customer engagement issue four
M U L T I C H A N N E L C U S T O M E R E N G AG E M E N T 29TH JUNE 2011 LONDON
directorsforum www.customerengagementclub.com Directors Forums A series of one day Directors Forums focusing on compelling business issues and challenges which will help drive business performance and improve customer and employee engagement. Each Forum agenda includes; keynotes, case studies, independent insights, a panel debate and networking functions. Forums for 2011: · Multichannel Customer Engagement Directors Forum 29th June, London REGISTER · Technology & Cloud Solutions for Customer Engagement 27th September, London · Customer Engagement in Financial Services 13th October, London · Online, Social & Mobile Customer Engagement 10th November, London · Employee & Customer Engagement 8th December, London Free to attend for : Customer Service Directors/Senior Management, Contact Centre Directors/Senior Management, HR Directors/Senior Management, Marketing Directors/Senior Management, Social Media Directors/Senior Management, CRM Directors/Senior Management and all others responsible for customer engagement and employee engagement strategies and operations across all channels. Service Providers & Vendors are welcome to attend upon payment of a delegate fee of £495+VAT (Fee includes lunch, all sessions, tea/coffee, delegate pack and networking function)
For more information go to: www.customerengagementclub.com or contact Chris Wood on: +44 (0) 1932 341828 For speaking opportunities at the Directors Forums contact Steve Hurst email@example.com For all other enquiries contact Chris Wood firstname.lastname@example.org
customer engagement Customer Engagement magazine is published by the Customer Engagement Club, the organisers of the Customer Engagement Directors Forums. To join the Club (free membership) and receive weekly Alerts, Digital Magazines and Invitations to the Directors Forums go to www.customerengagementclub.com Editorial Director: Steve Hurst email@example.com Sales & Marketing Director: Chris Wood firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0) 1932 341828 Customer Engagement ©ICT Communications Ltd
4-6 Customers and their behaviour are changing and changing fast. They know far more about the organisations who they deal with than ever before and they interact across the channels of their choosing than ever before be they offline, online, social or mobile. Dr Nicola Millard reports on the rise and rise of the ‘autonomous customer’
7-9 A new management discipline is emerging – one that is based on the principles of behavioural economics. This approach seeks to complement traditional economic theory and fill some of the gaps that are simply down to the anomalies and emotions of being human says Ed O’Boyle Global Practice Leader at Gallup Consulting
10-11 The leading independent social and political research body YouGov recently carried out some research, sponsored by Interactive Intelligence, into UK attitudes towards social media. It used a relatively large sample size of 4080 people, and the findings were illuminating. Dave Paulding of Interactive Intelligence reports
14-16 Throughout history, game-changing breakthroughs have succeeded because they give people what they want rather than what they expect – whether it’s First Direct with 24x7 banking or the Sex Pistols with punk rock. Matt Manners believes we are experiencing just such a breakthrough with customer engagement, innovation and advocacy. Here he talks exclusively to Customer Engagement Club editorial director Steve Hurst
17-18 You never know where you'll meet your next customer. You could be on a plane, in line for coffee or leaving a meeting with another prospect. It starts with a simple conversation. How you choose to begin the relationship with new contacts, and what you learn about them, will have a direct impact on how well you stay connected with them and, ultimately, whether or not you bring them onboard as customers. mardevdm2 suggests four keys steps to onboarding success
19-22 The Customer Engagement Club’s latest live event had as its theme ‘How the rules of B2B Customer are changing’ and delegates were able to feel for themselves the winds of that change and learn how to implement winning crosschannel B2B strategies to gain competitive advantage. Customer Engagement Club editorial director Steve Hurst reports
23 Organisations need to deliver consistent customer experience across all channels, online, offline, social and mobile for competitive advantage. Customers have more power and increasingly expect to be able to choose the channels through which they do business with you. The key is to be relevant and to understand what the customer wants
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Customers and their behaviour are changing and changing fast. They know far more about the organisations who they deal with than ever before and they interact across the channels of their choosing more than ever before be they offline, online, social or mobile. Dr Nicola Millard reports on the rise and rise of the ‘autonomous customer’ data (both official and unofficial) on products, prices, opinions and reputations. This can be bewildering to a brain which, when saturated with choice, tends to freeze. The Hoosiers put it well last year when they sang from the heart, “stop giving me choices”.
This study by Davies/ Hickman surveyed 1000 customers in both the US and the UK. It paints a portrait of a customer who has become a “shopper swot”, who has become supercharged by their smart phone and who is loyal not to any specific brand but to companies that make it easy to do business with them. In the transparent and data rich world of the internet, choice is the one thing that we often have too much of as customers. We are often exposed to a torrent of
The inevitable result of this excess of data is a very natural human reaction to ensure that we get the right thing for us – we seek advice. Despite being time and energy challenged as well as being super sensitive to value for money (especially in these tough economic times), we are spending time doing our homework to ensure that we make the right purchasing decision. 86% of us agree that we plan and research most of our major purchases.
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In the land of the customer, a change is afoot. In fact, we seem to be changing a lot faster than the organisations that serve us. The extent to which our behaviour has shifted has been explored in recent research from BT and Avaya called ‘The Autonomous Customer’.
