According to Forbes, 90% of CEOs believe their customers have the greatest impact on their business. And yet, so many companies still don’t have a well-defined customer management strategy.
In the ever-evolving digital landscape, your business faces intense competition, a vast array of new sales technologies and marketing tools, and unpredictable consumers with rapidly changing interests. With this in mind, customer management is more critical than ever before.
But what is customer management, exactly? And how can you devise an effective plan that incorporates omnichannel marketing to build stronger customer relationships?
In this article, we’ll tell you what customer management is, why it matters, and then we’ll explore XY powerful customer management strategies you can use to increase customer loyalty and grow your business.
What is Customer Management?
The definition of customer management is the processes, practices, systems, and applications that a company uses to manage its relationships with existing customers and new prospects. This concept is also known as customer relationship management (CRM),
Typically, many large companies will use a CRM software system to collect, store, and organize customer data, which helps to simplify customer management at scale. However, even small companies use CRM platforms today, as they provide many great benefits when it comes to improving customer retention rates and driving sales revenue.
The customer journey doesn’t end with a sale. In fact, with the right customer management strategies in place, the initial point of conversion is just the beginning of a new, lasting relationship with a new customer who can soon become a loyal brand advocate. When customer management is done right, you can encourage people to return to buy more of your products and services, time and time again.
3 Essential Elements of a Customer Management Strategy
Before you dive in headfirst with some of the customer management strategies on our list, it’s a wise move to make sure you have the groundwork done. Here are three essential aspects of a customer management strategy that you should keep in mind:
- Understand your customers’ journey
- Focus on the user experience
- Remember your customers are people — not numbers
Take a good look at your audience personas and whatever historical data you have on hand from previous purchases, site visitors, and older campaigns. All of this information is crucial to develop a good understanding of why some people become customers, why some of them return, and why some of them never buy from you at all.
Let’s take a closer look at the three aspects of a customer management strategy, as these steps lay the foundation for better customer retention and customer loyalty over time:
Understand your customers’ journey
The days of a simple, single-channel journey to the point of purchase are long gone. Now, businesses spread their brand message to reach prospects on multiple channels. From email and social media to blogs, apps, podcasts, and much more, marketers have a rich arsenal of tools, platforms, and technologies that they can use to do business.
In this omnichannel marketing era, customers expect to be able to move from one touchpoint to another seamlessly. They want to be able to pick up where they left off, researching a company’s website before commenting on their Facebook, downloading the mobile app, before making a purchase on desktop.
So, how can you leverage this to your advantage?
If you research your customers to get a clear picture of their purchase path, you will be able to identify any friction in the customer journey. You can pinpoint areas that need to be smoother, and also determine the best channels and aspects of your campaigns that help to deliver the ROI you desire. Doing this ahead of time will help you improve customer management as your company scales.
Focus on the user experience
People expect quick solutions online. If they want something, they want to be able to get it almost instantly. It should be a smooth and enjoyable transaction, with minimum fuss or input required from the customer. What we’re talking about here is the user experience (UX).
Whether it’s your app, your website, or a dedicated landing page for your new product, the UX design must be streamlined to make everything as easy and enjoyable as possible. For example, you might think about the following aspects:
- Mobile responsive website themes
- Easy subscription with just an email address and first name needed
- Guest checkout
- Website search feature
- Personalized product recommendations
That last one is massive now. According to Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history.
If you want to improve your customer relationships, your customer management strategy must have a strong focus on delivering a fast and personalized user experience across all your channels.
Remember your customers are people — not numbers
With all this talk of customer management so intrinsically linked to data, it’s hard to sweep metrics and analytics figures under the rug. However, while data insights definitely help, it’s important not to be ruled by numbers.
Remember that your customers are people. Therefore, they wish to be treated as such, and they appreciate relatable, personable communications, and content that addresses their needs. Simple things like using your customer’s first name in emails can go a long way.
Personalization makes a big difference, so your business shouldn’t lose sight of that, no matter how much marketing technology and AI is in play. In the end, excellent brand storytelling with a personable angle can generate much better results than any tech-heavy, cold brand ever will.
9 Essential Customer Management Strategies to Supercharge Customer Loyalty in 2020
- 1. Email Sequences
- 2. Live Chat Customer Service
- 3. Personalized SMS Marketing
- 4. Segmentation
- 5. Push Notifications
- 6. Tailored Landing Pages
- 7. Influencer Partnerships
- 8. Interactive Content
- 9. Data Security
In a data-driven age, marketers can leverage insights from CRM tools to guide their customer management strategies. If you’re keen to increase customer loyalty, here are nine tactics to think about trying in 2020.
