9 Treatment Objectives Per Contact
9 Treatment objectives for each Contact
Every customer contact should strive to achieve the following nine objec- tives:
1. Identify Customer: “Repeat Customer,” “First Time Customer,” or “Anonymous”
2. Recognize Customer: connect customer’s history, preferences, values
3. Fulfill: meet customer’s original purpose for this contact
4. Upgrade: motivate customer to upgrade current product or service
5. Cross-sell: another product, service, or partner’s service
6. Expand: invite customer to graduate to higher customer tier, i.e., loyalty program, newsletter/email sign-up, event invite, complete “my profile”
7. Educate: teach customer about the company, available channels, special interests, best practices, or how to use its products
8. Collect: data about the customer and experience
9. Generate Referrals: leverage the customer relationship to gather names of prospects
You should evaluate how well each contact meets a standard set of treat- ment objectives. This can identify opportunities for improvement and find misalignments between customer needs and actual treatments, as well as identify the contacts with the greatest potential for improvement.
You (should have) had me at “Hello”
The first objective of each contact should be to establish whether the customer is a repeat customer, first time customer, anonymous, or other. Think of this as having caller ID at every customer contact point. This initial identification dictates the contact’s messaging and objectives to best suit the customer’s situation. If the customer is a repeat, then the system and container, person, website, and customer service representative (CSR) should readily be able to leverage the customer’s history, stated preferences, and modeled preferences.
First time customers entering an experience stage have different expecta- tions, needs, concerns, and questions than repeat customers. Anonymous and unidentifiable customers contacting sales or service or just shopping can only be assisted to the extent that they express their intentions and needs. They should be encouraged and motivated to register and identify themselves based on the benefits they will receive in future contacts.
Customer identification can occur in several forms from an automated screen pop-up on a website that says, “Welcome back! Would you like to continue from where you left off on your last visit?” or a confirmation screen or in-person introduction that asks, “First time customer?”
Once a customer has been identified, you should be able to access and use the customer’s prior contacts, purchase history, and service history to inform the current contact of what should take place. At a minimum, it is important to know and acknowledge whether the customer had prior contacts and to somehow acknowledge the customer’s investment of time and effort. Recognizing a customer may be as simple as a “Welcome back” greeting in a store followed by, “Are you still looking for the right blender?” It could involve making a reference to a previous purchase or service inquiry on the phone or on the web, followed by a relevant offer or recommendation based on the customer’s profile and history.
Many companies use customer segmentation to make prospects and customers recognizable across an organization and all of its channels. Plati- num, gold, and silver levels and loyalty programs are obvious customer recognition tags that can be used to designate and prepare treatments in each contact and channel.
Other forms of recognition include identifying not just the customer’s current or future value, but also the customer’s condition. Does the cus- tomer have an urgent need? Is the customer in danger with broken glass in packaging? Does the customer’s livelihood depend on a good customer experience?
Customer service representatives are often trained to probe for these types of conditions to quickly identify and resolve a customer problem. Salespeople are trained to uncover the customer’s decision criteria and situ- ation in order to script a sales experience that raises the probability that a customer will buy.
Recognizing a customer in a contact in the CxC Matrix means that the customer’s situation is taken into account to create the best outcome for the customer and the company.
Simply deliver what the customer expects in this contact—quickly and effi- ciently satisfy her needs based on her values, relationship to date, and chan- nel capabilities.
While “Fulfill” seems simple and obvious, it is often difficult to achieve and most frustrating to the customer fixated on her single objective.
“What Ifs?” Quick Test
• If a customer calls and wants 100 units of your product immedi- ately, how does your company respond?
• What if the customer goes to your website and wants to buy 100 units with cash right now? What would that experience look like?
Would he need to enter multiple single orders? Would he be billed and invoiced separately?
• What if a customer calls to cancel your service or return your product or if he tries to cancel or arrange a return online?
Most often, customers do not know the best solution, the best product configuration, or the best means to return a defective product. The CxC Matrix is meant to help expose the best available options at the customer’s point of contact.
Each customer contact is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. Each contact should seek to upgrade relationships to their next level. For exam- ple, invite customers to join a loyalty program and receive ongoing email, text, offers, news, and best practice communications. Encourage customers to join a frequent buyer program, automatic replenishment, or automatic renewing service program to protect their investments and make ongoing purchases and service easier.
Ask customers to buy in every contact. Encourage customers that call customer support to buy the latest and greatest product version to replace their obsolete product or service.
Every contact should be evaluated for its ability to sell another product or service, either from your company or from a partner company. Companies should design propositions delivered through treatments that best fit the needs of the customer at each stage in each channel and continuously test what sells best and grows total customer lifetime value.
Each contact is a milestone that should strengthen, not weaken, the rela-
tionship. Expanding the relationship means expanding the customers’ par- ticipation in the company network and community, encouraging them to use, access, experience, and buy other services.
