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The following guest post is courtesy of Yael Warman, Content Manager at Leverate.
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With a wide sweep of new technology now available on the market, executives are looking for ways and ideas to increase their customer’s engagement. From social media, to e-mail and mobile marketing, we know the tools are out there, but the question remains:
How do we optimize those tools to successfully engage with existing and potential customers?
If I’ve made the sale, how important is it to continue customer engagement?
This is a sentiment that is felt all too often within brokerages that have a focus on sales, sales and more sales. The reality however is that effective customer engagement can really be the most lucrative tool in building revenue.
Skillful customer engagement leads to customer loyalty and loyal clients are the best types of clients that you can have. Firstly, their loyalty means trust and once they trust you they are more likely to trade with you exclusively, increasing the amount that they spend. Secondly, if they’re considering taking out a new position they will seek you out first. But most importantly, they are more likely to promote your business to other potential clients, effectively becoming a very valuable marketing tool, without any of the overhead costs.
Provide Real-Time Benefits that will make the Customer Experience More Rewarding
The all-time leader in getting this right is Waze, the navigation app, which helps users arrive at their destination in the quickest way possible. If you are a frequent Waze user, you’re bound to have noticed that periodically the app will suggest places to eat, shop or visit that are situated along your selected route. Furthermore, there are plans to use more information gathered about the user so that suggestions are more relevant to the user’s interests. This not only makes Waze an exceptionally efficient means of travel, but it builds on the app’s appeal as it is so savvy.
Use Social Media, not just as a Platform, but as a Tool
The use of social media is generally understood as a platform for a company to raise awareness of their services and products. However, what fewer companies are doing is using social media as a tool to gain more insight from their customers. Pampers, who have turned their social media platforms into discussion forums for parents, has been able to obtain valuable market research. By leading and directing conversations, Pampers was able to identify what their clients would improve about the diapers and adjust their product accordingly.
Simplify Processes to Increase Satisfaction
This means improving the overall quality of the customer experience with your brand, rather than trying to promote your brand. Famous for doing this was Uber. Uber initially started out as a luxury car service, with some input from clients, they identified that what their clientele really wanted was to commute from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. Losing their edge on luxury in the process of their transformation, they simplified their processes drastically to become the 68 billion dollar company that they are today.
Use and Analyze Data in Forward-Thinking Ways
Companies are often flooded with data, but the problem is they’re not really sure of what to do with all of it, particularly what practicable lessons they can take out of it. One company that took out gems from their data was ARI, a fleet management services company. Throughout the course of their business operations ARI collects realms of data, from miles driven, fuel consumption and maintenance costs for thousands of vehicles. By applying an in-memory CRM and a business intelligence tool, ARI identified correlations where they were able to predict maintenance needs of their vehicles and address them proactively. Even more than this, ARI considered their customer’s needs and made data sets that were of value to them. This data was then made accessible to their customers through real time information portals. Thereby building loyalty by enhancing the quality of their services.
Embrace Customer Feedback
Creating open channels of communication not just between a business and its customers, but from customers to the business and between customers. This creates a forum for word-of-mouth recommendations, which is really the most valuable form of marketing, but fostering it on an online forum means that it can reach a wide audience and at incredible speeds. One company that excelled at giving their customers a voice was Amazon, who were quick to embrace their customer feedback, both the good with the bad. While the good news obviously had the effect of doing wonders to their reputation, the bad news was valuable too. Amazon was able to respond and address issues, whilst also asking for recommendations on how the problem could best be addressed. Effectively turning a disgruntled client into a dedicated fan.
An interesting study conducted in Forrester’s 2013 Customer Experience Index, found that while companies ostensibly acknowledge the importance of engaging with their customers and creating positive customer experiences, the study found that only 8% of companies were awarded a top grade for doing just that by their customers. The research pointed to a significant mismatch between what organizations think they are doing and how customers actually experience their service. The positive difference appears to be an underlying objective to enhance customer engagement throughout the brand management process. Customers are not just the people that you sell to, but have the means to be part of the strategic team.