Thursday, 1 April 2010

Creating business-wide content engagement strategies to increase long term customer value

Was interested to read that  61% of client and 57% of agency respondents believe that intolerance for poor customer service would increase over the next 12 months in this article by Clare O’Brien a member of the cScape Customer Engagement Unit and co-founder of CDA
So much energy in online marketing and customer engagement is focused on building customer relationships for acquisition that the place where the real relationships are fixed or broken – customer services/customer support/account management/member services – is often sidelined at the planning and resourcing stage. Whatever it’s called, it’s the point at which the often expensively acquired customer is handed over to another part of the organisation.

Marketers know that this is a vulnerable situation. So why not – right from the initial concept when in an ideal world a content strategy is created – collaborate to ensure that the engagement established at the beginning of a relationship with a new customer is extended to maintaining and developing that relationship into long-term value?

The finding that leapt out at me from this year’s Customer Engagement Survey was the one that shouted: 61% of client and 57% of agency respondents believe that intolerance for poor customer service would increase over the next 12 months. The company figure has almost doubled since last year while the agency statistic is 15% higher. Combine this with the finding that almost 40% of clients are looking to use customer engagement strategies to achieve long-term customer value and it begins to look obvious that customer engagement is a business-wide concern.
In this new ‘me-centric’ rather than ‘brand-centric’ world people are bound to be less tolerant of unplanned, under-resourced, badly trained, disconnected, deaf-eared customer service. It’s even more unforgivable if good customer service isn’t made available right up front, online.
Broadly speaking, websites are geared towards selling; they’re not set up to answer questions from existing customers
Ten years after Godin pointed out that valuable ‘personal permission’ to market to someone could be cancelled as a result of a single incident of bad service or interaction we’re still making people hunt for contact information or returns processes, (tried that with Amazon lately?) Broadly speaking, websites are geared towards selling; they’re not set up to answer questions from existing customers.
People are realistic. They don’t expect perfection. It seems that one of the lowest cost and fastest routes to satisfying existing customers is to make it really obvious where to go for help; engaging them by positioning a visible and obvious ‘complaints’ button, for instance. Use customer engagement techniques to turn complaining into a positive experience rather than intensifying their negative feelings towards a brand by hiding it away.
More than ever we need content strategies that meet the needs of all constituents, and the organisation as a whole
We need to get away from the idea that websites are all about promoting and selling. This means bringing together an organisation’s selling and the servicing objectives, skills and experience into a single web presence that’s meaningful for all visitors. More than ever we need content strategies that meet the needs of all constituents, and the organisation as a whole.

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