Dr Nicola Millard
“The scariest behaviours are being exhibited by smart phone users. These consumers are using the full power of a device that has access to millions of apps, knows where the user is and is continuously connected”
Online key starting point Close on eight in ten (78%) of customers surveyed said that they started online (often with a search engine rather than on any particular corporate website) to do research about significant purchases or to seek advice if they have a problem. They also said that they enjoy it if they can then serve themselves, as long it is easy to do so. This is because they felt that good self service puts them in control (58% agreed) and that no one tries to sell them anything (59% agreed).
However, the assumption that self service takes calls away from the contact centre was found to be only partially true. 59% of customers said that, when they did eventually contact an organisation, they had more complex and emotive issues than before. This can be a challenge for the contact centre advisor, particularly when 79% of customers say that they often know more about the product or problem than they do. The frequent customer comment is that they “get really nice people who can’t actually do anything for me!”. 93% of us are more than happy to have their call transferred to a person who can do something. The challenge for contact centres is that they are getting less of the easy and transactional calls – because self service often filters them out – and more of the challenging and incendiary stuff. This may mean less volume but more length and higher
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“Connected customers require connected organisations to respond to their ever more complex needs. The challenge for organisations is to ensure that they are easy to do business with across all channels”
expertise required. Rather than simply processing transactions, they need to be adding value to the customer – especially since 86% of customers agree that it is often the interaction with the customer service person that determines whether they will do business with the organisation again. This challenges the notion of the multiskilled generalist advisor and also, potentially, blurs the conventional distinction between front and back office functions as well as between contact centre and branch/store. The customer is actually looking to be speed dated with the right ‘networked expert’ to solve their problem, regardless of where that expert happens to be.
Smart phone customers scary The scariest behaviours, however, are being exhibited by smart phone users. These consumers are using the full power of a device that has access to millions of apps, knows where the user is and is continuously connected. From bar code scanning to using location based searches, these customers are being supercharged and are presenting some significant challenges to organisations that dare to serve them! Far from just relying on the power of the online world, these customers are, counter intuitively, also calling contact centres more than non smart phone customers. Smart phone customers are actually using all channels more and, as a consequence, are spotting discrepancies and inconsistencies between channels easily. They are challenging the differences between what front line people say and what’s on the website (the smart phone customer’s mantra is (as they wave their phone under the poor front line person’s nose) “well, that’s not what it says on your website!!”) With smart phone penetration in the UK lurking at just under 50% currently, these are the prototype customers of the future – and we may have created a monster! However, when it actually comes to proactively contacting companies for advice in the future, some distinctly unfuturistic channels still seem to rule the roost – phone, email, internet, face-to-face and even post are ranked higher than the new, emerging channels such as webchat, video or forums. Webchat is a channel that is gaining in popularity. There are two reasons for this: customers like it because they generally start online and they don’t have to go and find a phone and a phone number to call on and organisations like it because they can create efficiencies by assigning more than one simultaneous webchat to a single advisor. Only 10% of customers selected social media as a preferred channel for future contact with organisations (despite the hype). However, social media is a public and searchable channel. It can punch above its weight in terms of reputation and virality, especially if one of the 10% of influential Twitterati (typically celebrities, politicians, business leaders or journalists with millions of followers on Twitter) starts to talk about you behind your back.
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It may not be the first place that customers go to let off steam but, especially if other channels fail them, it can be a very public airing of your companies’ failings. 83% of us are using these ratings and reviews to check the quality of products and services online – whether it is making sure a hotel is right for us, a laptop is reliable or a bank account is offering a good deal.
Customers love helping each other A more bizarre phenomenon is that customers are often willing to help other customers out on forums and social media sites simply because they enjoy doing so. 37% of customers surveyed said that they had posted reviews on websites such as Amazon and Trip Advisor. We know from personal experience on BT’s own forums that there are some very dedicated and enthusiastic problem solvers out there (one of whom has spent 76 days of his own time solving problems on our community boards). In circumstances like this, it is often best for the organisation to simply get out of the way and learn from their customers. The contact centre can be a powerful tool for proactive engagement on forums and social networks since they are often in the best position to help the customer with their issue. However, social media issues require a fast response from an empowered person who can shift the conversation into a more private channel like phone or email in order to get more personal details about the customer and the nature of their issue. The contact centre advisor may also need to tap into the networked expertise within their organisation if they need to involve legal, PR or even the CEO’s office in solving the customer’s problem. Connected customers require connected organisations to respond to their ever more complex needs. The challenge for organisations is to ensure that they are easy to do business with across all channels and that their front line are equipped and empowered with the right ‘networked expertise’. This often requires a shift away from a lot of the familiar models of transactional service and into ‘service as unusual’ that moves in customer rather than corporate time. Dr Nicola J Millard is Customer Experience Futurologist at BT and is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Multichannel Customer Engagement Directors Forum on June 29. Click here to register for this FREE event:
For more information go to: www.customerengagementclub.com
A new management discipline is emerging – one that is based on the principles of behavioural economics. This approach seeks to complement traditional economic theory and fill some of the gaps that are simply down to the anomalies and emotions of being human says Ed O’Boyle Global Practice Leader at Gallup Consulting
Leading behavioural economists such as Daniel Kahneman, Robert Shiller, Angus Deaton and Richard Thaler have emphasised the interplay between rational, perceptual and emotional processes in human decision making and economic behaviour, suggesting that the rational component may account for only 30%. There is plenty of evidence of this in B2C transactions – the demand for aspirational brands, latest and greatest communications gadgetry and our willingness to pay substantially more for the ‘right’ label. However, less recognised is the role of emotions in B2B relationships. It is commonly thought that B2B customers are exceptionally rational, focusing predominantly on price, speed and
efficiency. Yet this assumption is probably completely and dangerously wrong. A recent Gallup study across thousands of business relationships showed only 22% of B2B customer to be engaged and only 13% to be fully engaged. This is because out of the companies studied, only very few actively focused on engaging their B2B client relationships, assuming that their clients’ priorities are price, speed and efficiency. The truth is that B2B clients may in fact be even more open to becoming engaged, simply due to the scale and risk that is associated with a business purchase decision. A disappointing coffee may cost you a few pounds and leave you craving a strong Americano but a corporate catering contract which fails to wow your guests has much further reaching implications – for you personally and for the business.
