I love the New Year, watching all those people who jump head first into a keep fit resolution. You can spot them in the gym or on the road, wearing brand new outfits or riding expensive bikes. Clearly they’ve done extensive research on what to be seen wearing/riding. Only to find that having the latest gear doesn’t necessarily make them the next Bradley Wiggins or put them on the cover of Men’s Health. You can’t jump straight in; you need to know how to use the equipment properly to get the best from it.
I was reminded of this recently when I switched energy suppliers. It wasn’t just the price that swung it for me but the fact that I could submit meter readings through their mobile app or by text and receive mobile notifications. They seemed to have gone out of their way to make my life easier through the use of technology. I liked that – a combination of technology and empathy with the consumer. I was sold, right up until the point I submitted my first meter reading and had a response to say it couldn’t possibly be correct. So I called and 30 minutes later hung up having failed to get through. I sent an email. No response. I replied to their text. No response. A week later I posting a comment on their Facebook page and got a response within 10 minutes. A visit by a representative to read the meter followed. So when I submitted the next reading and got the same ‘that can’t be correct’ response you can imagine my surprise. Clearly, here was a brand with all the technology in place but failing to ensure the necessary connections and links with their data. I switched back.
I also recently bought a new motor insurance policy through one of the leading aggregators. Brilliant website, really easy quote and purchase process. But 5 days after purchase I was surprised to receive an email telling me ‘It’s not too late – your car insurance quotes are still available”.
Marketing automation tools offer a range of benefits for both the brand (financial returns) and the customer (experience). One of the key elements to feed the business case when investing is the uplift in revenues you’d expect to see from improved customer engagement and experience. After all, it’s the ability of these tools to deliver relevant, timely, dynamic communications at all the recognised events in the customer’s journey that are their main attraction. But if you don’t understand that journey, what those events are, then the output will only ever be as good as the input. Building the full picture of the journey, the events/touch points, the possible communications, outcomes and data needed takes empathy. Take yourself on that same journey, imagine yourself as different customer types and what would leave you feeling delighted. Consumers make their own journeys these days – we need to follow and recognise them, online and offline. Map them out and find the gaps in your communications and data. Create a vision for what it should/could be and use that as one of the key components of your platform assessment. It takes a period of careful discovery but if you get it right you’ll be able to set the system up to deliver a much better customer experience and financial return.