Internet Special report - A 360 Degree View of Your Customer (
Knowing your customer and what motivates that customer to buy is crucial to any direct marketing effort. But in a world where customers—and companies—are constantly changing and evolving, how can you be sure that your marketing team has what it needs to create campaigns that are on target every time?
To achieve optimal results from direct marketing programs, you must have a 360-degree view of the targeted customer base. Fortunately, today's technology makes it possible for you to get to know your customer, and for your customer to get to know you. Key technologies will empower your company to leverage the 360-degree view for personalized marketing.
The result: a complete view that drives revenue growth and more profitable interactions with your customers.
Tying It All Together—Single-Threaded Conversation. The "single-threaded conversation" is the foundation for building a customer interaction history and achieving a 360-degree view. It tracks all customer interactions across multiple channels, enabling multiple customer service representatives (CSRs) to conduct a continuous personalized dialog over time and across multiple touch points.
For example, your e-service system (which includes e-mail response, live collaboration and a sophisticated knowledge base) needs to communicate with your marketing system and with other systems, including analysis, commerce and CRM. Fundamentally, all systems that a company utilizes should communicate well enough so that when a CSR is looking at a customer record, that person is privy to everything the customer has done, whether it's by e-mail, telephone or any other method of contact.
When integration takes place, interactions improve and customers actually can feel the difference. Customers sense that they are important—and they are more likely to remain loyal.
More Effective Outbound E-mail Marketing. E-mail represents a powerful tool for delivering targeted marketing messages and other information to customers. The single-threaded conversation becomes a platform for more effective e-mail marketing campaigns that are readily measurable in real time.
Not only is the single-threaded conversation a foundation, it is also a crucial integration point that tightly binds campaign management to other systems within the company. With real-time capabilities, a company can measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in order to respond to market conditions and change them accordingly.
E-service Portals Provide All the Information a Customer Needs and Wants. Finally, a customer interface known as an e-service portal presents a self-service, "single face" to customers. For example, if a customer logs onto eddiebauer.com, she could look up the status of her order. It can be customized to provide all of the information, history and knowledge that customers need for informed purchase decisions, convenient account management, and superior customer service and support. This customized content drives repeat visits and greater product exposure. Direct marketers can use the e-service portal to cross-sell additional products—leveraging a complete understanding of customers' buying histories, preferences and interests as well as their projected purchases.
All of your systems should integrate smoothly so that they feel like a single system to the outside world. That seamless integration needs to be conducted through all communication channels, as well as through an outbound e-mail campaign management system and an e-service portal. When a system integrates properly to build that all-important 360-degree view of each customer, service is improved, loyalty is increased and bottom-line results are boosted.
Steve Robins is director of product and services marketing at Servicesoft Inc., a leading developer of intelligent e-service solutions soon to merge with Broadbase. Reach him at email@example.com.