3 Ways to Use Customer Data & Contact Centers to Boost CLV, Clienteling
When it comes to retail businesses, what separates leaders from followers, and winners from losers? It used to be excellent in-store customer service, effective advertising and promotions, and merchandise that matched customer expectations. But today, the difference might just turn out to be how well businesses use customer data to support contact-center personnel and remote contact with associates, particularly those responsible for serving high-end clientele.
Many leading retailers and major brands are turning to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to fuel these operations with the data they need to find new customers, expand clienteling operations, and develop greater customer loyalty—which increases customer lifetime value (CLV)—in their current customer base.
Can CDPs Help Make Up for Decreasing In-Store Contact?
The stakes have never been higher. In-store and in-person contact with store associates is increasingly less common due to ecommerce, mobile apps, and recent COVID-related store closings or limitations. Retail is turning to customer data to make up for the lack of direct contact, and to help drive their accelerated plans for digital transformation—the process of becoming a company where data is available throughout an organization, is easily viewable and understandable, and can be used to make good decisions about all aspects of managing the business.
In the pre-digital world, old-school smart retailers and brand managers often lived by the old adage: “Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: When the customer is wrong, see Rule 1.” Today, pleasing customers isn’t any less important, but even before COVID-19, customer service was moving to online contact centers and centralized customer service, often supplemented by customer relations management (CRM) systems.
How CDPs Move Beyond CRM Systems
CRM systems collect just a few kinds of customer data, from previous complaints, questions, and inbound customer calls. So CRM data is somewhat limited in how much it can help call center workers to please existing customers and drive new sales. Since the advent of CRM, many new data sources have become crucial in understanding customers: mobile app data, browsing histories, social media interactions, advertising data, IoT information from sensors, data from store associates’ handheld devices, and clienteling information about the very best customers. And it’s becoming crystal clear that only companies that can integrate customer data from all of these sources—and put it to use to empower call center reps and other martech—will thrive through the current crises and beyond.
That’s the reality of competition, after all, and the efficiency of contact centers now depend on leveraging many different kinds of customer data, across all touchpoints of the business. Keeping this in mind, how can contact centers boost their performances. More specifically, how can customer data help retailers and brand managers to achieve these goals, through 2020 and beyond?
Consider how the three strategies below—which I call “the three Cs of high-impact retail contact centers”—can help optimize contact center efforts.
#1. Be CLEAR in Your Contact Center Communication, Direction & Expectations
There are two sides to every call center conversation: the interests of the business owner and those of the customer. Both of these should be valued equally from a management perspective, with contact center leadership recognizing that employees serve as front-line ambassadors to their brands. Because of this, contact centers must offer clear communication, clear direction, and clear expectations so that their employees can meet their contact center goals. It’s through strong leadership and clear direction that customers will then gain a clear understanding of brand values and more. Additionally, customer data can help bring clarity to what should be communicated, and to whom.
The best-run businesses train their contact center people in cross-selling and upselling. Imagine how much more effective customer service reps or clienteling sales associates can be if they could see selling recommendations that pop up automatically—based on what their customer has recently browsed, posted, searched, or even walked or driven past? The personalization engines of CDPs can easily be used to integrate data from many sources to help make such personalized recommendations, which in turn can be sent to CRM systems (or associates’ handhelds, when in-store interactions are possible).
Also, through data, contact centers can better understand which customers and which brands are responsible for the highest customer lifetime value (CLV), and as a result, can better support brand advocacy. This includes unifying both physical and digital data to help contact centers strengthen consumer loyalty, growth and—you guessed it—communication. Collectively, the insight gained from data offers more clear, personalized action steps towards achieving your goals.
#2. Be More CONCISE in Your Actions & Your Efforts to Reach Customers
While being clear in your actions is essential, being concise in your delivery of them is just as important. As a business leader and consumer yourself, you know that time is always a driving factor in the actions you choose to take… or not. Time is yet another reason why it’s critical to incorporate customer data-driven recommendations into your contact center management to streamline business operations.
This includes everything from employee management to customer engagement to marketing efforts—all of these areas can be transformed through the application of near real-time data. There is a lot of value in data that the human eye will never perceive. So capturing that data, visualizing it, and ultimately reacting to it, all help decision makers to be more prepared in their time management, communication strategies, revenue goals, and data-driven digital transformation. And as contact centers aim to improve upon their efficiency, leveraging data to reveal the real-world details of what contact center workers are experiencing and doing is critical in strengthening performance and profit alike.
#3. Make the CORRECT Personalized Recommendation in Every Interaction
Too often, accuracy is overlooked. Errors are expected, mistakes are dismissed, and businesses take the hit. Fortunately, that does not have to be the case when contact centers allow savvy technology to bring robust management to their actions.
A strategy that emphasizes omnichannel-first technology can bring clarity and personalized connection to all the touchpoints of your contact center actions, helping decision makers to lead with more confidence and precision. The precision that comes from such technology—such as CDPs—can then examine and analyze customer data in real-time, ultimately helping to ease operations, streamline actions, and boost productivity. Plus—and this is the real payoff—these efforts collectively help to achieve profit goals.
Consumers base their values on brands for a variety of reasons, but among the more important of these is customer service. A core part of customer service is the tone that consumers perceive you are taking with them. Is it firm yet also kind? Or possibly too indirect and confusing? Short-and-sweet is well received, but that approach does not always deliver the necessary details you need or want to express. It’s hard to decide, because people are so different. But the thing is, if you have good data about a particular customer’s likes and dislikes, you have a better idea of what will work with the person on the phone to your contact center or clienteling services.
The main takeaway, however, is simple. As you build your brand’s voice, also consider how data can help you strengthen your efforts to be more compelling to your customers. Through the communication efforts of your contact center, you have the ability to improve upon your overall brand’s reputation, and sometimes even to make suggestions that set customers on the path to repeat purchases, more social media advocacy for your brand, and eventually, increasing customer lifetime value.
Finally, as we look ahead to 2021, make sure your planning includes empowering your contact center team with customer data and personalized recommendations to make more memorable customer experiences. To understand how Treasure Data can help, explore more here.