Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Target Marketing HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Rio Longacre

Who's Your Data?

By Rio Longacre

About Rio

Who’s Your Data? is a blog that aims to disseminate thought-provoking tips and techniques involving the use of data and database marketing to direct marketing professionals. Why should you care? Because implementing data best practices has been shown to lift response rates, improve analytics and enhance overall customer experience. Reader participation is encouraged!

Rio Longacre is a Sales & Marketing Professional with more than 10 years of experience in the direct marketing trenches. He has worked closely with businesses across many different vertical markets, helping them effectively leverage the use of data, personalization technologies and tracking platforms. Longacre is currently employed as a Managing Consultant, Marketing, Sales & Service Consulting at Capgemini Consulting, a premier management consulting firm. He is based in the company's New York City office, which is located in Midtown Manhattan. He has also previously worked as an online media buyer and digital marketing strategist.

Email Longacre below, or you can follow him on Twitter at @RioLongacre. Any opinions expressed are his own.

 

Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
Measuring Customer Engagement: It’s Not Easy and It Takes Time
Mar 26, 2015

Here's what's easy: Measuring the effect of individual engagements like Web page views, email opens, paid and organic search clicks,...



Creative Caffeine

Dani Cantor
Subject Lines in Sheeps' Clothing: A Go or a No?
Mar 22, 2015

I'm sure you've seen it, if not used it yourself: Marketing emails wearing a friendly disguise, boasting "RE:" or "FW:"...



The Data Athlete

Mike Ferranti
Channel Collaboration or Web Cannibalization?
Mar 24, 2015

Multichannel marketers experience the frequent concern that online is competing with, or "cannibalizing," sales in other channels. It seems like...



Search Made Simple

Phil Frost
Top 10 Local SEO Best Practices for Small Businesses
Mar 25, 2015

Have you ever wondered how you could get your business to show up on the first page of Google, along...



Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

Ruth P.  Stevens
6 More Thorny Data Problems That Vex B-to-B Marketers, and How to Solve Them
Mar 20, 2015

B-to-B data continues to challenge marketers, who need to identify and communicate with customers and prospects, but who run into...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
3 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a LinkedIn Trainer
Mar 19, 2015

Good LinkedIn sales trainers help sellers produce measurable increases in sales—not better proficiency at using the tool. Are you considering...



Psychology-Based Marketing

Jeanette McMurtry
Building Your Brand Religion
Mar 17, 2015

Even with the most finicky of customers in an increasingly chaotic and complicated world, lifetime value and brand loyalty can...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
Direct Mail Marketing Drives Response
Mar 19, 2015

Marketers everywhere are faced every day with many marketing channel choices. It's hard to know which ones will work best....



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
17 Principles of Persuasion, Direct Marketing Style
Mar 18, 2015

So you've created your campaign and attended to all the details of identifying your audience, created your offer, and toiled...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
I Dare You: Create a Brand Challenge!
Mar 17, 2015

Challenging something we do quite naturally and easily is indeed the perfect challenge. We all get into ruts—some even good...



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
What I’ve Learned (So Far) From Stuart Elliott
Mar 16, 2015

When I first joined the Direct Marketing Association public relations team in 1988, Stuart Elliott had just left Advertising Age...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
Don’t Do It Just Because You Can
Mar 12, 2015

Don't do it just because you can. No kidding. … Any geek with moderate coding skills or any overzealous marketer...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
5 Data-Driven Strategies to Feed Your Customer Obsession
Mar 10, 2015

The digitization of our culture and marketplace has made it even more important for marketers to be customer advocates. Every...



The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Mentoring: Give a Little, Get a Lot
Feb 27, 2015

Last summer, I heard that my alma mater was launching a mentoring program between graduates and enrolled Seniors. Even though...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
Google Announces Significant Changes
Mar 9, 2015

As a marketer who uses email, you know as well as I do, your campaigns do not stand alone. Without...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Are You Squandering Your Search Budget?
Mar 3, 2015

Google has your site on a budget. This is not just the budget that you set for your paid search...



Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2015
Jan 14, 2015

I don't have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
Converting Your Social Media Triple-Fs: Friends, Followers and Fans
Dec 16, 2014

I've heard many gurus, marketers and publishers brag about their social media followers. They'll say things like, "Isn't it great...



Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
Marketing Success Is (Almost) All About the Data: Optimizing Customer Loyalty Behavior Initiatives
Oct 7, 2014

Much of what I've learned over the years about sales, marketing and customer service has to do with the critical...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



The Whole Magilla

Ken Magill
What Marketers Can Learn From Maine's Political Email Idiocy
Feb 24, 2012

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch
The Internet Can Make You a Chump—Forever!
Sep 25, 2010

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in...



