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Building Stronger Customer Relationships with Big Data

08.09.2016 / Posted in Articles, Communications

These days everyone is talking about big data. Technology is enabling us to collect and store increasingly detailed consumer data. From what items you frequently purchase at a given store to how often you work out to your seat preference when you fly on a particular airline, companies are able to gather an enormous amount of information about their target audience.

Once companies have that information, though, they frequently aren’t quite sure how to use it to benefit their business. One golden opportunity that this data provides is a platform for developing stronger relationships with your current customers.

Why Focus on Current Customers?

Companies can realize many benefits by strengthening their relationships with the customers they already have. As many executives know, it is much cheaper to maintain clients than it is to acquire new ones. But there are other positives as well.

Stronger relationships lead to increased customer loyalty. Not only can your company save money through customer retention, loyal customers will also yield more revenue than a customer who purchases from you a few times before switching to competitors. Additionally, loyal customers are more likely to turn into brand advocates who will voluntarily promote your product or service to their peers. Brand advocates are becoming increasingly important as social media encourages consumers to trust what their peers say about your company over advertisements that they see.

Types of Data and How to Collect Them

 While there is a seemingly never-ending array of data out there, it all generally falls into three categories:

  • Big-Picture Data: Typically demographic information or high-level trends, this type of data can help you see the big picture when it comes to your target audience(s). Big-picture data can frequently be collected from third party companies.
  • Transactional Data: As the name suggests, transactional data is information on what purchases a customer or client has made. This can include what specific products or services were purchased, how frequently they were purchased, and what method of payment was used to complete a purchase. Many companies collect this type of information using internal systems, but some B2B companies can also find relevant transactional data on their target clients through public records.
  • Granular Data: The opposite of big-picture data, granular data gives you an idea of an individual person or company’s attitudes and behaviors. Often times this type of information can be collected via social listening, loyalty programs, mobile apps, or by examining a company’s particular purchasing process.

Build Client Trust

Now that you have this wide array of data, how can you leverage it to foster stronger client relationships? The answer is to build trust with your audience. To do this, it is important to make your customers feel cared for and/or provide them with real value. Some ways to achieve these goals include:

  • Personalize Customers’ Experiences: Give customers the same type of high-touch experience they would receive from a smaller business who would be able to become familiar with their habits after multiple interactions. Australian airline Qantas has succeeded in this area by tracking flyers’ seat and food preferences and taking notes about interactions that occur in-flight. Taking the time to note these characteristics and then act on them makes Qantas’ customers feel cared for.
  • Tailor Promotions: Offers don’t do your customers any good if discounts are given on products they aren’t interested in or don’t use. Many grocery stores and other retailers track what their customers typically buy and then send coupons or other special offers for similar or related items. By sending useful offers, these companies are providing real value to their clients.
  • Deliver Relevant Content: Share content with your clients that can help them solve the problems they are facing right now. IBM illustrated this approach well when they turned to social listening to sell their web-based products. The company monitored social media to see what challenges their clients were facing and then pulled relevant content to send to those clients. Sales reps also uploaded the most useful content to their own sales profiles. IBM provided real value to these clients by offering solutions to their problems.
  • Add Products/Services Based on Client Wants/Needs: When you announce the launch of a new product or service that your clients have been asking for, it shows that your company has been listening to them and cares about their opinions. Social media and client surveys are great ways to determine what new services your customers are looking for. Additionally, you can monitor what they search for in relation to your company. For example, Southwest tracks which travel routes their customers search for and add new flights accordingly.
  • Improve the Customer Experience: Customer data can go a long way towards improving the experience that customers have with your company. Make your website easier to use, build out loyalty programs and mobile apps, or make store layouts more intuitive. Positive experiences will make customers want to buy from or work with your company again in the future.

When taking any of the above approaches to fostering customer relationships, it’s important to be respectful of your clients’ privacy. There is a fine line between being seen as helpful versus seen as invasive that you don’t want to cross!

Make Relationship Building Part of Your Strategy

Remember, building customer relationships takes a fair amount of time and resources. Before starting on such a project, make sure it aligns with company goals and your overall marketing strategy to justify the cost.

Don’t have a current marketing strategy? FrogDog is here to help!

 

 

Image courtesy of Commons.WikiMedia.org

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