Relationships are built upon how people engage with each other. Precisely this is why omni-channel and customer experience are such trending topics today. Through an omni-channel approach we can grow our customer relationships – and what better way to do so than engaging in conversation with them?
The first person that popped up in terms of advice on good relationships, was, who in my youth was considered the market leader in relationship advice, Dr. Phil. Yes, you heard me right, the one and only.
In his book “Love Smart”, Dr. Phil discusses some essential elements of a good relationship: knowledge, communication and look & feel. Elements that help you develop and maintain a happy and healthy relationship. So how can they be applied to your customer engagement?
Know and understand what your customers want
"In order to be something special for your partner, you must understand your partner."
In the crowded marketplace, you must (of course) be able to differentiate yourself from the competitors. In building the relationship; you must show that you are more caring. But how to get there?
"One must pay attention to their partner's actions, understand their motivations – and just know them." Dr. Phil says
For you, as a company, it should be the same: you need a deep understanding of your own and your customer's motivations. Use the data, the digital footprints they leave behind as they move from channel to channel. Identify them, wherever they go, and find the most actionable data for fulfilling both your business objectives and their intent for interacting with you. Across all channels, even in the offline world – as complex as it may sound. All you need is a structured approach and a clearly defined data model to get a 'single customer view'. Not nearly enough companies have data strategies on their agenda – even though it has become increasingly important over the past years.
The platform is also important. The platform to support your data strategy needs to contain both static data sources (i.e. name, email), but also dynamic data sources (page views, clicks, downloads). And, it needs to be flexible in the way it can consume and integrate with other systems, so you can connect knowledge on your customer with all of your eco-system. Solutions like Innometrics can help you fulfil these kinds of tasks.
Only in this way can you show your customers that you really care– that you understand and know them. Just like a good relationship is built on knowing each other well and knowing each other better over time, your business must use rich customer profiles to understand them and communicate with them as individuals.
Communicate with someone you know
If you want a successful relationship, you have to make yourself an expert in interpersonal communication. You have to understand not only what your partner is saying on a simple level, but also be able to analyse the underlying message and provide a proper response and spark a great dialogue.
Let me illustrate with an example. The last thing a woman wants to hear, when she complains about her weight, is a suggestion for a diet. Or a confirming grunt. Or silence. No. What she really wants her partner to say is "You look amazing!” – trust me on this one!
This can already be challenging in our own relationships, with someone we have known for years. As a large brand, you will face huge challenges to communicate and connect with customers, because: you are not living in monogamy. You are building relationships with different people. But still, a good relationship requires that your communication is personally targeted to the individual.
A few other tips from relationship advisors are: do not change each other, so don’t force communication in a certain way, nor in a specific channel. Instead, create a central place for segmentation, by applying your customer knowledge in your various channels. Also, "take trips down the memory lane to improve your relationship." That’s exactly what the data harvesting can be used for - creating shortcuts for the individual when backtracking your last interactions, know their preferences to provide relevant content.
Knowing your partner and tailoring the communication towards this –across channels- is really what builds a successful relationship. So make use of your customers’ data, detect their past preferences and let it define your communication.
Look & Feel good
"You must take care of your appearance and the feelings you create."
If you want to look appealing to your partner, wear the clothing style that he/she likes seeing you in. But don’t wear it every day (boredom!). Instead, pick your style, and vary within it. In the same way: vary your communication with your customers, but keep it within the style they like.
The final advice from Dr. Phil is:
"a happy marriage after all is about the small-unsaid things that just create that feeling of trust, security and commitment. You need to do the little things to create and maintain a successful relationship."
If you want to make someone feel special, do all the small things I talked about. Have a clear and structured approach to knowing your customer. Act it out with personalized communication. Because this will provide a seamless customer experience – the little things we love our partner for.
After all, our long-term relationship with customers is what drives our business. We are not interested in a one-night stand.