Emotional and rational satisfaction Business leaders and academics agree that while customer satisfaction may be a necessary foundation for building strong customer relationships, by itself it is a poor predictor of future customer behaviour and financial performance. Our research
Our emotional, cognitive and perceptual processes place limits on how rationally we can view the world around us. These limits have a profound effect on the decisions we make and subsequently on the way organisations need to think about how their employees and customers make decisions and ultimately behave.
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“Customers who are satisfied fall into two distinct groups; those that are emotionally satisfied and those who are rationally satisfied. Emotionally satisfied customers have a strong emotional attachment to the organisation whilst rationally satisfied customers do not”
suggests that customers who are satisfied fall into two distinct groups; those that are emotionally satisfied and those who are rationally satisfied. Emotionally satisfied customers have a strong emotional attachment to the organisation whilst rationally satisfied customers do not. Further, this research reveals that emotionally satisfied customers deliver significantly enhanced value to the organisation, for example they buy more products or services and stay longer with the business. This emotional piece is a real differentiator in terms of predicting future customer behaviour. Simply put, customers who are only rationally satisfied behave no differently than customers who are dissatisfied. So what is the emotional piece? Certainly it has a lot to do with relationships but whether in a B2C or B2B environment, customer engagement is built on four hierarchical needs. The baseline requirement is rational satisfaction, focusing on satisfying the transactional aspects of the relationship – price, speed, efficiency.
Trust is the key Building confidence really comes down to whether the client believes you to be trustworthy. Do you consistently deliver what you say you will do? The next step is around integrity and whether clients feel they are treated the way they ought to be. According to The Ritz-Carlton’s CEO, Simon Cooper, ‘when it comes to customers, feelings are facts’. Can you be relied on to fix problems properly and quickly? Customer engagement describes the health of the relationship between the client and the brand. Our research shows that every time you interact with a client they become a little more or a little less engaged – they never stay the same. Therefore, contact initiated due to a problem if handled very well, can boost confidence. Interestingly, the pride element is less about your company and more about what is says about the client. Does a partnership with Brand X say positive things about me and my role? Finally, passion – this is perhaps the hardest element to envision in a B2B relationship – and whilst hard to achieve passionate customers are lifers, vocal advocates and describe their partnership with you as a perfect and irreplaceable fit.
Getting these transactional deliverables right is non-negotiable, literally they are the least you have to do. To take the relationship further and start building engagement, companies must instil a sense of confidence, demonstrate its integrity and create pride and passion around its brand and product or service offering.
Emotion the golden connection
These four elements – confidence, integrity, price and passion we call the customer engagement hierarchy, where each element represents a specific set of activities that meet customers’ emotional needs.
So how do you create engagement in a B2B environment? This involves taking a disciplined approach to identify what exactly builds customer engagement whilst maintaining the brand promise that made you attractive in the first place.
There are five levels of customer engagement with a brand
Building brand relationships
Passion is found when a brand is perfectly suited for the customer. Passion is about being irreplaceable
Pride results when a brand is a public expression of who you are or who you wish to be
Integrity is about doing the right thing. Mistakes happen in all companies, but the best companies turn them into opportunities
Managing emotional connections
Can’t imagine a world without Perfect company for people like me
Treats with respect Feel proud to be a customer
Fair resolution of any problems Always treats me fairly
Does it connect?
Customer acquisition (”connecting”)
Confidence is typically the first step in the development of Environmental Attachment Rational Loyalty is the foundation of Customer Engagement
They are literally worth their weight in gold – a customer with a strong emotional connection to your company represents an average 23% premium in terms of profitability, revenue and relationship growth over average customers according to Gallup research.
Confidence Rational Loyalty
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Always delivers on promise Name I can always trust Overall Satisfaction Likelihood to Continue Likelihood to Recommend
Connect Compelling Credible
Does it engage?
Customer retention (”engaging”) Passion Pride Integrity Confidence
customer engagement The next step is about creating ‘impact’. Impact occurs when the B2B company, through its products and services and depth of interaction with the customer, meaningfully and positively changes the customer’s business. Impact sounds something like, ‘This company really knows and understands my business – my priorities and challenges and brings me credible ideas on how to achieve or address them. My relationship with them enables me to innovate, be more efficient, manage costs and go after new business opportunities.’ Companies who achieve this have moved from a transactional relationship – price based supplier – to engaged relationship – trusted advisor. This status distinction provides a “stickiness” that is difficult for competitors to duplicate, often because it is based on information that other providers will not have and it more than offsets the value of any proposed transactional benefit – i.e. a price reduction.”