Customer Management Strategy #1: Email Sequences
There are over 3.8 billion global email users, which presents a massive, prosperous audience for virtually business, regardless of what product or service you offer. The beauty of email marketing is that it offers your business a direct line of communication straight to the inbox of customers or new leads. As a result, you can escape the cluttered noise on social media to speak directly with people in a one-to-one conversational style.
Email is inherently personal, and the more personalization you use in your emails, the more likely it is that people will read them. Over time, this form of communication is an effective customer management tactic that boosts engagement,
Customer Management Strategy #2: Live Chat Customer Service
In 2019, the live chat went mainstream, and all the evidence suggests that customers love it. No longer do people have to wait on hold to speak to customer service reps. Instead, they can instantly connect with agents to get fast solutions to any queries or problems. Live chat goes beyond trouble-shooting, too, as many brands use it to bolster sales campaigns, giving customers the added information they need to guide their purchasing decisions.
People like to feel that a brand cares about them. Live chat facilitates a quick, personable way of interacting with customers, helping to forge stronger bonds, and, ultimately, foster customer loyalty. When you consider that HelpScout asserts that loyal customers are worth ten times as much as the value of a one-off customer, it makes live chat an easy choice for your customer management plans.
Customer Management Strategy #3: Personalized SMS Marketing
Email may still be a force, but in 2020, text messaging is the one to watch. Instant messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp aren’t just for keeping in touch with your friends. Today, they are valuable marketing and sales channels that companies can use to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Omniconvert ascertains that text messages garner an impressive 45% response rate, compared to 6% for emails. Furthermore, 95-98% of consumers read their text messages almost immediately, demonstrating an unrivaled level of engagement. If you are trying to break into a market with a lot of Gen Z and millennial consumers, bulk text messaging is sure to be one of the best customer management strategies to build stronger relationships with your target audience.
Customer Management Strategy #4: Segmentation
You can take email and text messaging to the next level by implementing audience segmentation, which is when you create smaller niche focus groups within your broader audience. These segments group prospects with shared interests so you can improve your targeting with tailored content specific to the needs and interests of that group.
A leading customer relationship management platform like EngageBay makes segmentation easy to implement and monitor. Doing this will help you reap the benefits of customer management at a deeper level, as you can devise personalized campaigns for each segment, and track key performance metrics to determine the impact of your efforts for each.
For example, a shoe store could run separate campaigns for men’s shoes, women’s shoes, and children’s shoes. Each of these could be segmented further into sports shoes and dress shoes, allowing for granular insights and a laser-focus on specific types of customers.
Research indicates that segmentation has a direct impact on customer loyalty, as people appreciate the focused marketing that caters to their specific needs and interests.
Customer Management Strategy #5: Push Notifications
Statista projects that there will be 3.5 billion smartphone users in 2020, marking a growth rate of almost 30% since 2016.
The surge in smartphone use yields many benefits for the modern marketer. Aside from the SMS and instant messaging apps we mentioned earlier, you can also target customers with push notifications. This permission-based channel enjoyed significant growth in the last couple of years — 52% of smartphone users now use them.
Brands can use push notifications for customer management in a myriad of ways, including:
- Direct traffic to your social media channels
- Promote products and services
- Run exclusive offers
- Engage leads who aren’t currently on your website, encouraging them to visit it
- Follow up with people who abandoned a cart on your site.
The easy opt-in nature of push notifications makes it an effective way of building an audience, and you can easily track the core metrics to determine the efficacy of your content.
Customer Management Strategy #6: Tailored Landing Pages
The purpose of a landing page is to convert your visiting prospects into leads. As such, everything in the design must work together to drive people to your call-to-action and elicit the desired response. You may want them to subscribe to your email newsletter, download an ebook, or purchase a product. Whatever it may be, a landing page is a powerful sales tool and a useful instrument in customer management.
Sometimes, a business can have more than one target audience. Quite often, you can create content for several distinct buyer personas. The problem is that some of your content may not be of interest to one persona. With landing pages, you can dig deeper than page views to gauge the level of interest your audience has in your products and services.
If you create a separate landing page for each persona, personalized to target their needs and interests, you will have a viable tool to aid your customer management. You can monitor views and see how many people completed the form.
Bonus tip: If you want to increase your conversion rates on landing pages, try installing a live chat feature. A customer rep or AI chatbot can assist and answer any queries, helping convince more leads to convert.
Customer Management Strategy #7: Influencer Partnerships
Consumers don’t trust brands as easily as they once did. In the digital age, social proof counts for a lot, as most consumers value the word of someone close to them more than anything that some faceless corporation has to say.