A simple customer relationship expansion objective is to encourage cus- tomers to experience another channel: explore the web, visit a store, use a coupon from the web, or recruit customers to special events.
Loyalty programs, newsletter subscriptions, customer alert subscrip- tions, and events are all methods of expanding customer relationships and growing company and brand exposures.
Educate customers on your business, on your processes, and on how to bet- ter use your product, services, and resources for their benefit. Be the single source and primary conduit to best practices for your most valuable custom- ers. Provide links to community websites, forums, and commentary.
Collect and store data from every customer contact, transaction, and interac- tion. Ideally, collect data about the quality of the contact and the customer’s perceptions of how the contact was conducted. Record the data used to determine each treatment, the personal information, questions, answers, activities, and entities associated with each contact. Capture all of the ele- ments and attributes associated with each contact in order to best under- stand the customer’s experience and opportunities, as well as to improve the performance of future contacts.
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
Every contact should ask for referrals:
• Coupons for friends in an envelope.
• Offer emails with simple forwarding instructions.
• Invitations for friends and colleagues to attend social events.
• Asking customers on support calls if they know of anyone else who can use such a solution.
Message allocation from segmentation to syndication
Customize and Personalize Messages at the Right Cost-justifiable Level
Figure 7.1 Appropriate Targeting
It is common marketing sense to customize messages where you can do so efficiently. The tone, language, and benefits statement in a television advertisement or letter sent to the east coast of the United States will be different from a letter sent to the Midwest. Likewise, an offer for outsourced technology services sent to health care companies should be different from the same services offered to auto parts distributors. Different pictures and different language will raise the success of the marketing tactic.
You should strive to speak the customer’s language as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Customers have been conditioned to reject offers, providers, and messages that do not target them appropriately.
Combine customer knowledge, technology, and creativity for customer-centric messages
Whether addressing an envelope with a person’s familiar name or greeting a person in a store with “sir” or “madam,” personalization or recognizing the individual helps you engage with customers at a deeper level. Personaliza- tion is used to create trust and confidence between the customer and your company, agent, and brand.
Customers expect to be recognized as repeat customers or as frequent visitors. “Being recognized” respects customers’ investments in your com- pany’s brand and their previous buying process activities as they gather information, select services, learn more about offers, or call for support and assistance.
In the customer “Need, Shop, Buy” scenario, most of the messages con- tained in the slots are personalized using data the company collected from past purchases and contacts, plus personal data purchased from aggregators like Acxiom, Experian, Nielsen, Abacus, Dun & Bradstreet, and others. The CxC Matrix encourages you to leverage information about customer interests, income, lifestyle, family composition, finances, and other available informa- tion to enhance and model customers’ values and preferences.
Additionally, you should use market and trade data combined with loca-
tion, geography, and economic data to assess macro elements on customer performance. Internal information about locations, inventory, services, cus- tomer satisfaction, and Net Promoter Score, if available, should also be combined to provide a comprehensive composite of customer contact per- formance and potential.
Selecting messages from segmentation to monetization to syndication
“Dear Neighbor, the season is changing, it’s time to . . .” Geographic segmentation broadcasts a single message to a geographic area, such as a country, region, state, or zip code. The container and its messages are the same for everyone in that geographic segment. This is used for high volume broad awareness campaigns and typically costs less per customer, although the overall expense can be higher due to the breadth of market coverage.
“Dear Head of Household/New Homeowner . . .” Demographic segmenta- tion typically uses personal information or regionally specific informa- tion to target customer messages. For example, if you want to reach highly affluent individuals you may send letters or buy names and phone numbers for residents of Park Avenue in New York City or all households in California zip codes where the average new home price is greater than $2 million.
“Congratulations on being in business for 5 years!” Business demo- graphics are used to target businesses. Typically, marketers use indus- try type, Standards Industrial Classification Code (SIC Code), annual revenue, years in business, number of employees, and headquarters/ branch locations.
Generally, 10 to 60 demographic variables are available to be used to select customers or append data to customer records. Appending data enables creative marketers to construct messages that more closely match a customer’s ability to buy and buying preferences.
Targeted program execution
Marketing analysts also combine demographic variables to create more refined target groups, such as homeowners who purchased a house in the last 90 days and who also have one elementary school–aged child.
Behavioral Message Segmentation
“Dear Customer, about your purchase . . .” Behavioral segmentation uses information captured from prior customer contacts. Contacts may include purchases, website visits, phone inquiries, event registrations, general interest forms, service calls, upgrades, and other company or partner company contacts.
Behavioral information provides marketers with insights into the customer’s interests, such as how, when, where, through which chan- nel, and how often the customer contacts the company.
Armed with this information, creative marketers craft messages that align with customer interests and channel preferences.