Early warning signs Given the long and sometimes inconsistent purchasing cycles in B2B relationships and the multiple layers of customer stakeholders a B2B company deals with, it is sometime easy to miss early warning signs regarding the status of a relationship. Without a disciplined and regular process for taking the temperature of relationships, problems can be discovered only when the client has announced it is leaving or reducing the contract size. Most critically these relationships have to be measured and managed locally. Evaluating the strength of a customer relationship should include evaluating how the relationship has evolved, views from the customer on the level and nature of the impact the B2B company has delivered, an assessment of the performance of the team members, opportunities to develop and improve, and the customers perception of your strengths and weaknesses. Much of this information has to come directly from the client and we have found even the most elusive and introverted contacts to be forthcoming if exploring how the strength of a business relationship can be improved to their benefit. Companies often promote their own customer-focus which does not always feel very authentic and can be incredibly irritating particularly if you have experienced a poorly resolved problem. However, the side-effect of a very disciplined and local focus on engagement, where account by account companies consider what needs to change is that companies do become truly more customer-centric. In every sense, one size does not fit all. Similarly, there is little sense in investing as much effort in engaging small companies with limited growth potential, as your largest clients with huge opportunity to expand the relationship. The most engaged clients we have studied are where the teams intentionally and proactively manage and prioritise their greatest growth and profit producing relationships. That is the key to an impactful B2B customer engagement strategy. Ed O’Boyle is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Customer Engagement Club Multichannel Customer Engagement Directors Forum in London on June 29. Click here to register for this FREE event:
For more information go to: www.customerengagementclub.com
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Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence
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The leading independent social and political research body YouGov recently carried out some research, sponsored by Interactive Intelligence, into UK attitudes towards social media. It used a relatively large sample size of 4080 people, and the findings were illuminating. Dave Paulding of Interactive Intelligence reports
That means there could be 10 million people ready to tell all their online friends something about your company, good or bad. That is a critical message for businesses everywhere. As we have seen with the recent case of the
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footballer and his super-injunction, once news gets into the social media then even the threat of legal process cannot protect you. PR spin is definitely not going to help.
Must be taken seriously Businesses have to take social media seriously. And they should: this is a direct line to what customers are thinking. No, it is not scientifically validated market research and yes, the respondents are a self-selecting vocal minority. But it is a large minority â€“ potentially a third of your customers â€“ and it is immediate.
We know from Facebook itself that half the country around 30 million people - have a presence on this leading social media site. What the YouGov study revealed is that a third of users are likely or very likely to post their opinions about a brand or company. 31% said they would post positive comments, 32% said they would use Facebook for negative thoughts on a business.
You know instantly what they are thinking, because that is how people use social media. Because friends and followers pick up on what is said, you can see how the market responds. Is the compliment or complaint a trend or a one-off – social media can tell you, very quickly and at low cost. Going back to the very carefully validated sample in the YouGov study. 61% of respondents said that, if they were guaranteed a quick response, they would consider communicating with a brand or company using social media instead of other, more traditional methods. Is your contact centre set up to monitor and respond to social media? There is no reason why it should not. The IT investment is small and, provided you have a flexible, unified communications platform, you should be able to respond on Facebook or Twitter with exactly the same degree of accuracy, authority and control as answering a call or an email. The study suggests that this is not yet happening. Of the respondents who had complained to a company using social media, half had either never received a response or had to wait more than 48 hours for a reply. In social networking two days is an eternity. One final fact from our YouGov study. In the key 25 to 34 year old demographic, 60% of social media users said they are influenced by online comments about a brand or company, positive and negative. A large proportion of the customers deemed most valuable by the majority of brands will be swayed, one way or the other, by what their friends and peers are saying online.
Listen and learn In a sense this is not new. Since the dawn of the market era people have been having conversations with their friends, in the pub or on the phone, in which they say “I bought an Acme Widgets gizmo and it’s broken down every time I try to use it”, to which someone responds “I’ve never had a day’s trouble out of my trusty old Paragon Products tool”. But until now these conversations were ephemera. What social media does is make them tangible: they exist online, and smart companies can ‘listen in’ to these conversations, learn from them and react to them. These are stark statistics: almost a third will comment on products, and almost two-thirds will take note of those comments. Companies and brands who are not monitoring
the online chatter on social media sites are missing not just good market feedback but could overlook potentially critical threats to brand values.
dents who “Of the respon ed to a had complain g social company usin d either media, half ha a never received d to wait response or ha hours for more than 48 ial a reply. In soc o days is networking tw an eternity”
It is not just a matter of monitoring the sites. The company needs to have a strategy for intervention, too. There is a famous – and possibly apocryphal – story from the early days of Twitter. An American business traveller was stranded by the cancellation of his flight and frustrated that the airline’s service desk was not proving helpful he tweeted about the experience. A rival airline picked up the message, offered a seat on its next flight, got the traveller home and won a new and very loyal customer – who no doubt tweeted his satisfaction.
