Use them or lose them - The value of a relevant customer engagement strategy

Simon Watson, Senior Manager at iris Concise discusses the value of a relevant customer engagement strategy.

How can a company lose customers? Poor service, bad products or simply by becoming irrelevant? In today’s fast paced society, if we don’t stay in touch with our customers, you can be sure that someone else out there will.

The explosion of customer data has presented numerous opportunities and challenges to the way that companies operate. The better a company knows their customers, the more loyal and profitable they are likely to be to the company - think of how a shop keeper used to know the ins and outs of their customer’s lives and be able to tailor their stock and sales accordingly. As far back as 1765, Thomas Turner, a Georgian shopkeeper, kept a diary of all the goings on in his village, but there were no CRM systems to help him harness that insight.

Today, all of that data is available and more. Customers share a whole array of personal information with companies on a regular basis; through loyalty schemes, transaction details, registrations, competition entries, coupon redemptions… you name the mechanism and you guarantee that useful information is being stored away somewhere.

The difficulty is taking all of this data and making the magic happen.

In most cases, the data captured is unstructured and siloed in separate databases where they add little or no value to the company. The key behind leveraging this information is creating a single customer view, not a complex overhaul of every operation within the company, but a relatively straightforward marketing database that combines useful data siloes. Aristotle could have been talking about customer databases when he said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and this is something that we believe in at iris Concise. We have created many customer marketing databases for our clients, most recently for Virgin Active, The FA and AQA.

Operationally we understand how to maximise the knowledge held on our customers, but what do we mean by “Use them or lose them”. Let’s put it another way, how many friends did you lose touch with and then just drift apart? Back at school you used to be best friends, inseparable, but over time that relationship has diminished and eventually extinguished, the same can be said for your “relationship” with a company.

A one off purchase can be long forgotten if the communication and reminders aren’t there. A customer can become a long forgotten friend if the effort isn’t put in to keep them as a friend. I don’t mean inviting them round for dinner or a summer barbecue, but a nice birthday message or a relevant message won’t go amiss. Customers make purchases based on triggers of wants, needs and requirements and staying top of mind will make sure that you are still part of their evoked set.

Bonds made years ago can be strained and friendships lost if you don’t continue to interest them and stay relevant to their lives. If you really are a one off purchase, then don’t try to be their best friend, be there for them but don’t over state your importance.