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.
Customer communications need to be timely, because time is money. There’s urgency even in the minor transmissions, which is why it’s a no-brainer to seek assurances that production of these communications is quick, fluid, and uneventful. There must be options and back-up plans in place. With key business matters, more of the same is better.
OSG now has 630,000 square feet of space in nine strategic locations across the country. This is advantageous for several key reasons, and part of a longterm business continuity strategy that offers greater guarantees to our customers.
- Quick Turnaround Time
With nine production facilities that operate on a 24/7/365 production cycle, we can guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time.
- Disaster Recovery Options
This is a rare instance where redundancy is a good thing. Imagine a power outage or internet issues. The redundant configuration of our production systems and the identical, standardized processes throughout each facility ensures that your data is secure and your service is not disrupted in these instances.
- Postal Optimization
We offer mail delivery anywhere in the country within 1.5 to 3 days by mailing out of multiple facilities. We also have on-site postal coordination across companies.
We’ve built a cross-country framework that has the speed and protections that are non-negotiable when dealing with transactional communications. As they say: location, location, location (times three).
The term “data-driven” is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across industries, and with good reason. All marketing should be data-driven. Creating targeted messages that reflect and anticipate the needs of your customers is crucial. As we’ve said before, when contact is frequent, as it is with invoicing, the messages must be timely and relevant.
A newer customer may simply have different needs than one who has been with you for seven years. Someone already using one of your products shouldn’t see a promotion for it. Investing time in personalized incentives is worth the effort. It keeps your messaging fresh and shows your engagement in the full customer lifecycle.
With tools like OSG Campaign Composer, you can segment your customer base to analyze customer trends and history, avoiding these kind of oversights. Once you’ve set the filters and created your campaign, you can select which segment receives specific dynamic messages, envelope messaging, and inserts.
It’s also worth the effort to consider how the message is being received by the customer. In our omni-channel world, content and the technology that deploys it have to be working hand in hand.
The data keeps rolling in—you have to roll with it.
We’ve had quite a year at OSG, between growing our company and expanding our services to create a more omni-channel model. We try to give our blog a mix of technology and design insights, as well as timely updates that pertain to our industry and the postal service. Here are our five most-viewed blog posts of 2017.
For the first time in several years, the USPS requested rate increases for both its competitive (packages and overnight shipments) and market dominant products (letters and flats).
Inquiring minds wanted to know, so we told them. (And we also included a bonus explanation of statements.)
In which our Production Graphics Manager gave us a look at her day-to-day responsibilities and nailed a just-for-fun lightning round.
Spoiler: One benefit is an increase in web traffic.
Our tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. It’s a game changer.
Any marketing initiative has buzzwords, and sometimes those words can seem at best vague and at worst empty. Multi-channel and omni-channel are two common terms you’ll hear floating around in discussions on customer communications. To cut to the chase: There is a difference, and the difference is important.
Multichannel communication refers to the use of different types of channels with your brand or product at the center of this communication. These channels include mail, email, websites, phone calls, social media—any means of connection between you and your customers. A multichannel approach gives the customer a choice in how to reach your company or product. Each of these channels is distinct and (hopefully) strong, but they working toward the same end—you.
Omnichannel communication is about creating a fluid customer experience across these channels. It’s common now for a modern consumer to switch frequently between channels. (Think of how often you are on your laptop and then look down at your phone.) An omnichannel approach aims to make that switch seem natural and consistent. In other words, the customer’s view and experience are central to the process, and data is used to make that experience integrated and remove the “feeling” of channels.
If multichannel is more about availability, then omnichannel is more about consistency. While multichannel centers your brand or product, omnichannel centers the customer.
Imagine this: Madeline Frasier, a longtime subscriber to your magazine, has just sent you a check. She’s a few days late with her payment, but it’s on its way. No one knows that, though, and because the account is still listed as outstanding in your database, a collection letter is sent to her house. Your company has now spent money to collect money that’s already in transit. If only there was a way to see that Madeline had mailed her check.
OSG MailTrekˢᴹ is the way.
This tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. An Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is printed on each piece of outgoing mail, which gives the USPS the data it needs to get your mail delivered to the right address on time. You can also include this barcode on the return or remittance envelope to see the status of incoming payments in real-time. This, in turn, will help suppress collection letters to customers.
For some of our customers, we have been able to achieve suppression of 4 to 5 percent of their production volume, while others have achieved as high as 12 percent suppression.
With MailTrek, you’ll improve the efficiency of your collection efforts by reducing the number and frequency of your mailings, and you’ll also improve your customers’ experience. Who wants to get a letter when they’ve already paid? Your company saves money on another letter, and Madeline isn’t annoyed.
It’s all about the data when it comes to customer communication.
Data tells the story of your customers and outlines what information you should be sharing with them. This is particularly important regarding the marketing messages you include with bills and invoices. When contact is frequent, the messages must be timely and relevant.
Data also tells the story of what’s already worked in with your previous messaging. Why send a “Subscribe Today!” message to a customer who just signed up? Why push a product to a people already using it? Analyzing customer trends and history is crucial. You should also be able to make timely updates based on that information.
OSG Campaign Composer is a data-driven application that allows you to segment your customer base. It’s designed so you can filter specific data to send one-to-one marketing messages that make sense. It exists to complement your invoicing or billing packages, to enhance marketing capabilities, to and make communication specific and targeted.
Here’s how it works:
- Define the filters.
A filter is set for one or more conditions you apply to your data to identify which accounts will be targeted by a campaign.
- Create the campaign.
Build the message that will target those specific customers.
- Create the package.
The package selects a segment of your customer base to target. It also specifies which dynamic messages, envelope messages, and inserts that segment should receive.
Another crucial feature: this application is timely. You can update the messaging at any time, ridding invoices and bills of stale, tired content. You can also send an endless variety of messages and cross-sell and up-sell products more effectively.
It’s essential to be using your data in a way that makes sense and brings you the biggest return. Your customers aren’t all the same. Why not try something different with them? Read more here.