Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Research: It’s Not About Satisfaction It's About Engagement

The Challenge: Businesses that rely heavily on customer satisfaction surveys as a gauge of overall customer happiness, without an evaluation of total customer engagement, run the risk of losing valuable sales opportunities.

Discover Cashback Program The banking industry has a lot to teach us about how not to get stuck in a rut of perceived customer satisfaction.

According to a recent Gallup poll, "research shows that banks that only consider customer satisfaction -- even extreme “top box” satisfaction -- are leaving significant cross-selling and up-selling opportunities on the table."
•  Less than half (45%) of customers who are satisfied say they would consider their bank the next time they needed a product or service, however, that consideration skyrockets to 83% among customers who are both satisfied--and fully engaged.
•  Customers who are fully engaged and satisfied are also more likely to say they will open new accounts, switch from another bank, increase balances, and add ancillary products than are those customers who are just satisfied.
Additionally an Ernst & Young Survey noted “understanding customer behavior, attitudes and requirements is more vital than ever for banks’ strategic thinking....banks need to reevaluate their assumptions and fundamentally change how they interact with their customers.”

HMS National, the Florida home warranty marketer, used Voice of Customer Insights to increase customer engagement and boosted renewal rates by over 50%. VoC learnings helped them develop more effective strategies for engaging customers throughout the customer lifecycle, starting at the moment of enrollment.

Another company which understands that engagement equals customer loyalty is Discover Card, which has led the credit card industry in customer brand loyalty for 17 consecutive years, according to an annual study by the independent research firm Brand Keys, Inc. The research found that emotional engagement is the dominant driver of purchase decisions and brand loyalty.

This is evident in Discover’s Cashback Connection page, which notes “for every reward there’s a story. We want to know what Cashback Bonus means to you.” This tactic humanizes a company benefit and ties it directly back to the consumers using it.
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Three key factors for their success:
•  Discover Card has created the highest levels of loyalty by leveraging real, emotional value.
•  They provide an experience that lets consumers actively engage with the brand so that expectations are created, understood, and ultimately delivered.
•  Discover Card uses the information gained through its strong customer relationships to develop product features that are directly consistent with consumers wants.
Key Takeaways:
» Understand how your customers define satisfaction and engagement, and develop processes and metrics to keep measuring these factors on an ongoing basis.
» Use voice of customer feedback from research, call centers, customer service interactions, sales reports, etc. to develop a holistic view of your customers needs…and use this information to drive  continually improving customer experiences, communications, and offers.
» Establish personal and emotional connections with customers that are both authentic and differentiating.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Making your App a Customer Engagement Solution

The Challenge: Businesses know mobile apps offer tremendous customer engagement opportunities—if done correctly. Unfortunately, businesses can also eat up marketing budgets--without the customer engagement payoff--if mobile apps are not planned out with customer needs in mind.
Mobile Apps
According to Forbes, the world has gone from 0 to 60 billion mobile app downloads in just the last four years. However, in a Nielsen Research Study, of the 82% of U.S. adults who are now active cellphone users, 43% now have apps on their phones. But, 56% said they delete the apps they don't use, most within two weeks of downloading them.
Don’t be “another” app. Be an engagement tool.
To avoid the dreaded deletion, it is vital to understand why people would want your app, how they’d use it, and why they’d want to return to it.
All too often esthetics or programming issues push their way front and center. But, don’t forget that the best applications do more than look good, they:
» solve a problem
» simplify life
» and engage customers
Based on customer analysis and feedback, T.G.I. Friday’s decided that they needed a way for customers to easily obtain their check, pay, and be on their way. To facilitate this amenity, they developed the “My Friday’s Tab” app that lets customers start a tab, keep track of their bill, and checkout with a click of a button. After its initial release, the company updated the app to include many additional functions that further increase customer interaction and involvement with the brand.
Takeaways: Here’s how T.G.I.Friday’s got it right and how you too can engage mobile customers:
» Solve a problem: The app lets customers pay and go without having to track down wait staff or bartenders. This eliminates customer frustration and also frees up staff for more “fun” interactions with customers.
» Simplify Life: The new app offers access to the rewards program; a “locate a Fridays” function (that also provides driving directions;) customers can get up to date on food and drink specials; and they can review the menu.
» Engage the Customer: The app enables customers to become a part of their own experience at the restaurant. They can have full control over what location they choose to visit, how to redeem reward points, earn new points, decide what to order, and pay without any staff involvement. The app puts its customers in total control of their visit.
If you are going to go through the expense, and effort to develop an app, be sure that it is an app that your customers will want and use over time. Apps are amazing customer engagement tools. (If they are used.)