services to encouraging continued interaction with your brand. Whether this engagement comes in the form of a survey or a reminder of new services, frequent interactions ensure your brand is never forgotten. OSG Calendar Inserts are a perfect yearly touchpoint – a new calendar every December puts your brand in front of the customer and ensures it stays there throughout the year.
  2. Your customer’s experience should be at the center of every strategy and decision. If something doesn’t assist in creating a positive customer experience, what purpose does it serve in the customer journey? Customers look for brands that work to create those positive experiences, and they are willing to walk away from those that don’t put the appropriate time and energy into the task. With so many competitors in the marketplace, it comes down to whether or not your customer enjoys their interactions with your brand – because if they don’t, there are ten other brands right around the corner.
  3. Like a relationship with anyone else it takes time and patience to earn your customer’s trust and build loyalty. Both the products you offer as well as your level of service can impact the amount of trust a customer has with your brand. While building trust takes time and energy, breaking that trust can happen in an instant. Remember, each interaction has the potential to either continue building loyalty or completely break it – make sure your interactions lead to the building rather than the breaking.
  4. A problem-free customer relationship is the gold medal of accomplishments. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect utopia and thus must expect some problems to arise. Even the tiniest of customer issues can seem like a huge disaster if not handled appropriately. Problems are anticipated, but how you handle them determines how your customer views your brand and if they decide to stick with you. Solving problems quickly and efficiently shows your customers you listen to their needs and care about their experience with your brand.

Customers are fickle and quick to desert a brand if they feel it is no longer meeting their expectations. While you may be inclined to focus on growing your customer base, the time and energy put into maintaining the existing base will benefit your brand in the long run. Establishing a strategy to keep your customers happy will keep them by your side and buying your products. When it comes down to it, it pays to retain.

The Customer Journey, Part 4: Up-sell and Cross-sell

Customer journey: cross-sell and up-sell.

Congratulations! At this stage you have successfully acquired and converted a brand-new customer. In an ideal world they are blissfully enjoying your product and singing your high praises to friends on social media and beyond. What next, you ask? It’s time to begin up-selling and cross-selling.

The natural transition for any brand following a customer purchase is to analyze what additional products the customer could benefit from. The advantage of doing so is two-fold. By introducing additional products, you increase the chances of your new customer becoming a repeat customer and spending more money with your company – WIN! But additionally, cross-selling also strengthens your customer relationship and improves the overall experience.

When done right, cross-selling utilizes customer data to promote new products and services based on your customer’s previous buying habits, goals and interaction with your brand. Like the convert stage of the customer journey, the key to successful cross-selling and up-selling is to understand your customer’s needs. While they may already be a customer of your brand, it is now the goal to win them over to a multitude of additional products – a task which can require extensive customer knowledge.

OSG Campaign Composer allows you to send targeted, one-to-one marketing messages aimed at cross-selling and up-selling. Using customer specific data, you are able to segment your audience and direct product-oriented messages to each sector. By aligning the campaign across channels and interactions, you consistently engage your customer and promote new products from your brand.

An important note for this stage: maintain an ongoing record of the products your customer already uses. One sure fire way to diminish your chances of cross-selling – and potentially lose a customer – is to try to sell your customer something they already use. Not only will this not result in a sale, but from the customer perspective it appears that you do not care enough to get to know them on a personal level – ruining what was most likely a positive experience up until that point.

No matter the industry, cross-selling and up-selling present a unique opportunity to elevate the customer relationship and grow the value of new and existing customers.

The Customer Journey, Part 2: Acquire

Customer Journey, Acquisition

Acquiring a new prospect is no easy task, making this stage one of the trickiest (and most pivotal) in the customer journey. Once you acquire–and then, hopefully, convert–the customer, they become familiar with your brand and products, gaining trust in you as the relationship progresses. But at this stage, in the customer’s mind, you’re on the same playing field as all of your competitors. And you can’t beat your competitor if you’re sitting on the sidelines.

Once a customer is aware of their pain points, they start doing their research. The process of narrowing down choices can be lengthy depending on the product being considered and the requirements of the customer. Although not every customer will have a formalized process for selecting a brand, at some level each one compares and contrasts options before selecting the right brand for them.

While it may seem like this phase solely relies on the customer and their ability to research, it is up to you to get your product or service in front of the customer. Introducing yourself and beginning some form of customer engagement increases your chances of becoming that customer’s brand of choice. Using tools such as online display ad and digital media buying allows you to get your products in front of the right customers, starting the conversation.

Unfortunately, you aren’t the only brand trying to get the customer to notice your products and services. It is in this stage that brands need to differentiate in order to extricate themselves from the hordes of competitors vying to gain your customer’s attention. OSG’s Integrated Solutions work with your brand to heighten the customer experience and make your product or service stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s in-app payments or an email marketing campaign, we work around your specific needs to create strategic, targeted customer communications designed to help you leverage the engagement and customer experience at each touchpoint.

Ready to expand your customer base and acquire new prospects? Let us help you get there.

The Customer Journey, Part 1: Identify

“But I would walk 500 miles. And I would walk 500 more. Just to be the brand that walks a thousand miles to be delivered at your door.” – The Proclaimers (kind of)

Your customer’s journey may not take a thousand miles, but their journey is unique to them. Whether they are an old customer returning to your brand or a new one experiencing your brand for the first time, each touchpoint propels them further along in that journey. Understanding where your customer is in their process—and the next steps they might take—enables you to offer them a more personalized experience that centers their needs and encourages action.

The first step in the customer journey is one that the brand is not necessarily involved in, known as identification. During the identification stage, the customer becomes aware of pain points or needs in their life, realizing they are either lacking a provider for a product or service to satisfy these pain points or they are unhappy with the ones they have.