Trend spotting Sorting out individual issues on Facebook or Twitter is rarely going to be practical, although remember that the study suggested two-thirds of respondents would consider it rather than phoning or emailing a contact centre, if they thought it would work. But it is certainly the place to spot trends, and to get really early intelligence on an issue before it becomes a crisis. I would suggest that the social media movement is very much a friend rather than a foe. But you do have to be committed to it. While the technology may not require much in the way of investment, you may have to dedicate your best staff to it. The unpredictability of social media means that any comment you post could be read by one person or by millions, so the integrity of your corporate identity is captured in every tweet or status update. The pace of social networking means that you cannot insist on layers of sign-off for every comment – you have to respond now. Get it right and your brand can go viral. Get it wrong – or just be slow to respond – and you put a lot of business at risk. Dave Paulding is Interactive Intelligence Regional Sales Director UK, Middle East & Africa www.inin.com
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Throughout history, game-changing breakthroughs have succeeded because they give people what they want rather than what they expect – whether it’s First Direct with 24x7 banking or the Sex Pistols with punk rock. Matt Manners believes we are experiencing just such a breakthrough with customer engagement, innovation and advocacy. Here he talks exclusively to Customer Engagement Club editorial director Steve Hurst
We live in the Recommendation Generation. Do you buy Gillette because they paid Roger Federer an exorbitant amount of money to be in a naff advert or because someone you trust told you it gives you a close shave? Equally, would you recommend Gillette to a friend because Tiger Woods apparently uses it if it took chunks out of your face? Look at any reports on trusted sources of information, such as Nielsen’s annual worldwide study. Three years ago personal recommendations topped the charts with a 70% score. Two years ago this had climbed to 90% - leaving traditional marketing techniques in its wake. £14 billion is spent on advertising each year in the UK, a technique that received a trust score of 2% last year in research published by Satmetrix. 2%!! We know CEO’s want a better return than that, which is why we think true customer engagement is such a game changer. If a fraction of that £14bn was spent on a holistic
strategy that links experience and engagement to stimulate and influence customer recommendations, the impact would be transformational? This is the marketing world’s punk era. The people have the power, so you’d better start embracing it. • So is this ‘marketing revolution’ taking place through social media? Yes and no. Social media makes it easier to see what’s happening and what people think about you but it’s estimated that nine times as many conversations take place offline as online. So social media should be used to trigger offline conversations. However, people have become transfixed on rushing to facebook, twitter and linkedIn to have a presence. To be able to say ‘we’ve got a social media strategy.’ But when they get there, they just do exactly the same thing they have always done. Tell customers what to think. No engagement whatsoever. It just becomes another information feed they advertise or spam through. I believe many businesses are walking by unrivalled opportunities to capture the attention of customers and harness the wisdom of the masses rather than the opinions of a few. Focus groups should be dead as the dodo. Why should major business decisions be based on feedback from 60 random people when it could be based on direct feedback from 6,000, 60,000 or even 6,000,000 customers? Your customers have a vested interest in you, part with their money on a regular basis and are the true experts on what they want to be delivered in return for their continuing loyalty. In a world where you
Matt Manners, Onva
• If a company wants to embrace customer engagement what do you think is their first step? The most important first step is to let go. What I mean by that is stop trying to control what your customers say and think about you. The fact is, you never had it in the first place. 95% of the time when your customers talk about you, whether at home, in the workplace or online, it will be directly linked to the experience that you have delivered them. Have you positively or negatively surprised them? Maybe, just maybe, 5% of the time the topic of conversation will be about that funky advert you’ve spent 70% of your budget on or that clever press release that some key journalists liked.
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“Look at any reports on trusted sources of information, such as Nielsen’s annual worldwide study. Three years ago personal recommendations topped the charts with a 70% score. Two years ago this had climbed to 90% - leaving traditional marketing techniques in its wake”
couldn’t afford to garner active feedback on a continuous basis from 60,000 customers, the focus group had a place. But the world has moved on and it’s time to treat the customer as an insider. • But what’s so revolutionary about canvassing customer opinion? Nothing at all but closing the loop as part of an active conversation that gives them a sense of purpose is what they truly want – rather than what they expect. If businesses actually listen, it will help them create products/services that positively surprise their customers time and time again. The punk revolution wasn’t really fuelled by a desire to be antiestablishment; it was fuelled by a desire to be able to express oneself in a new and liberating way. Like all breakthroughs, it was blindingly simple. True customer engagement is just as simple. It puts the customer at the heart of your business, gives them a privileged status, asks them for advice, then listens to it and acts upon it. No rocket science there – but still revolutionary thinking. If you then tell them how you are acting upon their feedback and reward their loyalty by giving them the inside track as part of a systematic involvement process, you have the foundation for sustained success. • If it is that easy, why aren’t companies embracing it? Some are but only the true trailblazers. The rest are getting caught out by semantics. They confuse customer feedback with an annual satisfaction survey and closing the loop with a tell style newsletter. The reality is that many companies will be doing most of the components needed but usually as disparate, disconnected initiatives. A loyalty scheme, a social media strategy, advertising, PR, market research etc. Our methodology, if embraced properly, sits at the heart of the business and becomes the glue in these various initiatives – significantly increasing effectiveness. However, it also highlights another fundamental requirement for effective customer engagement i.e. that it spans different functions and budgets – marketing, brand, sales, research, customer experience, technology, the list goes on. In the Recommendation Generation you fail to address these internal barriers at your peril. • Why do you think customer engagement is so business critical? You can’t fake engagement. You can’t cover up a poor customer experience with Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry. Customers are too savvy. And you can’t guarantee a new