This reality has paved the way for influencer marketing to become a vital asset for many companies, as these individuals hold a celebrity-like status with a niche audience. Brands can partner with influencers to market their products and services, gaining trust with the audience through the recommendation from the influencer.
Customer management is all about building relationships, and ultimately, its overarching goal is to establish trust with your target market. When you bring influencers on board, you can expedite this process to cultivate a focused community around your brand. Rather than forcing sales promotions on new prospects, you can leverage the standing of key influencers to build brand recognition in a less intrusive fashion. This approach makes it easier to move people along your funnel, as prospects will be more open to offers when they see market leaders and influencers trust your brand.
Customer Management Strategy #8: Interactive Content
One of the biggest digital marketing trends in 2020 will be the rise of interactive content. While traditional content forms like blogs and email aren’t going anywhere yet, there is an undeniable surge in interest for content that offers an immersive experience.
Some examples of interactive content include quizzes, polls, surveys, and interactive infographics or videos. You can also use augmented reality in videos to add polls or to create a “Choose Your Own Adventure” experience, similar to Black Mirror’s hit episode, Bandersnatch.
Learn More: How Netflix is Winning at Modern Marketing
It’s easy to see why interactive content is so popular now, as it is a fun and fresh way of connecting with customers, offering them a chance to be more involved in the buying process. Your business can use polls and online survey tools to get valuable feedback from customers, and to trial new ideas for content and promotions.
Customer Management Strategy #9: Data Security
Unless you’ve been on a digital detox for the past couple of years, you’re sure to have heard a lot about data security and consumer privacy. Companies in all industries have been on high alert since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) were updated in 2018, heralding a new era of stricter privacy laws regarding consumer data.
Major data breaches at digital giants like Yahoo and Facebook did little to nurture trust with consumers and only served to motivate more companies into taking customer management seriously, especially when it concerns personal information.
The Centrify and the Ponemon Institute report 65% of people claim a data breach would make them lose trust in an organization, and 27% have stopped dealing with a company because of a breach. Losing the trust of your customers can have devastating financial consequences. As 92% of companies store customer information on their CRM database, there aren’t too many that can take a nonchalant attitude to data security in 2020.
CRM platforms like EngageBay go hand-in-hand with privacy policies like the GDPR, as they aim to build greater trust with customers. Taking a professional, organized approach to how your business handles consumer data will not only enhance customer management, but it will also show people you are serious about doing things the right way. When they recognize that, it is going to help you build customer loyalty.
Customer Retention vs. Customer Acquisition
Not only does a great customer management strategy nurture customer loyalty, but it also saves your business a lot of time, money, and effort. After all, customer retention is much more effective than customer acquisition.
Research indicates that acquiring a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Furthermore, focusing on customer management strategies is a worthy endeavor, as SmallBizTrends report that a 5% increase in customer retention can potentially drive a 95% growth in profit margins.
The reason for this incredible return on investment (ROI) from customer retention comes down to familiarity. Consumers are more likely to do business with a brand they already know and trust. According to ClickZ, you have a 60-70% chance of completing a sale to an existing customer, compared to a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect.
And here’s another thing:
If you don’t nurture customer relationships, you can lose your valuable customers – forever. Almost 80% of consumers in a recent study agreed that it only takes a single negative customer service experience to make them switch to a competing company.
In 2020, customers have a vast array of options to choose from, in any industry. There aren’t many niches that are devoid of competition. As such, brands must step up to deliver a customer experience that people will remember. Better yet, it should be an experience they will want to return to enjoy again, and ideally, one that they will share with their friends and family.
When your business puts the customer experience top-of-mind, you can establish a marketing funnel that goes beyond the first sale, and looks to nurture customer loyalty with every individual. This approach is the foundation of effective, high-value customer management.
Improve Customer Management to Grow Your Business
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains that “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
Here are a few truths about the world we live in now:
- People worry about their personal data online.
- People trust influencers and people they know more than they trust big companies.
- People want smooth, streamlined omnichannel experiences with content that is interactive and personalized.
If you want to address all three of these truths, customer management needs to be a top priority in 2020 and beyond. With the insights in this article, you can improve your customer retention rates and build customer loyalty that earns you more from each customer.
People will see how much you value your customers, their personal details, and their experience. Better yet, they will talk about it with others. Not only will this lead to a higher customer lifetime value for each person, but it will also grow your customer base. As you continue to experiment with innovative customer management strategies and to leverage the power of a great CRM platform like EngageBay, your business will grow into a brand that people love and trust.
So, how will you improve customer management this year?