Category Archives: Customer Acquisition & Retention
A time capsule from 1950 was about to be opened, revealing mysterious contents. No one knew what to expect. Historical treasures? Letters from the past? Maybe even gold bars or valuable collectibles? The crowd strained to hear what officials would announce to the crowd as they opened the container.
“It’s all full of mud!” the city officials exclaimed to the crowd, as the box was unearthed and opened. Photographers clicked away at the mottled contents. While underground, water and dirt had crept in to the metal box, leaving the crowd in 2014 with not much to see but oxidized orange sludge.
A few illegible newspapers, ruined microfilm, and a coin were found, but the contents were roundly considered a bust.
Email marketers must feel much the same excitement mixed with uncertainty when they receive old contact lists to open up and add to their email lists. This is a scenario many email marketers face.
This kind of legacy data could come from various circumstances:
- One company joins another, and submits legacy data that could be fruitful, but most likely needs attention and management.
- Unused legacy data starts looking more appealing to re-use around peak sales times, when every email that goes out could spell more sales.
- A new member of the sales team submits new contacts that have never been added to your database.
- An existing business unit’s data is combined with yours due to new processes that remove data silos for full integration across your organization.
It’s not something that happens all of the time, but eventually in email marketing, you may have to decide how to handle legacy data.
Whatever the source, legacy data needs your attention to derive value. Just as the archivists who opened the 1950s time capsule remarked that a little waterproofing could have gone a long way, your data needs care and management so it won’t risk your existing email marketing programs. Contacts that are on one of these legacy lists could easily have changed their email addresses, or forgotten they were ever on these lists in the first place.
Here is the one part of this blog post that you should not skip over: The first thing you should do is explore the actual sources of this legacy data. If the sources indicated that these email addresses were opted-in initially, then you can proceed with the next steps listed below.
If you cannot find any evidence that these contacts ever opted in to email communication (perhaps the list was purchased before you were ever involved), definitely leave that data alone.
Moving forward with any kind of contact to these email addresses could be a violation of the US CAN-SPAM act, or the newer Canadian CASL law. Sending to even one of those old email addresses could greatly hurt your email marketing efforts as whole.
Once you know the opt-in status of your legacy list, the most important things to consider with legacy data are validation, cleansing, and opting in these contacts anew.
Email list cleaning helps remove invalid email addresses (especially when 30% of email addresses change on most contact lists year over year). This is done through email validation, a 4-step process that checks for email standards in the address and determines if a domain name and username both exist. By validating your contact lists, you avoid a high bounce rate, which can hurt your overall email marketing efforts by bringing down your sender reputation.
Using email hygiene to perform list cleaning will remove any possible threats to your sender reputation. Email hygiene works as a forensics unit for your email contact lists. It lets you find suspicious email addresses so you can remove them – before contacting them. This kind of bad contact data is especially likely to show up in legacy data.
You should do these two steps – email list cleaning and email hygiene – first, before you ever email these legacy contacts.
Finally, use some creativity to send these contacts an email asking them to opt back in. It is best to send these out in small batches over time, instead of all at once. Any contacts who do not respond should not be contacted any longer.
Obviously, all of these steps will drastically reduce the number of contacts on your legacy data list. However, contacting these previously opted-in email addresses without taking any of these steps is not wise. Many of them are likely to report you, because they will not have opted in to your communications, or won’t remember doing so.
Don’t be disappointed like the openers of the time capsule, who were let down when nothing too exciting was found. Follow these steps to bring down the risks that legacy data can create, and you can find value.
Every email marketer needs to know how to protect their organization’s sender reputation and reduce the bounce rate for better customer communication. Phone numbers and mailing addresses are also key pieces of the contact record that need to be verified before they are used and on an ongoing basis.
How does that work? To learn more about validating your contact data in real-time and using it to communicate with customers in the channels they prefer, attend this live webinar coming up on May 21. Informatica Data as a Service representatives will be showing you each step to reduce costs, reach more customers, and manage your data quality.
Webinar May 21 at 2 pm EST: Register Now
Achieving Great Customer Communication with Data Quality and Mobile Services
On Saturday, I got a call from my broadband company on my mobile phone. The sales rep pitched a great limited-time offer for new customers. I asked him whether I could take advantage of this great offer as well, even though I am an existing customer. He was surprised. “Oh, you’re an existing customer,” he said, dismissively. “No, this offer doesn’t apply to you. It’s for new customers only. Sorry.” You can imagine my annoyance.
If this company had built a solid foundation of customer data, the sales rep would have had a customer profile rich with clean, consistent, and connected information as reference. If he had visibility into my total customer relationship with his company, he’d know that I’m a loyal customer with two current service subscriptions. He’d know that my husband and I have been customers for 10 years at our current address. On top of that, he’d know we both subscribed to their services while live at separate addresses before we were married.
Unfortunately, his company didn’t arm him with the great customer data he needs to be successful. If they had, he could have taken the opportunity to offer me one of the four services I currently don’t subscribe to—or even a bundle of services. And I could have shared a very different customer experience.
Every customer interaction counts
Executives at companies of all sizes talk about being customer-centric, but it’s difficult to execute on that vision if you don’t manage your customer data like a strategic asset. If delivering seamless, integrated, and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points is one of your top priorities, every customer interaction counts. But without knowing exactly who your customers are, you cannot begin to deliver the types of experiences that retain existing customers, grow customer relationships and spend, and attract new customers.
How would you rate your current ability to identify your customers across lines of business, channels and touch points?
Many businesses, however, have anything but an integrated and connected customer-centric view—they have a siloed and fragmented channel-centric view. In fact, sales, marketing, and call center teams often identify siloed and fragmented customer data as key obstacles preventing them from delivering great customer experiences.
According to Retail Systems Research, creating a consistent customer experience remains the most valued capability for retailers, but 55 % of those surveyed indicated their biggest inhibitor was not having a single view of the customer across channels.
Retailers are not alone. An SVP of marketing at a mortgage company admitted in an Argyle CMO Journal article that, now that his team needs to deliver consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points, they realize they are not as customer-centric as they thought they were.
Customer complexity knows no bounds
The fact is, businesses are complicated, with customer information fragmented across divisions, business units, channels, and functions.
Citrix, for instance, is bringing together valuable customer information from 4 systems. At Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, it’s about 25 systems. At MetLife, it’s 70 systems.
How many applications and systems would you estimate contain valuable customer information at your company?
Based on our experience working with customers across many industries, we know the total customer relationship allows:
- Marketing to boost response rates by better segmenting their database of contacts for personalized marketing offers.
- Sales to more efficiently and effectively cross-sell and up-sell the most relevant offers.
- Customer service teams to resolve customers’ issues immediately, instead of placing them on hold to hunt for information in a separate system.
If your marketing, sales, and customer service teams are struggling with inaccurate, inconsistent, and disconnected customer information, it is costing your company revenue, growth, and success.
Transforming customer data into total customer relationships
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution fuels business and analytical applications with clean, consistent and connected customer information, giving your marketing, sales, e-commerce and call center teams access to that elusive total customer relationship. It not only brings all the pieces of fragmented customer information together in one place where it’s centrally managed on an ongoing basis, but also:
- Reconciles customer data: Your customer information should be the same across systems, but often isn’t. Assess its accuracy, fixing and completing it as needed—for instance, in my case merging duplicate profiles under “Jakki” and “Jacqueline.”
- Reveals valuable relationships between customers: Map critical connections—Are individuals members of the same household or influencer network? Are two companies part of the same corporate hierarchy? Even link customers to personal shoppers or insurance brokers or to sales people or channel partners.
- Tracks thorough customer histories: Identify customers’ preferred locations; channels, such as stores, e-commerce, and catalogs; or channel partners.
- Validates contact information: Ensure email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses are complete and accurate so invoices, offers, or messages actually reach customers.
This is just the beginning. From here, imagine enriching your customer profiles with third-party data. What types of information help you better understand, sell to, and serve your customers? What are your plans for incorporating social media insights into your customer profiles? What could you do with this additional customer information that you can’t do today?
We’ve helped hundreds of companies across numerous industries build a total customer relationship view. Merrill Lynch boosted marketing campaign effectiveness by 30 percent. Citrix boosted conversion rates by 20%. A $60 billion global manufacturer improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. A hospitality company boosted cross-sell and up-sell success by 60%. And Logitech increased sales across channels, including their online site, retail stores, and distributors.
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution empowers your people with confidence, knowing that they have access to the kind of great customer data that allows them to surpass customer acquisition and retention goals by providing consistent, integrated, and seamless customer experiences across channels. The end result? Great experiences that customers are inspired to share with their family and friends at dinner parties and on social media.
Do you have a terrible customer experience or great customer experience to share? If so, please share them with us and readers using the Comment option below.
I live in a small town in Maine. Between my town and the surrounding three towns, there are seven Main Streets and three Annis Roads or Lanes (and don’t get me started on the number of Moose Trails). If your insurance company wants to market to or communicate with someone in my town or one of the surrounding towns, how can you ensure that the address that you are sending material to is correct? What is the cost if material is sent to an incorrect or outdated address? What is the cost to your insurance company if a provider sends the bill out to the wrong ?
How much is poor address quality costing your business? It doesn’t just impact marketing where inaccurate address data translates into missed opportunity – it also means significant waste in materials, labor, time and postage . Bills may be delivered late or returned with sender unknown, meaning additional handling times, possible repackaging, additional postage costs (Address Correction Penalties) and the risk of customer service issues. When mail or packages don’t arrive, pressure on your customer support team can increase and your company’s reputation can be negatively impacted. Bills and payments may arrive late or not at all directly impacting your cash flow. The cost of bad address data causes inefficiencies and raises costs across your entire organization.
The best method for handling address correction is through a validation and correction process:
When trying to standardize member or provider information one of the first places to look is address data. If you can determine that John Q Smith that lives at 134 Main St in Northport, Maine 04843 is the same John Q Smith that lives at 134 Maine Street in Lincolnville, Maine 04849, you have provided a link between two members that are probably considered distinct in your systems. Once you can validate that there is no 134 Main St in Northport according to the postal service, and then can validate that 04849 is a valid zip code for Lincolnville – you can then standardize your address format to something along the lines of: 134 MAIN ST LINCOLNVILLE,ME 04849. Now you have a consistent layout for all of your addresses that follows postal service standards. Each member now has a consistent address which is going to make the next step of creating a golden record for each member that much simpler.
Think about your current method of managing addresses. Likely, there are several different systems that capture addresses with different standards for what data is allowed into each field – and quite possibly these independent applications are not checking or validating against country postal standards. By improving the quality of address data, you are one step closer to creating high quality data that can provide the up-to-the minute accurate reporting your organization needs to succeed.
I found a truly cringe-worthy article today that shows what popular websites looked like more than a decade ago and what they look like today. Looking back to what was cutting-edge in 1996, or even 2006, is as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard compared to the modern homepages of popular sites today.
These websites are still well-used today, staying with the times and leading the way we design digital experiences. The key was change over many years of research and understanding of user experience. These sites stay modern, adapting to different web-enabled devices and experiences that the end user will encounter. Common among them are beautiful imagery, clear calls to action, and a sophisticated understanding of what people want on a homepage.
Can you imagine if any of those sites had stayed the same and never changed? We would not be using them today if that were the case. Their popularity would wane. Change is never easy, but it is usually necessary to stay relevant.
Web designers in 1996 could not imagine what the internet would be like in 2015, although they would probably agree there was a lot of potential. A modern equivalent is the implications of big data throughout the enterprise.
Data-driven marketers today are wondering how they can gain insight from big data. The answer? The ability to change is the connection between big data and insight. Data-driven marketers today know that their roles are changing: 68% of marketers think that marketing has seen more changes in the last two years than it has in the past 50 years, according to a recent survey. The changes are due to a renewed focus on customer experience within their jobs, and the need to use big data to improve that experience.
Big data should drive insights that change businesses, but is the real reason marketers aren’t sure about how to use big data tied to the change that it requires? Leading change in an organization is never easy, but it is definitely necessary.
What insights do you want from big data, and what value can you derive from them? If your reason for using big data is customer behavior insights, how will knowing how a customer behaves influence any changes in your approach?
The National Retail Federation recently reported that retailers say these are the three top reasons for using big data in a survey:
- Analyzing customer behavior (56 percent)
- Bringing together different data sources (49 percent)
- Improving personalization (48 percent)
What are your reasons for using big data?
Data-driven marketers can drown in too much information if they look at massive datasets without a question in mind that they want to answer. The question being asked often implies that a business must change to stay modern and relevant to its customers. Could concern over a need for great change be the roadblock to data-driven marketers who could be using data for valuable insights?
Big data has gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years. Data-driven marketers can move the big data concept from fuzzy, unrealized potential to a major part of how their business operates successfully.
