Remember the time when a loyalty card equated directly to a loyal customer? Well those days are well and truly gone, with almost all shoppers decidedly more fickle and savvy when it comes to purchasing, well, just about anything. Access to information has never been more readily available, and your customers demand a highly personalised and tailored service, and they’re demanding it right now.
Whether you’re in the business of products or services, don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a customer has chosen you once (or more), that they will have any qualms upping and leaving you for someone doing things just that little bit better. If you want their custom, then you better really get to know your customer, personalise every journey they make, and make ‘the exceptional’ your norm (oh, and you better make sure others are saying good things about you as well!). As we’ve heard time and again, every business now needs to be a technology business, and regardless how great your people are, you need the most clever tech to create a customer experience that will be recognised and remembered.
Trend #four of our collaborative Conversity and Sarah Cameron retail and telco whitepaper looks at the rise of the 5-star differentiator and exceptional personalisation. We covet brands and businesses getting it right, and highlight where your time and effort should be focused if you’re going to stay ahead of the competition in 2018. If you haven’t read it, you should. And fast.
Time conscious shoppers are motivated by an experience that is personal to their needs. They are happy to switch brands and dip in and out of loyalty schemes, plus they would rather consult peer reviews than trust brand advertising. How can you stand out in the crowd?
’56% customers are more likely to shop at a retailer or online that recognises them by name’ – Source: Accenture
THE STARBUCKS APP,
GETTING SMART INSIGHT RIGHT
You walk towards a Starbucks and your phone pings with an offer for a free breakfast muffin with your one shot skinny cappuccino. They know you like soya milk and the muffin is low fat. You click ‘yes’, arrive and bypass the queue to collect your personalised offer from the friendly Barista who has it ready and knows your name. Your Starbucks account is charged, no cash required. You can rate the service and share. Bravo Starbucks. 5-star personalisation and service.
Bravo Starbucks. 5-star personalisation and service.
Customers now expect data held on their purchasing habits to inform personalized promotions, but it frustrates them no end when retailers get it wrong. Who likes to receive offers for baby clothes when their child is 10? Keep up or expect them to opt out!
GET PERSONAL AT THE RIGHT TIME
Personalised offers can be based on a customer’s purchase history, but to stand out base them on customer needs. Capturing needs and preferences is key and in a complex sale requiring lots of small decisions an intelligent guided selling platform will do this. Linked to CRM and ‘next best action’ it can surface offers in a timely relevant fashion, online or in store.
EFFORTLESSLY EVER AFTER
Your last communication with a customer is arguably more important than any other. Effortless after sales are something retail winners need to think long and hard about. Customers hate jumping through hoops, so make your returns as simple as possible, and make them free.
When did you last book a hotel or buy a washing machine without checking the reviews first? The classic Millennial characteristics of ‘community’ and ‘sharing’ have driven customers to trust peer group reviews over marketing and PR. 5-star reviews, ‘people who bought this also liked this’, ‘ if you like this book you’ll love this’ – often referred to as the Amazon Pitch. Borrow with pride, it works!
Intelligent data mining to inform personalisation is key for the future of retail, but it must be timely, relevant and easy to action. Given the challenges of retailer legacy IT systems and the cost to replace them, we’ll see more cloud-based platforms that are compatible and able to present relevant offers to the customer and advisor at the right time.
THE SWITCH MENTALITY
Open a customer’s purse and you’re likely to drown under a sea of loyalty cards. Our advice is to capture the data you can but no longer assume a loyalty card equates to a sustainable faithful following. Comparison websites have completely changed the way customers view loyalty, they expect to shop around and invest time to switch to get the best deal; so surprise them and offer it in the first place.
See their fickle, switch mentality as an opportunity to exceed expectations and win fans from other retailers who are failing to perform.
We’d love to hear what you think, how do you inspire loyalty in your business? How do you provide exceptional personalization to customers? Just how important do you think 5-star differentiations are?
Comment and let us know.
The Conversity Team.