Successful digital performance depends above all on visitor conversion and engagement. For the purposes of this discussion it doesn't really matter what form this conversion takes, be it subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing an item. What I want to focus on is how to develop a sound contact and communications strategy for consumers who interact with your brand, aimed at getting them to take the conversion action.
Make the most of your data and CX strategy
The first thing to emphasise is that you need a holistic approach. Nothing can or should be done in isolation. We can identify particular steps in the process of developing such an approach.
It starts with thoroughly understanding your own business and brand. This may seem somewhat superfluous at first, but it’s unfortunately surprising how many brands don’t have sufficient depth of understanding around the details of business strategy. If necessary, conduct research and analyse data on areas like company performance, market conditions, competitor activity, and consumer behaviour and emotions.
Developing your strategy
Ideally all business activities should occur within a guiding framework that aligns them with goals linked to strategic aims. Concordantly, constructing such a strategy starts with developing goals and supporting tactics. Set specific KPIs that focus on the customer experience, rather than the perhaps more traditional focus on product, sales and revenue.
A subtle shift in strategic focus will enable quick returns by influencing the customer experience where it matters most. The credo should not be: “If I improve my customer experience by X my business results will improve by Y”. Instead the approach should be: “I need to increase business results, and there are certain business results that are more responsive to customer experience than others. I will use customer experience as a tool to improve these business results”.
It’s also very important to get buy-in from other internal stakeholders constantly during this initial phase, not only to obtain necessary information, but also to help ensure effective and cooperative execution down the line. Make sure to get bottom-up as well as top-down support.
Always remember that while your business must fully commit to this strategy, you should continuously reassess it. At the same time, don’t go shifting strategic focus every quarter. It’s a balance that you need to strike and, once again, two of your best allies here are customer satisfaction/experience and data analysis.
Always remember that while your business must fully commit to this strategy, you should continuously reassess it. At the same time, don’t go shifting strategic focus every quarter.
Measure everything possible
Measurement should obviously be linked to the strategic KPIs. Make sure that these are aligned to reflect both customer and business progress and experience.
Don’t shy away from anything – you need to gain as much insight as possible. This means measuring the good and the bad, and questioning the results. Don’t forget to question the good results too: it’s as important to know what you’re doing right as it is to understand where you’re going wrong.
Part of aligning measurement with strategic aims and the tactics that serve them is ensuring that every department in your business has these on their radars. In the case of Customer Experience and conversion, this means that all departments need to focus on customer needs and satisfaction, both in terms of delivery and analysis. It needs to be understood that touch point consistency and high standards need to be maintained for optimal conversion levels.
Attribution – start at the beginning
For a strategy to succeed it’s vital to accurately identify where to attribute value. You should clearly understand the sales and service procedure, and know how your customer works as much as possible. This fine-grained customer understanding should include their needs, anxieties, reservations, desires and pain points – these are the areas that you will want to address in order to optimise conversion rates.
Allied to customer understanding is identifying where value is actually created in your customer interaction. Understand everything that a conversion entails, including what drives it, what can derail it and how to follow up.
It’s easier to maintain a good relationship than to create a new one. Loyalty programmes are particularly effective. They are beneficial to both parties and drive ongoing conversions additional value for consumers. Crucial to success is improving your customer experience to ensure you are delivering against their needs.
In a connected economy and a complex ecosystem of data and technology, Customer Experience will be the key competitive differentiator for brands. So get inside your customers’ heads and start creating “wantedness”. Stop talking (marketing) and start listening (CX).