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product or service will succeed just because you’ve run some customer research. Our work launching products through direct customer engagement shows that customers always see potential in a product that the product managers didn’t see or didn’t uncover through limited pre-launch research. It makes no sense to run a survey and then make respondents feel that their valuable advice just disappears into a black hole. If six months later they turn on the TV, receive a newsletter or walk past a new product in store why should they make the link with questions they were asked? More importantly why should they then decide to buy the product? True customer engagement makes these connections crystal clear for customers – on a continuous basis so that not only have they already decided to buy the product, they have also primed the market by recommending it to their friends and colleagues. The same approach works successfully for B2C, B2B and also for employee engagement. In fact, there is a good argument for it to be even more successful in the B2B world as the target communities are often smaller and more inter-connected – the ideal environment for personal recommendations to pay-off • So what are the key benefits – where is the pay off? It turbo-charges other marketing initiatives. By signposting to customers how they are connected, they can see that you have a clear strategy – with them at its heart! We just think that some of the budgets for ‘old marketing’ might want to be adjusted to reflect the needs and wants of the Recommendation Generation that we live in. The benefits are considerable – and sustained. It depends on what is most critical for your business but by treating customers as a special insider adviser you can expect to: reduce churn, increase advocacy, build loyalty, de-risk future business and marketing decisions, innovate and exceed their expectations by delivering products and services that your customers want rather than expect. If you do that, you will be a breakthrough business and create an army of brand advocates that recommend you like crazy, reduce cost of customer acquisition, capture market share, drive revenue and ultimately profit. Matt Manners is the managing director of Onva Consulting a customer and employee engagement company that works with some of the world’s leading B2B and B2C brands. www.onva.co.uk
You never know where you'll meet your next customer. You could be on a plane, in line for coffee or leaving a meeting with another prospect. It starts with a simple conversation. How you choose to begin the relationship with new contacts, and what you learn about them, will have a direct impact on how well you stay connected with them and, ultimately, whether or not you bring them onboard as customers. mardevdm2 suggests four keys steps to onboarding success The beauty of today's B2B marketing world is that the flight or coffee shop could just as easily be Twitter, Facebook or some other marketing channel. However, the problem is it's difficult to keep the conversation going. When and how should you reach out to new contacts, ask the next question, engage with their businesses or invite them to learn more about yours? Having complete and current contact and behavioral data streamlines the process of acquiring new customers. Follow these steps to get that information, nurture those relationships and find customer onboarding success. 1. Take It Slow If we have learned anything during the down economy, it's that it's a buyers' market.
Whether you sell cars or CRM systems, buyers are in control. The old method of pushing until they say yes is no longer effective - and for that matter, probably never was. To establish long-term customer relationships, you have to take things one step at a time.
“Whether you sell cars or CRM systems, buyers are in control. The old method of pushing until they say yes is no longer effective - and for that matter, probably never was”
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F E AT U R E
“Don't be fooled and think it's a done deal because a prospect is engaged with your brand online. Remember, that prospect could have had similar experiences with your competitors”
For example, if you exchange business cards, swap emails or connect with someone on LinkedIn, the first thing you should do is add that contact information to your marketing database. Note where and how you met the person, and any other details about your conversation. At each future point of contact, you can learn a bit more about the company and the individual. The next stage in your engagement process could be to invite those contacts to subscribe to your newsletter or blog. When they respond, it's a good time to ask for another nugget or two of information that helps you understand their needs and role within the organisation. It's important to remember that if your sales cycle is typically 18 months, it's unrealistic to expect new online followers will buy in 60 days. It all depends on where they are in the buying cycle and the level of need they have that you can address. Successful relationships take time to build knowledge and trust, and customer relationships are no different. 2. Use Data Wisely According to research firm SiriusDecisions, companies could realise nearly 70 percent more revenue by simply having better data. Where to start? Evaluate what you already know and remove the dead weight. This may seem a never ending task to truly maintain a current and accurate marketing database, but consider the example in the chart below. If the first record represents the data that was already in your database, you probably sent every corporate offer to John, just like everybody else on the list. This becomes incredibly wasteful when you think about how many of your other entries share the same empty status. Once you partner with a data vendor that provides a current phone number, find out the additional cost to acquire information, such as areas of the business each record is responsible for - or better yet, the things they have authority to purchase -and fill in the blanks. This information can help you not only send more targeted communications, but also find a number of contacts who have similar profiles to the contacts who have already converted. Now your database becomes a prospect pool of valuable contacts with a much higher probability of buying your products. Given that the average person changes jobs every three years, it is absolutely critical that you have a reliable and fresh source to update this data.