No More Menial Jobs and 2 Other Steps to Customer Experience Transformation

4
 
As a marketing consultant, I read great articles about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) every day on the job. Most of them focus on the sales and marketing aspects of CRM … what strategies to employ, tools to use, messages to send out and so on. But let's not forget that world-class CRM programs also include awesome customer service, essentially creating a Total Customer Experience that fosters long-term, profitable relationships with customers.

For many companies, however, the customer service element in CRM is often an afterthought. Banished to a windowless office in the bowels of the company, customer service teams are quite literally out of sight, out of mind. Much of the time, this function is even outsourced entirely. But I have a sneaking suspicion things are going to change big time in coming years, and here's why.

It's no secret that companies are now dealing with super-informed, savvy and influential end-users who leverage Social Media and the vast research resources of Web 2.0 to make their purchase decisions. Let's call this new end-user 'Customer 2.0.'  In this new paradigm, the balance of power is shifting away from the sales and marketing teams, as firms are discovering that Customer 2.0s are by and large unresponsive to traditional sales and marketing tactics.

This means that customer service is, quite literally, becoming the first and only line of defense. If customer service is poor, it follows that the overall Customer Experience should be lousy, too. Given these facts, it shouldn't be too controversial to suggest that in the business world of tomorrow, excellent customer service will not only the hallmark of a successful firm, but a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) by which success is measured.

Providing top-notch customer service necessitates transforming the way a firm does business and engages with its clients—aligning it to a model where customer service plays a central role in the firm's operations. Welcome to the world of Customer Experience Transformation.

For customer service, I define Customer Experience Transformation in three broad swathes:

1. PersonnelIt's time to view customer service as a profit center, not a cost center.

Say goodbye to the days in which customer service is viewed as a cost center, staffed with bottom-of-the barrel employees who can easily be replaced. To the contrary, customer-focused firms hire smart, savvy and highly motivated customer service representatives, knowing full well that these valuable employees are the firm's principal ambassadors to the outside world.

I recently read an excellent article in Ad Age titled "Are You Ready for a World Without Menial Jobs?" The crux of the article is that instead of cutting costs, the world's most successful retailers are actually investing heavily and spending for more than their rivals when it comes to recruiting, training and retaining customer service staff. Turns out, this steep up-front investment ends up paying off in spades down the road, in the form of higher sales and increased profitability.

2. SystemsWorld-class service needs world-class infrastructure supporting it.

Truth be told, customer support is only as good as the systems a firm has in place to support its operations. In the world of Customer 2.0, a Web presence acts as a primary point of engagement with customers. In that vein, it's crucial to provide customers a Web presence that is not only clean, clutter-free and easy-to-navigate, but also—especially when it comes to providing personal or account info—personalized and secure. Furthermore, a website must be also optimized for ALL major Web browsers and operating systems, including—and especially—mobile.

In the age of Social Media, no firm that's serious about providing customer service can avoid having a social media strategy. Without getting into a nuanced approach required for firm-wide Social Media engagement, as regards customer service, Social Media can and should be used to listen to, engage with and monitor a company's customer base. There are some great SCRM (SocialCRM) and Social Media monitoring tools out there. Supported by savvy staff, they can be used to ensure customers are being engaged with quickly and effectively.

Internally facing, there are myriad important questions to ask, as well. Where are customer data stored, and how often is this database updated? How often are these data being synced with information from outlying systems, including IVRs, marketing tools, etc? What CRM solution is being used, and are best-practices being followed? If not, good luck tracking KPIs.

3. DNAChange the way you act, and you'll change the way you're perceived.

In many ways, corporate DNA is the most important element in Customer Experience Transformation. Corporate DNA is synonymous with corporate culture, which permeates the way in which an organization engages with its customers. For many companies—especially those in legacy industries—becoming customer-focused requires a major pivot.

To illustrate this point, let's focus on the healthcare industry. Because in the US, health insurance is almost always procured by the employer, the primary point of engagement with end-users is usually when they call up to see why claims haven't been paid. Now if you've never had healthcare in the US, you know this is most definitely not a pleasant experience. No wonder people don't care for healthcare companies, in general.

Now, of course, denying and approving claims is far from the only thing that healthcare companies do. But, as a customer, you'd never know it. What this implies is an industry ripe for transformation.

If a healthcare company wants to be regarded as a healthcare company—as opposed to a health insurance company—then why not start by acting like one? Better yet, act like a health partner, providing customers with practical healthy lifestyle tips and ideas that will improve their health and, presumably, lead to fewer claims down the road.

Better yet, find out more about customers and send out highly personalized healthcare information they can use in their daily lives. Or, taking it a step farther, how about using that information to create fun contests and social media engagements customers can participate in, 'gamifying' the user experience.

In this model, although the business model has not changed, the overall customer experience has been transformed, resulting in a more positive brand perception, higher lifetime value and, of course, increased profitability.

Is your organization creating an awesome customer experience? If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in your comments.

Thanks,

—Rio

Sections:

4

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: