The latest research from Qualtrics and ServiceNow revealed that 80% of customers had switched brands because of poor customer experience. On the other hand, 86% of customers are ready to pay more for a great experience.
In a highly competitive landscape, literally, you live up to customer expectations or you lose. Indeed, today's customer experience is the new battleground for businesses: an excellent CX is a key to success and a poor CX is a direct way to lose clients.
Customer communications are one of the most important aspects of the customer experience as a whole and, for many brands, are an Achilles' heel. At the same time, when built in a smart way, they are capable of fostering long-term customer loyalty which is equal to business revenue.
In this article, we’ll dive into the customer-centric communication strategy, explain how the omnichannel approach and automation drive business growth in the context of the changing customer behavior, and provide essential tips and tools for improving customer communication for different industries in 2022 and beyond. And the cherry on top: you’ll find valuable insights shared by the industry leaders Annette Franz (CX Journey Inc), Peggy Anne Salz (Mobile Groove), Jenn VandeZande (SAP Customer Experience), SaleCycle, App Growth Network, Replug and Storyly.
- The Changing Customer Behavior: Challenges & Opportunities for Businesses
- Why Your Business Needs to Bet for an Omnichannel Approach
- How to Establish Omnichannel Marketing Communications with Your Customers:
💪 Fitness & Health
💰 Finance & Banking
The Changing Customer Behavior: Challenges & Opportunities for Businesses
Businesses of all sizes look for more cost-efficient ways to communicate with their customers, stimulate interaction with the brand, and drive revenue. But the pandemic drastically changed customer behavior and expectations. Before we move on, let’s understand the context that has given rise to a new model of communication between brands and consumers.
The reality is that over 70% of consumers, in the search for good deals and the best purchase experience, use multiple channels to discover and buy products. Brands, with a view to influencing customer decisions, get an opportunity to reach the potential client through different channels and devices, with the predominance of mobile. In 2021, the time spent globally in shopping mobile apps reached over 100 billion hours, which represents a significant 18% YoY growth.
Mobile and apps remain our collective “go-to” for advice and assistance every step of the journey. But the pandemic, which accelerated e-commerce growth by a rate of years in just months, has added a new dynamic: choice. People have the power to choose the channels on which they connect with brands and businesses, and this journey has mobile at its center and the customer at its core. Some customers are mobile-first, and others are mobile-forced, newcomers to digital because global events forever changed how they interact and transact.
Either way, it requires marketers to adapt. It starts with mapping the customer journey down to each individual touchpoint and then using this lens to understand how to best combine the data and insights you observe to architect — and ultimately automate — an experience that feels simple and seamless. It is even better if you can draw from the data to construct predictive models that help you anticipate needs and not just fulfill them.
In the mobile-first economy, users are accustomed to a proactive approach from businesses: customers wait for news and deals to be delivered to their gadgets. It is more than that: to attract users’ attention, messages must be highly relevant and personalized, and they should be sent at exactly the right moment.
What does the mobile user of the day expect?
Imagine a human being as demanding as almost my three-year-old daughter… They’re picky, they get distracted easily, and they are impulsive. ‘I want it. I want it NOW!’ The rising competition and the increasing number of messages circulating over mobile devices push marketers to fight for just two seconds of attention from these users, which is a brutal fact that makes personalization essential and indispensable.
But users also get easily irritated by the techniques apps utilize for personalization. With the accelerated concerns about privacy, any attempt to deliver a personalized experience that might seem installed, attached, or disparate is doomed to fail. The user will not welcome these due to discomfort about being ‘tracked.’
Instead, personalization should be intrinsic to, truly integrated into, an organic part of the whole user journey. It should blend in with the overall app experience so that the user can voluntarily engage with and be part of the story.”
On the other hand, in the competitive landscape, users expect real-time customer experiences to satisfy their needs of “right here, right now”, and they expect it on every channel, no matter opening hours and time zones. Luckily, it is possible thanks to marketing automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
The clear trend is that the User is King .
At the same time, learning about customers' habits and preferences is not as easy in the data privacy era. With the latest iOS changes, Apple is making it difficult to collect IDFA and users need to explicitly consent to other forms of tracking. In parallel, Google is getting rid of third-party cookies as a tracking mechanism. In this situation, marketers are forced to diversify ways of interaction with the audience, putting the customer-driven model into practice.
Further, we will dwell on the omnichannel communication strategy as a driver of a customer-centric approach.
Why Your Business Needs to Bet for an Omnichannel Approach
Omnichannel communication strives to deliver a personalized, frictionless cross-channel experience throughout the customer journey, with a strong focus on the client. Whether it’s an email, a push notification, live-chat customer support or a phone call, the client is at the center of the omnichannel system. It is built around the customer journey and triggered by customer behavior and preferences. Thanks to automation, multiple communication channels used by businesses (mobile messaging, email, support chats, and a contact center) are aligned; they guide customers on each step of their journey.
Communication is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the customer experience. But with an omnichannel communication strategy, brands connect with customers – and customers can reach out to or interact with brands — in their (customers’) preferred channels. The experience is optimized for customers because the content and messaging are cohesive, regardless of channel. It makes for a consistent and seamless experience, which is what customers expect. They don’t want to feel like they’re interacting with a different brand every time they interact via a different channel; they expect the same information and a similar experience, whether they call a company, use their app, or visit the website.
Omnichannel is a win-win communication strategy: while customers enjoy a cohesive experience, the brand attracts more clients and hence increases revenue. With the omnichannel approach, companies can boost their engagement levels, build and maintain strong customer relationships, and improve customer satisfaction as well.
There’s a big difference between messaging about how much you value your customer versus actually doing the work needed to show you value your customer. In business, just like in life, this comes down to deeds, not words. And today for brands to be customer-centric, they’ve got to have an omnichannel strategy.
The customer journey is no longer linear; people might start a search via mobile, then resume on a laptop. They might order and ask for home delivery, or want to pick up the item in the store.
An omnichannel strategy assures that your customers can be confident that you’ll deliver what they need, when they need it, and engage with them on the channels they’d prefer. This sort of engagement is critical to both earning new customers and retaining customers long-term.
After all, companies with great omnichannel engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers, while companies not practicing omnichannel retain only 33%.
How to Establish Omnichannel Marketing Communications with Your Customers
Marketing communications shape the first impression about your brand and accompany customers throughout the entire customer journey. They bring users from the awareness stage to the purchase decision, assist clients during onboarding and drive retention.
Following the events that have disrupted the mobile marketing industry in the last two years, the engagement topic has become more important than ever. During the past months, we’ve urged our clients to focus on the user engagement part, because we believe that Paid UA alone can’t guarantee efficient growth anymore, no matter how big your budget is. For this reason, we are focusing more and more on a holistic approach in which each app marketing activity has equal importance, and that puts users at the center of the attention.
We already saw the evidence last year when, for a delivery service app, we achieved a +370% increase in conversion rate by leveraging offline events with an integrated marketing campaign that included paid UA, retargeting, and mobile CRM, product, and ASO.
Taking care of your customers’ loyalty in times when customers are not loyal at all requires communication strategies that are not only focused on conversions but also take into account the customers’ “well-being”. The key is personalization based on segmentation, which is only possible with a deep understanding of your users’ behavior. Users want to read what’s relevant to them.
Automated omnichannel communications allow businesses to interact with thousands of users at the same time, saving marketers' precious time, enhancing personalized customer experience, and driving business growth. And it’s not just words: Pushwoosh customers prove to achieve a 25X higher conversion into target action!
Thanks to behavior-triggered messaging and real-time segmentation, automated communications can assist customers at every stage of their lifecycle and react to their behavior. The most common scenarios include onboarding newcomers, offering mobile users to upgrade when they are the most active in the app, reminding customers of the items waiting for them at the checkout, stimulating purchases with special discounts, and more. A personalized omnichannel approach allows marketers to synchronize various communication channels, such as push notifications, in-app messages, emails, SMS, and WhatsApp.
Let’s see how automated omnichannel communications work in the industries where superior customer experience is vital.
Brands can help consumers make the best purchase decisions by informing them about the products and best deals — for this reason, omnichannel messaging has become a powerful tool to boost online sales. With the growth of mobile commerce, push notifications and in-app messages have become useful to stimulate shoppers to complete the order, cross-sell and upsell.
Let’s have a look at the most popular e-commerce use case: abandoned cart recovery. Once a user triggers the “Added a product in their cart but hasn’t purchased it” event, they will receive an automatic reminder about the would-be purchase. In addition, if the user still hesitates to proceed with the order, a marketer can stimulate them with a special promo code sent in a push notification or an email.
When it comes to omnichannel communications, in order to increase sales, consider your user journey in the first instance and then tie relevant communications together in a seamless fashion to ensure cross-channel experience is cohesive.
For example, a browser on your site may be anonymous. Utilizing an onsite function could enable data capture, and can permit future retargeting in relation to the items they've browsed.