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3. Contact Customers on Their Terms People tend to prefer different types of information and methods of communication, depending on where they are in the buying cycle for your product or service. Learning those preferences early can make a big difference in influencing their decision to continue the conversation with you. The key value your contacts receive for sharing this information is that they'll get whatever they need - information, support, etc.- when they need it to support purchase decisions. The value for your business is that you learn a little more about them at each point of contact. For example, when new prospects respond to your communications, they are most likely serious about buying the product—but whether they buy from you depends on how you treat them. At each interaction, prospects are willing to provide another piece of information - i.e., budget range, decision timeline, etc. - in exchange for seeing how your product can solve their business problems. At that time, ask for their preferred method of contact, and respect that request as you continue the conversation. 4. Know When to Close the Deal Because there are so many ways prospects can find information about your company and products without speaking to you, it's important that each digital interaction provides value for your business and for the prospect. Don't be fooled and think it's a done deal because a prospect is engaged with your brand online. Remember, that prospect could have had similar experiences with your competitors and only now be ready to evaluate options and make a purchase decision. By the time you have filled in the most important blanks in your records, and conducted a valuable dialogue, you should know whether contacts are ready to take your call when you contact them directly. Use the data you collected during your conversation, online and off, to know when to ask for the order. Invite customers along Bringing new customers onboard seems like a complex process, with so many technologies and media formats available. However, success comes with using the most relevant channels and frequency to reach the prospects in your target market. That starts with a data-driven profile that is enhanced with insight and behavior throughout your conversation. Consider the value of 100 new prospects with complete contact information, online behavior and communication preference data to support your sales calls. Compare that to 500 new names in your database that lack those marketing insights. The value spectrum seems obvious. www.mardevdm2.com 18
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Our latest Customer Engagement Club Directors Forum held in London at Gallup Consulting’s prestigious headquarters overlooking the Thames was a real ‘Eye opener’. The Forum focussed on B2B Customer Engagement and how the rules of that engagement are changing - and one of the key catalysts for that change is coming from the B2C engagement piece. Delegates were treated to a world class line up of speakers kicking off with a pivotal keynote from Peter Flade senior managing partner at Gallup Consulting. Peter focussed on the emotional side of customer engagement and how we are human beings first and customers second. Pride of association, intimacy and passion were all key words in Peter’s enthralling keynote which stressed the need for organisations to engage their B2B customers to become trusted advisors through reliability and credibility.
Peter’s stance was reinforced by Dorothea Gosling, director of marketing and communications of CSC who gave examples of building engagement in large B2B accounts giving examples of global relationships. Dorothea again stressed how intimacy is key in these large B2B relationships and how important it is to understand the business you are dealing with and bring added value to the relationship. Dorothea spoke of ‘engagement beyond satisfaction’ and how building a genuine rapport and understanding of the client will pay dividends long term.
No need to google it Next up was a marked change of pace and style with an entertaining and illuminating presentation from Richard Robinson, industry head of B2B marketing at Google. Richard drew parallels between B2C and B2B customer engagement and how proliferation of channels via the internet and social and mobile media are blurring the lines between B2B and B2C and changing the rules of engagement. Richard has some telling stats to back up his argument, including the huge consumption of video by B2B buyers through the likes of You Tube and the fact that almost half of B2B queries come via mobile devices. He talked about how technology can become a ‘virtuous circle’ opening up channels of communication and forging closer relationships. Next up was Conrad Simpson territory manager UK and Ireland for Interactive Intelligence who focussed on cross channel communications as the key to successful B2B Customer Engagement. Once again Conrad drew on the similarities between B2B and B2C engagement being facilitated and encouraged by the proliferation of channels being use by customers both at work and at play. Making all these channels available – with the customer in charge of the channel of delivery – is key to success as a lack of consistency across these channels is damaging to relationships and can have a terminal effect.
The rules they are a changin’
After lunch an hour long panel debate looked at how the rules of B2B engagement are changing and what organisations need to do to adopt successful customer engagement
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strategies â€“ the morning presenters along with afternoon presenter Parin Mody, global director for business development at mardevdm2 were kept busy with a roster of questions from the floor and themes that emerged illustrated just how important personal relationships are in the B2B space notwithstanding all the technology and the channels. People ultimately buy from people and thatâ€™s an area where B2B relationships can carry much higher stakes than in B2C.
Our next case study was from the Carbon Trust. Realising the potential of offshore wind and marine energy is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and Simeen Kadi, group head of marketing at the organisation gave a fascinating account of how the organisation used multi-channels to engage engineers from around the world in a competition to find solutions to the challenges of delivering these renewable sources effectively. Engagement was very much the theme of this presentation and core to the subject of the whole Directors Forum.
mantra is placing customer service excellence at the heart of its customer engagement strategy - both B2B and B2C. Metro Bank launched last summer and is already making the banking sector stand up and take notice. Anthony did not disappoint, enthralling the delegates with how the bank is using customer commitment as a key competitive differentiator in a sector that is not universally known for putting its customers first. A fitting end to a great day universally enjoyed by delegates who report back they found it of immense value in helping formulate winning B2B customer engagement strategies. The Customer Engagement Club has a compelling roster of Directors Forum for 2011. Our next event is on June 29 in London, focusing on the challenges and the solutions to Multichannel Customer Engagement. Click here to register for this FREE event:
For more details of the speaker line up go to www.customerengagementclub.com
Parin Mody of mardevdm2 focussed his attentions on B2B marketers and the challenges they face as revenue contributors tracking where revenues come from across a multitude of channels. Parin revealed how by using demand generation best practices and by monitoring digital behaviour analytical data and attribution models marketers are now able to gather a level of marketing intelligence that shows channel-specific return on investment. Last but by no means least came Anthony Thomson, chairman of the new Metro Bank , the first High Street bank in the UK for 150 years and whose
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REVIEW: B2B Directors Forum: 11th May 2011 Keynote: How companies can shift from “price to advice” and build a sustainable competitive advantage in B2B markets. Peter Flade, Senior Managing Partner, Gallup Consulting
Case study - CSC:Building engagement in large B2B accounts Dorothea Gosling, Director, Marketing & Communications, CSC CSC’s journey of evolving a major global account relationship from a focus on satisfaction to client engagement. Download presentation
How the rules of B2B marketing are changing Richard Robinson, Industry Head of B2B Marketing, Google Richard Robinson reveals the three shifts for the 'New Digital Imperative for Marketing' leading brands and businesses to ensure a successful outcome and how social media and the use of video are playing their parts in changing the rules of B2B engagement. Robinson says business success is now centred on: understanding where your customers are;delivering messages to the right point of the buying cycle;changing strategies to incorporate digital values as a main focus. The first shift is 'research to real time' insight. The second shift is 'creative to content'. The third and final shift is known as 'push and pull'. These three shifts will help deliver competitive advantage in the long term. B2B marketing is changing, and with this change, alterations must be made to stay in the game. Download presentation
B2B Customer Engagement – Why Cross Channel Communication is the Key Conrad Simpson, Territory Manager UK & NI , Interactive Intelligence Conrad will examine how organisations in the B2B space can provide multiple ways for customers to easily communicate? Given that it’s never been more important to be transparent in communication with customers - providing multiple methods for customers to easily communicate directly with you is critical.
Case study - Carbon Trust: Driving B2B engagement and action in the networked age to solve one of the biggest challenges of our time Simeen Kadi, Group Head of Marketing, Carbon Trust Realising the potential of offshore wind and marine energy is probably one of the biggest engineering challenges the world faces today and my case study gives a brief insight into how a multi-channel approach including Twitter, Linkedin, partnership and affinity marketing, face-to-face engagement and traditional media brought engineers from around the world excited and focussed on meeting this challenge. Download presentation
The hidden value of the marketing budget Parin Mody, Global Director, Business Development, mardevdm2 As B2B marketers are now tasked with being revenue contributors, they must overcome the challenge of tracking where the revenue comes from as they invest their budget across multiple marketing channels. In this session, Mody reveals how, using demand generation best practices and by monitoring digital behaviour, analytical data, and attribution models, marketers are now able to gather a level of marketing intelligence that shows channel-specific ROI. Download presentation
Case study, Metro Bank: How Metro Bank is placing customer service excellence at the heart of its B2B engagement strategy Anthony Thomson, co-founder and Chairman of Metro Bank Anthony Thomson, Chairman of Metro Bank Metro Bank launched in the UK last summer with customer focus and service excellence at the very core of its business strategy.Chairman Anthony Thomson tells us how the bank is using customer commitment as a key competitive differentiator in a sector that is not universally known for putting its customers first. Download presentation
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Multichannel Customer Engagement Directors Forum: 29th June 2011, London
Offline, online, social, mobile – why we need to be where our customers are Organisations need to deliver consistent customer experience across all channels, online, offline, social and mobile for competitive advantage. Customers have more power and increasingly expect to be able to choose the channels through which they do business with you. The key is to be relevant and to understand what the customer wants Our customers are operating across an ever widening range of channels and as organisations we need to be making our products and services available across those channels. We need to be where our customers are and provide them with a seamless customer experience. The Multichannel Customer Engagement Directors Forum will examine the continuing proliferation of channels to market and provide winning customer engagement strategies for organisations who want to successfully engage their customers across those channels, offline, online, social and mobile.
Delegates will learn: • How to deliver consistent delivery of customer service across all channels, online, offline, social and mobile for competitive advantage • How world class organisations are implementing successful multichannel customer engagement strategies • How to gain a single view of customers across all channels and gain greater long term customer loyalty • Where social and mobile channels can best be integrated into an overall customer engagement offering • How to quantify the business benefits that accrue from an effective multichannel customer engagement strategy • How to differentiate your organisation from the others through an engagement culture that links employees directly to customers Speakers include: Case study: BSkyB: Wendy Schratz, Director of e-experience, BSkyB Paul Blunden, CEO, Foviance, publishers of the Multichannel Customer Engagement Report Marcus Hickman, Executive Research, Director at CCA Ed O'Boyle, Global Practice Leader, Gallup Consulting Dr Nicola J. Millard, Customer Experience, Futurologist, BT Anthony Monger, Digital Marketing & Loyalty Consultant, Grass Roots Paul Turner, International Director, Satmetrix Mike Murphy, Head of Business Development, Interactive Intelligence
Wednesday 29th June, 2011
9:00am – 5:00pm
Venue: Gallup Consulting, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HS Click here to register for this FREE event:
For more details of the speaker line contact: Steve Hurst email@example.com For all other enquiries contact Chris Wood firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE TO ATTEND FOR SENIOR CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PROFESSIONALS