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5 Tips to Propel Your Brand with Proactive Customer Service

by: Keith Meade (@keithmeade)
18 April 2014

This April my wife and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary. Recently, I had a rare free moment between leaving the office and picking up the kids to actually make a reservation for dinner.

From the car, I called a favorite restaurant of ours — the same one where we celebrated our 11th anniversary. I talked with the person taking reservations and provided the normal stuff: my name, phone number and size of party (two). I selected a time based on their availability, and the restaurant employee confirmed the details and thanked me for making the reservation. 

As I hung up, I was already beginning to worry I would forget the time of the reservation. But before I could sit my phone down on the passenger seat, something unexpected happened: I received an email from the restaurant with the details of my reservation.

I hadn’t provided my email address. The restaurant had made an instant match from my mobile number to a previously provided email address and sent me an email confirmation.

By making that match with my data, the restaurant made my life a little easier and increased my likelihood of becoming a repeat, loyal customer.

Are you doing the same for your customers? As technology continues to evolve, and with it the expectations of consumers, marketers need to create more of these positive brand moments.

In an effort to set, meet and exceed customer expectations, take time to review your customers’ entire experience with your business to determine the best moments to propel your brand with the right message at the right time. Here are five tips for increasing the number of great moments you create for your customers.

1) Map the customer experience

This is an excellent exercise and one that probably needs to be facilitated. In short, you’ll want to identify key customer personas or segments. For each persona, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what makes this persona unique. Map this persona’s experience with your brand throughout the entire lifecycle.

In the case of our anniversary restaurant example, questions it might ask include:

  • What personas make up most of our revenue?
  • Where are our growth opportunities?
  • How do customers learn of our restaurant?
  • What makes them decide to visit or make a reservation?
  • What is their experience when they arrive?
  • What happens after a visit?
  • What helps to bring them back?

This is just a partial list of questions to ask – take time to visit the entire customer journey for the different types of buyers who do business with your company.

2) Keep awareness levels high

Awareness is often half the battle. Marketers must understand their customer lifecycle and bridge the gaps between transactions with awareness messaging.

In my example, the restaurant was lucky I remembered we had our last anniversary dinner there since I hadn’t received any recent communications from them. The restaurant could have sent regular updates at least once a month regarding new entrées or offers, just to keep the brand top-of-mind when I was looking to make another reservation.

What post-purchase messages could you send that provide value to your customers and keep them aware of your brand?

3) Use data to drive engagement

Once you’ve mapped out the customer experience and looked at how to bridge the gaps between transactions, let data help you convert.

Our restaurant had my profile data and used it well, but it also had the date and reason of our initial visit. Instead of leaving it up to my memory to remember to call, the restaurant could have sent an email three to four weeks out to see if they could proactively make a reservation for me. I would have loved to have received an email from them with the option to confirm my reservation with one click. The easier it is for the customer, the easier it is to convert. 

Restaurant Email Example

As you review your customers’ experiences, what data is required to support your communications? How can you make transactions even easier for your customers? How can you set and exceed expectations?

4) Add automation

With the right data integrated into your marketing platform, you’ll have everything you need to automate these events. You’ll know communications are going out to support customers along their journey.

Our anniversary restaurant might consider using special dates to trigger automated communications with the goal of bringing customers back for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or other special engagements.

How could it collect this data? For starters, when customers book their initial reservation, the restaurant needs to begin storing the reason for the reservation to qualify the recipient for a specific campaign.

One note of a caution: When you start thinking about all the potential ways to provide better communications to your customers throughout their relationship with your brand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Start small and develop a road map for the new programs to come online with success. Our professional services team can help your organization.

5) Measure performance

As you add automated programs, keep track of your key performance indicators. You have to go beyond opens, clicks, and visits – look for tangible results.

In the case of the restaurant, did its reservations increase? Does the number of repeat visits continue to climb? How can it increase total spend per reservation?

As you develop your KPIs, you can also include a scoring model to help gauge the performance of your database. Your scoring model can measure each customer in your database and score them based on their total spends, total visits or other engagements you deem as high value with your brand. Look for opportunities to upgrade customers in lower-performing segments or reward your best customers.

Customer service today is an expectation for all brands. Hopefully these five tips help you look for new ways to provide customer service by understanding your customers’ lifecycles and how best to support them along the way.

Related Resources:

1) Ebook: “15 Post-Purchase Emails that Build Loyalty and Drive Revenue

2) Tip Sheet: “7 Tips for Creating an Effective Modern-Day Loyalty Program

3) Video: “Using Post-Purchase Segmentation to Reward Best Customers


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