3 strategies for building stronger relationships in the age of the customer

A single customer view, interactive personalized videos and breaking down data silos are essential for brands looking to bolster their customer engagement efforts.

Tue Mar 08 11:13:40 EST 2016

We’ve recently spent some time talking about the “Age of the Customer,” specifically just what the term means and what it means for brands going forward. For more traditionally-minded business owners and marketing professionals, the rule of thumb used to be that the way you attract customers – and keep them for the long haul – was to offer the most appealing product, the most attractive price point or, ideally, a combination of the two. And while that’s not completely out the window now, it’s important that brands recognize that times have changed, and the customer experience is now key. While to some, the notion of creating an “ideal” customer experience can be a bit like looking for a unicorn (you believe it’s out there, but no one’s ever seen it), I’m here to tell you that you can do it.  And it can be a very powerful thing.

Of course, what that entails covers a wide range of solutions and potential strategies. There’s no silver bullet to customer engagement, no magic fix that appeals to everyone and works for any business that tries it. But an ideal customer experience not a unicorn, as there are a handful of best practices that you’d be remiss to ignore if you’re really keen on bolstering your customer engagement efforts and giving your audience an experience that they can’t get from any of your competitors.

A 360-degree customer view

Knowing how to best engage with your customers means knowing who they are beyond just the revenue they generate.  This 360-degree view of the customer – or single-customer view – has perhaps been the biggest unicorn, starting from back in the days when customer relationship management (CRM) was in its infancy.  We’ve been talking about this for at least 20 years, and the fact that we’re *still* talking about it shows that it’s hard to do.  However it’s worth doing, and the new way of looking at it specifies providing insight into five key metrics of understanding customer behavior: the depth of their social connections and likelihood to promote, their product search and purchase history, their buying propensity, location, and interactions that they have with products and companies. Measuring data on these five fronts is essential to grasping a well-rounded customer profile that you can cater and appeal to proactively.

Interactive Personalized Videos

Brands are increasingly catching on to the value that video can bring to the table as a tool for acquiring and retaining customers, but it’s important to push it a step further. It’s not enough to just integrate static videos into your marketing and engagement efforts. Utilizing interactive personalized videos, driven by the customers themselves, helps ensure your audience is interacting with only the most relevant touch points for them. Additionally, those relevant interactions help to keep them engaged for the long term, turning leads into conversions and conversions into repeat customers.

Bring Down the Silos

Data silos, a frustrating side-effect of a large organization with multiple teams running different ends of the business, may be the biggest obstacles holding back your customer engagement efforts. You may have all the information you need to optimize your engagement campaigns, but a lack of coordination between data sets owned by different parts of the business could keep you from seeing the big picture. By integrating more comprehensive approaches, like the 360-degree customer view, into your engagement strategy, you can knock down these silos and mix and match relevant data across the business to, ultimately, establish a finely tuned customer experience.

Want to learn more about how you can find the unicorn and utilize cutting-edge tools and analytics to improve your customer engagement efforts and deliver a one-of-a-kind customer experience? Read our feature in Forbes Insight, “Engagement in the Age of the Customer: Using Technology to Build Relationships” for more.