“Dear Miguel . . .” Personalization uses information from all available resources to craft a contact that strives to speak directly to a custom- er’s needs, preferences, and circumstances, as if face-to-face. Some aspects of personalization that distinguish it from other forms of message targeting are the use of a customer’s nickname, referencing current services, recent service and product use, or reference to other open issues that the customer is experiencing, such as abnormally
high frequency of calls or weather. Personalization requires your com- pany to factor customer preferences into each contact and product use, such as offering process shortcuts for customers that have called before, registered before, or made identical purchases.
Personalization has evolved beyond putting the customer’s name on an envelope, or greeting him by first name on the phone or nick- name in an email, to include customer-specific contact, delivery, and assembly rules. Customers require companies to blend their best practices with prior customers with their own preferences and cir- cumstances to ensure the best, most convenient, most productive, problem-free experience. Firms that fail to leverage customer infor- mation to personalize contacts and services will lose business and profit margin to companies that deliver greater perceived value to each customer based on the customer’s defined terms.
Predictive Model Messaging
“Dear Miguel, a special offer just for you . . . ” Predictive targeted mes- sages use the results of the company’s past contacts, combined with the customer’s profile data, to predict what, when, and how much a customer is likely to buy. Predictive message targeting extends beyond who is likely to purchase a product and can be used to prompt mes- sages to every customer contact point.
You can predict who will and will not buy which products at what price. You can also predict which customers are more likely to open an email, answer a phone, return a product, or buy a product. Additionally, you can predict which customers are least likely to pay for a product or pay full price and which ones are most likely to complain.
Your ability to predict how customers will respond contact-by- contact is dependent upon the amount of historic and ongoing activ- ity data the company is able to capture. It also depends upon your company’s modeling sophistication and messaging delivery system.
Your ability to act on its predictive modeling findings requires exec-
utive management commitment and sponsorship. It requires flexible and adaptive customer contact and operations systems, end-to-end customer demand-to-fulfillment-to-service chain visibility, and con- tact access points for execution.
Examples of ways to embed predictive models into core operations include:
• Web pages that use collaborative filtering to assemble mes- sages.
• Call centers that queue and route calls to specially skilled agents, then prompt telemarketing scripts that dynamically change offers.
• Pick, pack, and ship automated packing systems that use business rules to insert various sales materials, product samples, and labels in distribution.
“Your message here . . . ” In addition to segmenting messages for your own products and services, your company can sell your message slots to third parties. An offer for a barbecue grill might fall out of a monthly billing statement, or an offer for a magazine subscription or sweep- stakes entry might come at the end of a customer service call.
You can commercialize a slot as easily as charging a third party for the privilege of putting a label on a box containing an advertising message. Here is an example: “Got Milk?” stickers on oranges or “Got Oranges?” stickers on milk cartons.
The concept of commercialization is an excellent way to grasp mon- etizing each contact’s message slots. Ask, “Who would place a mes- sage here and for how much?” Exposing all of your contacts and slots and examining the current slot allocation, used and unused, is the catalyst for discussion among employees regarding valuing slots and contacts based on internally competing departments, products, and messages. Multi-product companies can choose to feature another
division’s products in their messages and charge the internal client for the opportunity. Likewise, you should identify which business partners may want to pay for the privilege of featuring their messages in an available slot and how much they would pay.
“Customers like you also like . . . ” Affiliation message targeting takes commercialization to another level to blend two or more brands. It also links some back-end operations to create a seamless and continuous customer experience. Some commonplace examples of affiliate mes- sage delivery include payment options at a store or checkout page on a website, delivery options where the customer can select from a number of carriers at various price points, or cell phone replacement insurance options at contact signing. All of these services are provided by third parties but embedded in the core offering to be both conve- nient and transparent to the end customer.
The affiliate message delivery model is typically priced and man- aged as a gain-share model where parties agree on specific shared service, resource, integration, and process responsibilities. Both par- ties share in the revenue or profit generated from the success of the messages.
“What would Google do?” Syndication is the most advanced form of message targeting. You can expose a message slot to a group of com- panies, stakeholders, or the open market in order for all parties to bid for the right to place their message in the slot.
The syndication model is most familiar in the online media market and web channels where message slots alongside news and informa- tion content are sold to the highest bidder.
Constantly updated through testing, web page technologies swap ads through a network of buyers and sellers at an enormous rate and
with speed, flexibility, and tracking. As a result, companies have much more information on existing, registered, and repeat customers, along with the power of their brand and the equity built in their relationship (trust like Amazon, brand affiliation like Tiffany, American Express, Bank of America, or Goldman Sachs).
As you begin to realize the breadth and potential value of your contact network, and as messages continue to become digitized and network connected, more of them will be shared among businesses delivering complimentary and opportunistic products and services.