Have they added to cart and left your online shop? Follow up with details of their cart by email, push notifications, WhatsApp, to give them an easy route back. Consider basket repopulation links in these communications, as they ensure visitor experience is maintained, whether on desktop, mobile, or within an app. The choice of channel is the customers, you're simply ensuring that their journey doesn't feel disjointed.
Incorporate more dynamic information based upon geolocation, to highlight a visitors' nearest physical store, to ensure their experience onsite or in-app can be maintained in store too.
Similarly, you can build customer journeys with an objective to stimulate first-time conversions or repeat purchases. Offer a discount, notify shoppers of a seasonal price change or create a sense of urgency by saying there is only one desired item left in stock. Show in-app messages with the relevant product offers (based on advanced user segmentation, of course!) when your users are the most engaged — meaning, when they are inside the app! For greater reach, follow up with an email containing promotions, presenting new collections, etc.
Continue providing a consistent experience by following through your customers’ orders with push notifications and automated emails. Identify your most loyal customers and boost their LTV with promo codes and special offers.
💪 Fitness & Health
When it comes to helping users improve their wellness and encouraging healthy lifestyle habits, customer experience must be impeccable.
Whether your mobile app is a fitness guide or a health tracker, it is necessary to onboard users successfully so they clearly understand your product value. Especially if they are on a trial period and you still need to convert them into paid subscribers.
We’ve worked with several health and fitness app clients and have found that it’s essential to personalize the user experience and provide immediate value to the user from the start.
If you’re offering a 7-day trial and you want that user to convert into a paid subscriber at the end of those 7 days, make sure you’re providing fresh content that you know interests them.
For instance, if a user shows interest in HIIT workouts or yoga sessions, serve them new workouts and app features based on that interest to keep them engaged. You may also offer short workouts in their genre of interest — sessions that only take 5 or 10 minutes — so that they’re more likely to give it a try even if they’re short on time.
This form of personalized communication may come in the form of push notifications or in-app messages that call their attention to other workouts so that they’re more likely to return to the app and get hooked on the value of your product in the long term.
Automated behavior-triggered messages allow you to send time-sensitive reminders and give recommendations at the moments that matter.
To bring even more value to your audience, it is a good practice to provide educational and inspirational content, including success cases, by email. This way, your customers will feel valued and motivated to interact with your app more frequently. Gain more loyal customers by rewarding them for being active with personal offers and promo codes delivered to their email inbox.
💰 Finance & Banking
The finance and banking sector, despite security vulnerability, went online a long time ago: your customers manage their financial operations via mobile app in just a few clicks. As a customer-centric company, you need to make their experience smooth and secure.
Don’t limit your communication with clients to only transactional messages. Keeping in mind that customers look for the best offers to save and even grow their money, constantly remind your users about financial products and services your bank offers — no fees cards, high-interest online savings accounts, and cashback programs. For this, use push notifications, in-app messages, email or any other channel preferred by your customers. Set triggered messages based on their in-app activity: if a user checks out the information about credit cards, show them an in-app message with a unique offer.
A great opportunity for app developers is referral program strategies. Asking your most loyal and happy users to become a promoter for your app is something so simple yet not always exploited. This can generate “free” organic traffic… and even happier users :-)
Co-founder, REPLUG - App Marketing Experts
You’ll definitely gain your customers’ hearts by supporting them with regular financial advice and tips sent by email.
You can also ask your audience to evaluate customer service or rate your mobile app by showing an in-app.
For such a competitive and rapidly evolving industry as Telecom, omnichannel customer experience is becoming the main differentiator among service providers. Transactional messages help companies onboard and activate clients, pursuing the main business goals: increase of the average order value and customer lifetime value.
You can use emails and mobile messaging for transactional communications, for example, to remind your clients of the bills to pay or instantly communicate some time-sensitive information to your existing customers (such as submission status, temporary service issues, upcoming outages, etc.).
Furthermore, telecom brands can deliver special offers and personalized promotions via push notifications and emails. And in the form of in-apps, businesses can introduce and showcase new mobile features. Besides, telecom companies can retain customers by delighting them with the offers users cannot resist:
Telecoms can even drive sales by upselling their existing customers:
Any industry can take advantage of automated customer communications for its specific objectives and put the customer-centric omnichannel model into practice. Thanks to marketing automation, you can visualize your customers’ journey and smoothly integrate your communications into it the way your business AND a client win together. The logic here is simple: when you clearly understand at what specific moments and on what channels your brand can “appear” and address your clients’ needs, the customer response and satisfaction are higher, and so is your business profit.Put customer centricity into practice
Customer experience is formed by various touchpoints between a brand and a customer — all of them are crucial and need special attention. Check out this ebook to take your customer-centric communications to the next level by refining omnichannel customer service.