Customers may become aware of such pain points in several different ways. If they already have a brand providing the product or service, the pain points may arise as the honeymoon stage with the current brand ends. As with any relationship, after the initial excitement fades the customer becomes aware of flaws, they might feel ready for a change. On the other hand, if the customer does not already have a brand providing the product or service, they may become aware of pain points through digital advertisements, social media, billboards or a variety of other means.

No matter how the customer discovers their pain points, the result is the same: they begin to look for solutions. And that is where your brand comes in. Throughout the customer journey series, we will lay out how customers travel from discovering a pain point to becoming a loyal brand advocate– and what you can do to engage each step of the way–creating a positive customer experience and elevating the customer-client relationship.

2019 Trends for eBilling

ebilling

A new year means new trends. 2019 is in full swing and the eBilling growth we saw in the past year is not slowing down. From mobile connectivity to employee experience, we’ve gathered the top six major trends we expect to shape (or reshape) the eBilling landscape.

  1. Mobile Mobility

Your customers are on the move and they expect the companies they do business with to be moving with them. According to Statista, “The number of smartphone users is forecast to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019, with smartphone penetration rates increasing as well.” With the number of smartphone users growing exponentially by the day, it comes as no surprise that the mobile experience is one that is here to stay. OSG’s Mobile App enhances your billing and payment process by putting everything your customer needs in the palm of their hand. It’s time to stay connected with your customers – wherever they go.

  1. All About AI

The old mantra “artificial intelligence will take over the world” can still be heard ringing out from old movies and TV shows. But in 2019, gone are the fears of an AI takeover, and in its place stands a widespread acceptance and onboarding of AI in companies spanning all industries. AI has grown to manage tasks ranging from customer interaction to data analysis and interpretation. By integrating AI capabilities, companies gain insight and accessibility to real time improvements in processes across departments. 2019 is just the beginning for artificial intelligence and the roles it can take on.

  1. Hyper-personalization

2018 saw the beginnings of this trend as companies fought to differentiate their content and capture their customers’ ever-wandering attention. No longer are customers inundated with mass emails promoting a blanket product or service. In fact, according to the Marketing Insider Group, “78% of U.S. Internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent.” In keeping up with this customer expectation, brands now use customer data to specifically target their habits and preferences, making each engagement relevant to their lives. OSG Campaign Composer uses customer data to target your critical communications and create a hyper-personalized experience for each customer.

  1. Employee Experience Builds Customer Experience

Customer experience has been a hot topic for years now. Companies have long focused on what it takes to keep a customer happy and how to create a positive experience at each touchpoint. But in reality, happy customers come from happy employees. Essentially utilizing the trickledown effect, employee experience focuses on creating a positive culture and employee journey to create a positive customer experience down the line. After all, you can’t offer service with a smile if your employees aren’t smiling.

  1. Data-Driven Everything

In today’s technology-laden world, data drives everything. Whether it is relaying how a customer wants to receive their bills or highlighting which products your customers would most likely want to take advantage of, data is being used to create seamless experiences and improved products and services. Using data to drive each and every decision ensures your brand is making the smart choices that will benefit your company and keep your customers satisfied.

  1. Customers Take the Wheel

It’s no secret that customer expectations have shifted drastically in the last few years. With such a wide variety of companies and products for customers to choose from, brands have lost the upper hand. Customers have sensed the shift and now view themselves as partners in the process and aim to be treated as such. With this move in customer perspective, brands have been forced to redesign how they interact and communicate with their customers. In looking ahead, it will be up to the brands to keep growing positive customer relationships by listening to the needs and expectations of their customers in order to provide the quality interactions customers crave. It’s all about knowing your people and providing what they need.

Predicting the future of eBilling is a task for only the clearest of crystal balls, but these trends are sure to influence how the next year takes shape – and OSG is ready.

If You Build It, Millennials Will Come

millennials

It seems like millennials have been analyzed and reported on more than any other generation. From their purchasing habits to their motivations, we simply can’t say enough. The perennial question behind this generational analysis seems to be: How can we capture real and significant market share of this generation? We’ve put together a list to help you win over this elusive generation and increase your millennial customer base.

  1. Make it convenient

Millennials are all about convenience. Instead of waiting for a taxi, they download a rideshare app; instead of going out and renting a DVD, they stream their favorite shows and movies. For brands, this translates to offering services that make it easier and more convenient to do business with you – or, more simply put, offering services that allow millennials to conduct their business without physically going to your business. Whether it is a mobile app to check billing history or payment capabilities on your website, offering a more convenient solution will win the hearts of millennials everywhere.

  1. Relate it back

Understanding millennials and their motivations is the key to gaining their trust and their business. Millennials in today’s market look to connect with a brand based on their values and beliefs. While in the past brands have relied heavily on marketing their latest products or services to win customers, it is now up to companies to showcase their brand holistically and connect personally with Millennial consumers. According to Forbes: “We found that 60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality — the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.”

  1. Keep the communication open

You can’t win over a customer and build a lasting relationship if you aren’t communicating with that customer – and choosing the right channel of communication has a lot to do with it. While you may be used to sending out direct mailers, many of your millennial customers are communicating digitally, via email, social media and mobile apps. Including these channels in your omnichannel communication strategy ensures your message is always reaching your customer.

Like generations before them, millennials’ needs and expectations when interacting with brands are vast and varied. Understanding exactly how to target this generation is the key to increasing your millennial customer base.

Not sure how to initiate a campaign targeting millennials? Let our Account Executives get you started.

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