Learn more in this white paper for marketers, The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.
80% of companies surveyed said that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. (Source: Bain & Company)
With numbers like that there is plenty of room to improve. But improve what?
Traditionally retailers have measured themselves against year over year increase in sales for like-stores, increased margins and lower operating costs. But, retailing has changed, customers can interact and transact with you across multiple touch points along their path to purchase and beyond. Poor performance at any one of these interaction points could lose you a customer and damage your brand.
A better measure is to calculate the customer experience across the omni-channel landscape. This will provide better insight into how you are attracting and retaining customers, and how well you are serving them. However, many retailers lack the technology and processes to deliver on a plan to improve the omni-channel customer experience.
Once you have decided to do something, what are you going to measure? Is it time spent on website versus sales? Speed to resolve problems in contact center versus number of repeat transactions from customer? Number of touch points before purchase? But what about the softer measures like how well your staff interact with customers in-store or social channels? How many “Pins” you have, or how do you assign value to them?
Organizations need to account for (CHURN, ATTRITION, LOYALTY and LIFETIME VALUE) to be able to evaluate their performance from a holistic view of their customer, not just in the confines of their own operational silo.
In an up and coming webinar Arkady Kleyner, from Intricity will break apart key components of the Omni-Channel Customer Experience calculation. Additionally, Arkady will identify the upstream components that keep this measure accurate and current.
Attend this webinar to learn:
- The foundational calculations of Omni-Channel Customer Experience
- Common customizations to fit different scenarios
- Upstream components to keep the calculation current and accurate
- Register here to receive a calendar invitation with the webinar details.
- Join us for a 1 hour webinar and Q/A session. The event will occur March 19th at 2:00PM EST.
On our recent webinar with Omer Minkara from Aberdeen Group , we learnt that“94% of companies are not satisfied with their use of customer data”, yet retailers still want more data to gain valuable customer insights to drive improvements in the shopper experience. But the top challenge they face when managing customer data as part of their business activities is the quality of the data. Data-Driven retailers are characterized by their ability to balance quantity and quality of data effectively.
Shoppers expect consistency in their interactions with you, whether it’s the same price across channels, accurate shipping information or when they are calling a contact center. However, one of the top frustrations for consumers is the need to provide the same information over and over as they interact with the retailer. This data is already captured in multiple systems but is not connected or clean. Fragmented views of customer data across multiple systems makes it harder to personalize shopper interaction and enhance the overall customer experience.
Bring your data management to today’s omni-channel world
By standardizing customer data across the organization and having a centralized repository of product and service information available to all customer facing roles, data- driven retailers have enjoyed increased margins, higher returns on marketing investments, shorter delivery times and improved time to market for products and services.
Data-driven retailers are not just meeting customer expectations, they are exceeding them.
In my next blog I will look at some of the questions we did not get to answer during this session. In the meantime, why not register for our next webinar “Calculating Omni-Channel Customer Experience – March 19 Webinar” with Arkady Kleyner, Solution Architect, Intricity.
Don’t to follow us on twitter @INFARetail.
In our house when we paint a room, my husband does the big rolling of the walls or ceiling, I do the cut-in work. I am good at prepping the room, taping all the trim and deliberately painting the corners. However, I am thrifty and constantly concerned that we won’t have enough paint to finish a room. My husband isn’t afraid to use enough paint and is extremely efficient at painting a wall in a single even coat. As a result, I don’t do the big rolling and he doesn’t do the cutting in. It took us awhile to figure this out, and a few rooms had to be repainted while we were figuring it out. Now we know what we are good at, and what we need help with.
Payers roles are changing. Payers were previously focused on risk assessment, setting and collecting premiums, analyzing claims and making payments – all while optimizing revenues. Payers are pretty good at selling to employers, figuring out the cost/benefit ratio from an employers perspective and ensuring a good, profitable product. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act along with a much more transient insured population, payers now must focus more on the individual insured and be able to communicate with the individuals in a more nimble manner than in the past.
Individual members will shop for insurance based on consumer feedback and price. They are interested in ease of enrollment and the ability to submit and substantiate claims quickly and intuitively. Payers are discovering that they need to help manage population health at a individual member level. And population health management requires less of a business-data analytics approach and more social media and gaming-style logic to understand patients. In this way, payers can help develop interventions to sustain behavioral changes for better health.
