Getting real with your customers
In troubled economic times, the need for management to receive accurate customer information more rapidly is increasingly critical to the success of companies’ marketing campaigns. Marketers have a multitude of media options available for switching on consumer emotions and engaging with their audience and selecting the correct channel to execute this is crucial, says Alan Walker, MD of Teletrack
It is fair to say that customer satisfaction is at the crux of any successful business. It is all very well having a good product, supply chain and marketing strategy but if it is not hitting the right note with customers then it simply won’t succeed. To this end, management information is becoming even more critical to the success of organisations during what is providing to be a very turbulent economic time and in many cases, the flow of management data isn’t getting through quick enough to respond to changes in demand.
Another critical issue facing many management teams is that often, the raw management information data collated will have been manipulated by an external agency, often for speed and ease of read, but sometimes this means that crucial information or trends can be missed by those not close to the organisation and its customers.
I have had many conversations with businesses who are frustrated pouring over the results of a ‘failed’ campaign and asking, what went wrong? Sadly, it is only after the money has been spent that these people start to look into why that particular campaign was a failure! It becomes a ‘lesson learnt’ for next time, but does nothing to soften the financial blow and investment already placed in that particular campaign.
Data vs the Dinosaur
Relying on out of date information to make strategic decisions about future campaigns is in my opinion, a strategy for the dinosaurs of the industry. Why rely on outdated information when you could be accessing customer insight in real time and making tweaks during a live campaign so that you can turn around a poorly performing campaign before it has a change to drain the budget to nil?
I don’t think that this attitude is intentional though. I think the reality is that most organisations simply aren’t aware that real time reporting is accessible to them, not without having to spend huge budgets on creating their own in house systems. The reality is that a marketer has a multitude of media options available for switching on consumer emotions and engaging with their audience and selecting the correct channel to execute this is a crucial element of success in the marketplace.
The customer reporting marketplace has expanded tremendously in recent years and now marketers have a plethora of options available to them. From telephone based responses, to online data capture and even the ability to upload images to support questionnaires via MMS, the ways in which data can be recorded are becoming more detailed and immediate and this can only be a good thing for both the organisation and its customers.
The Mobile Revolution
Perhaps one of the biggest steps forward has been the integration of mobile into the proposition. In many cases, it is now possible to collect qualitative, quantitative and textual responses via a personalised Web URL via a mobile, BlackBerry, PDA or PC. Total integration between mobile, web and telephone has meant that customers have complete discretion over how they prefer to present their information. Is it any wonder that quality and number of responses to multi-channel market research campaigns far exceed those obtained by their limited predecessors?
The Rise in Real Time
At Teletrack, we’ve seen a huge surge in customers in recent months wanting to take up real time surveys because they want to get their hands on the information quickly so that they can start responding to it immediately, strengthen their internal teams and get ahead of their competition.
The retail market in particular is changing at such pace that any delay in feeding this information back into the organisation could be having a detrimental effect on the customer experience but also on the motivation, morale and wellbeing of their staff, neither of which are good for business when you are trying to come out of a recession.
I’m a real fan of promoting ‘face to face’ customer engagement via portable kiosk style portal’s within stores, public areas and shopping malls. Here consumers are able to give valuable CRM and customer satisfaction information via a specially designed interactive area including an internet touch screen, phone or an SMS medium whereby the data can be returned directly and instantly to the client online and in real-time.
The brand, or its agency, is therefore then in a great position to respond promptly and directly to the customer, often resulting in engaging in a secondary more in-depth discussion with each customer. This is possibly due to the quality of the reports available to each client online which captures the phone number and IP address and includes charts and graphs to measure every question response.
Every organisation has their own definition of customer insight and customer engagement. But not all can deliver versatile and scalable ‘face to face’ activities that give their target audience a quality live experience of a brand. That’s what makes the idea of real time reporting so exciting and so relevant to doing business in today’s ever-complex climate.