By Rachel Serpa
The rise of social media has forever changed the nature of relationships between consumers and brands. Consumers are no longer content to listen to an automated customer service operator or gather around to flip through a catalogue with friends. They expect to be able to sound off about their experiences with services and to be answered quickly, and they demand the ability to share product reviews and recommendations with friends in real-time from any device.
This shift toward consumer engagement is forcing brands to stop thinking in terms of traditional marketing and sales opportunities. Instead, successful companies have started focusing their efforts on establishing authentic, long-term relationships with customers to drive genuine connectivity and repeat conversions. Here are three steps to help you grow genuine customer relationships that lead to increased brand loyalty and lifetime customer value.
Let them tell you who they are.
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. Consumers have generated 90% of the world’s data in the past two years by incessantly sharing what they like, need and want, in real-time (IBM). How do marketers even begin to sort through this ocean of data to pinpoint insights that are granular enough to effectively connect with customers on a relevant level?
Leveraging tools like social login allows you to easily identify your best current and potential customers with permission-based access to their unique social profiles. This is a mutually beneficial strategy that offers customers a convenient way to authenticate their identities on your website or mobile app using their existing social accounts, and also provides brands with invaluable customer insights. This type of identity access is key in building the unique, comprehensive user profiles necessary to establish authentic relationships with consumers.
Personalize their experience.
Once you recognize and understand customers’ unique identities, you can begin to develop more intimate relationships with them by personalizing their experiences with your brand across marketing channels. For example, if a ticket provider knows that Jim loves classic rock and lives in San Francisco, it can send him a personalized email featuring discounts toward rock concerts in his area. Obviously, this level of personalization makes Jim feel much more connected to this brand than if he were to receive a generic email promoting tickets to a random show.
Personalization plays a large role in customer satisfaction and is an essential element in moving from connect to convert. In fact, 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels (MyBuys). Leveraging customer insights in conjunction with social features like gamification makes it possible for customers to interact with your brand on a more engaging and personalized level across various marketing channels.
Establishing authentic relationships with consumers doesn’t stop the first time they connect with your brand – it’s a continuous cycle. Your customers’ needs, interests and behaviors are consistently evolving, and successful brands never stop listening and updating experiences to make sure they stay relevant. Think about it this way: if a customer suddenly chooses to become vegetarian, whether you offer him reward points toward a steak dinner or a popular new vegetarian restaurant in his area will make all the difference in maintaining a relevant relationship with him.
Implementing a connected consumer management solution that not only collects but seamlessly updates customer information in real-time allows marketers to focus on harnessing these insights to create relevant and personalized strategies. Dedicating effort and attention to continuously nurturing genuine and mutually beneficial relationships with consumers is the key to establishing brand loyalty and lifetime customer value.
In the age of the connected consumer, it’s time for brands to make establishing authentic customer relationships the priority. No matter the end marketing or sales goal, by focusing on creating relevant experiences for customers, brands will be successful in connecting with and converting users time and time again.