When designing such analytics, payers should consider the following key design steps:
- Extend data warehouses to an analytics appliance
- Invest in a big data platform to absorb patients’ social data
- Build predictive analytics for patient behavior
- Bridge collaborative and behavioral analytics with claims to build revenue and profitability
Due to payers’ mature predictive analytics competencies, they will have a much easier time in the next generation of population behavior compared to their provider counterparts. As clinical content is often unstructured compared to the claims data, payers need to pay extra attention to context and semantics when deciphering clinical content submitted by providers. Payers can use help from vendors that can help them understand unstructured data, individual members. They can then use that data to create fantastic predictive analytic solutions.
With a total B2C e-commerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013, Asia-Pacific was the strongest e-commerce region in the world in 2013, as it surpassed Europe ($482.3bn) and North America ($452.4bn). Online sales in Asia-Pacific expected to have reached $799.2 billion in 2014, due to latest report from the Ecommerce Foundation.
Revenue: China, followed by Japan and Australia
As a matter of fact, China was the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, only behind the US ($419.0 billion), and for 2014 it is estimated that China even surpassed the US ($537.0 billion vs. $456.0 billion). In terms of B2C e-commerce turnover, Japan ($136.7 billion) ranked second, followed by Australia ($35.7 billion), South Korea ($20.2 billion) and India ($10.7 billion).
On average, Asian-Pacific e-shoppers spent $1,268 online in 2013
Ecommerce Europe’s research reveals that 235.7 million consumers in Asia-Pacific purchased goods and services online in 2013. On average, APAC online consumers each spent $1,268 online in 2013. This is slightly lower than the global average of $1,304. At $2,167, Australian e-shopper were the biggest spenders online, followed by the Japanese ($1,808) and China ($1,087).
Mobile: Japan and Australia lead the pack
In the frequency of mobile purchasing Japan shows the highest adoption, followed by Japan. An interesting fact is that 50% of transactions are done at home, 20% at work and 10% on the go.
The signs that healthcare is becoming a more consumer (think patients, members, providers) driven industry are evident all around us. I see provider and payer organizations clamoring for more data, specifically data that is actionable, relatable and has integrity. Armed with this data, healthcare organizations are able to differentiate around a member/patient-centric view.
These consumer-centric views convey the total value of the relationships healthcare organizations have with consumers. Understanding the total value creates a more comprehensive understanding of consumers because they deliver a complete picture of an individual’s critical relationships including: patient to primary care provider, member to household, provider to network and even members to legacy plans. This is the type of knowledge that informs new treatments, targets preventative care programs and improves outcomes.
Payer organizations are collecting and analyzing data to identify opportunities for more informed care management and segmentation to reach new, high value customers in individual markets. By segmenting and targeting messaging to specific populations, health plans generate increased member satisfaction and cost effectively expands and manages provider networks.
How will they accomplish this? Enabling members to interact in health and wellness forums, analyzing member behavior and trends and informing care management programs with a 360 view of members… to name a few . Payers will also drive new member programs, member retention and member engagement marketing and sales programs by investigating complete views of member households and market segments.
In the provider space, this relationship building can be a little more challenging because often consumers as patients do not interact with their doctor unless they are sick, creating gaps in data. When provider organizations have a better understanding of their patients and providers, they can increase patient satisfaction and proactively offer preventative care to the sickest (and most likely to engage) of patients before an episode occurs. These activities result in increased market share and improved outcomes.
Where can providers start? By creating a 360 view of the patient, organizations can now improve care coordination, open new patient service centers and develop patient engagement programs.
Analyzing populations of patients, and fostering patient engagement based on Meaningful Use requirements or Accountable Care requirements, building out referral networks and developing physician relationships are essential ingredients in consumer engagement. Knowing your patients and providing a better patient experience than your competition will differentiate provider organizations.
You may say “This all sounds great, but how does it work?” An essential ingredient is clean, safe and connected data. Clean, safe and connected data requires an investment in data as an asset… just like you invest in real estate and human capital, you must invest in the accessibility and quality of your data. To be successful, arm your team with tools to govern data –ensuring ongoing integrity and quality of data, removes duplicate records and dynamically incorporates data validation/quality rules. These tools include master data management, data quality, metadata management and are focused on information quality. Tools focused on information quality support a total customer relationship view of members, patients and providers.