Survey: Organizations Continue to Focus on Personalization

Today’s consumers are tired of dealing with businesses that treat them like just another customer. Rather than receiving impersonal marketing messages, consumers want to be given information that’s tied directly to their needs and preferences.

Knowing how important providing a tailored user experience is to consumers, many businesses are adopting a more personalized approach to marketing. In fact, a recent survey from Adobe and Econsultancy titled, “2016 Digital Trends,”  focusing on the individual is at the top of businesses’ priority list.

For instance, marketers listed the following areas as their top concerns: personalization (31percent), content optimization (29 percent) and social media engagement (25 percent). What’s more, over a fifth (22 percent) of client-side respondents ranked optimizing the customer experience as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead.

So what does this mean for contact centers?

Consumers are using different channels – for example phone, mail and Web – to interact with companies, which means that companies must provide a personalized experience across all channels.

Luckily, there are integrated marketing solutions that can help contact center leaders provide consumers with a seamless and personalized experience via phone, mail and the web. For example, InfoCision’s Business intelligence Group, which is comprised of strategic marketing experts and IT professionals, can provide actionable recommendations to improve your bottom line.

So rather than sending generic messages to your audience and hoping that it fosters positive results, you can get to know your customers better and maximize your ROI with a truly unique and tailored customer experience.

Personalization will continue to be important as customers’ expectations remain high. As a forward thinking contact center leader, it’s your job to implement a multichannel strategy that speaks to individual preferences. Luckily, there’s technology available that will help you reach this goal.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

The Impact of the First Name Basis

Delta Airlines recently experienced a customer care mishap when its Delta Sky Club customer care representative pretended to know a customer on a first name basis, but in actuality slipped up, forgot his name, and then to make matters worse, asked to see his personal identification. Yikes!

The airline, however, quickly redeemed itself by immediately fixing the situation. Now, a customer care representative at the airline’s lounge desk will welcome you, scan your boarding pass, and address you by name.

While you might not be in the airline industry, there’s certainly a lesson to be learned here. In particular, the importance of marrying technology with customer care, as well as creating a personalized experience for customers.

By implementing sophisticated contact center technology, such as predictive analysis, you can give your customers the personalized experience that they’ve come to expect. For example, with predictive analysis Communicators can leverage customers’ personal and account information and thereby address the inquiry more efficiently and personally. This also prevents customers from needing to continuously repeat information.

What’s more, doing something as simple as calling a customer by his or her first name will help make him or her feel respected and valued—two things that all customers are seeking. According to a study from InMoment Research—which surveyed 644 consumers and 131 brand representatives— one in three respondents explicitly mentioned how they want to feel about their interactions with brands, using words and phrases like “feeling valued,” “acknowledged,” “heard,” “appreciated,” and “respected.”

Don’t let what happened to Delta happen to you. If you’re looking to improve your customer care strategy, then consider implementing technology that gives your Communicators the information they need to provide superior quality of customer care to your customers. Technology coupled with good old fashion training is a winning combination for all businesses.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Food For Thought: Millennials Customer Care Expectations Don’t Include Smartphones

When you hear the word “millennial,” a picture of a young, digital savvy individual with his or her eyes glued to a smartphone usually comes to mind. After all, millennials grew up with technology, using it to do pretty much everything from ordering a pizza to booking a flight.

With millennials pegged as digitally-obsessed individuals that rely on their mobile devices to perform everyday tasks, one would confidently assume that they prefer receiving customer care through mobile and social applications. That assumption, however, is mistaken.

According to a recent survey, just one percent of survey respondents said that they would prefer to reach out to a brand on social media for customer care. As it turns out, millennials overwhelmingly prefer contacting customer care centers via the old-fashion way: the telephone.

So what does this mean for businesses? Rather than put all of their resources and money into building social and mobile customer care platforms to field interactions from consumers, businesses must do a better job at meeting millennials top customer care expectations, which include the following:

  • Understanding problems quickly: Millennials-like many other generations-become increasingly frustrated when they have to repeat their problem to multiple people. They want businesses to understand their problems quickly so they can get on the road to correction.
  • Receiving a personalized experience: We’re living in the era of personalization. As a result, millennials have come to expect a more personalized experience from companies. They don’t want to feel like just another number, but a valued consumer—which brings us to the next point.
  • Feeling valued: One of the reasons why consumers prefer to use the phone to contact businesses is because they want to speak to a real, compassionate human who can make them feel valued.

By training your Communicators in these particular areas and giving them the necessary tools, you can ensure that you’re meeting millennials customer care expectations.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

The Truth about Donor Retention in Nonprofit Fundraising

Successful nonprofit fundraising requires a strong marketing strategy and the use of intuitive technology that gleans actionable insights about prospective and existing donors. After all, retaining donors is much like retaining consumers in that organizations must understand their audiences’ demographics and interests so that they can personalize and target their messages for better engagement.

But implementing a sound fundraising strategy isn’t so easy. In fact, many nonprofits struggle to craft a truly effective campaign strategy that increases donor retention rates year-over-year. Indeed, the “2014 Fundraising Effectiveness Project Survey Report” revealed that the average donor attrition rate is 57 percent. What’s more, the donor retention rate decreased by 7 percent from 2006 to 2014.

As such, nonprofits ought to cast an eye towards the integrated marketing solutions afforded by today’s contact centers to increase donor retention. For instance, its takes an excellent communicator to aptly convey the value of your nonprofit to potential donors, so organizations would be wise to enlist the help of trained professionals who can state your case in the most impactful light.

Additionally, contact centers have access to a myriad of sophisticated technology that can help nonprofits narrow down their audience for each campaign. For instance, if your donor attrition rate has substantially risen it might be due to an over generalized marketing message. Contact centers, however, can grant you access to data analytics that will help you realize patterns amongst your donor-base. Once these patterns—similar demographic backgrounds, past contributions, personal interests and charity affiliations—are established you can then segment your audience into groups based on similarities. In doing so, you can personalize your messages, whether they are over the phone or through an email marketing message, to match your donors pertinent concerns and improve the likelihood of gaining their contribution.

Retaining loyal donors is essential to nonprofit fundraising success. Thankfully, contact centers can provide the marketing guidance and support that is needed to cultivate long-lasting donor relationships.

Seeking additional fundraising advice? Read more here.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Top Ways to Create a Personalized Customer Care Experience

The degree of attentiveness and dedication that today’s consumers expect from their favorite brands’ has hit an all-time high. Just think about it; consumers need multiple modes of contact, immediate answers and even customized messages that target their personal needs. And, due to these sky rocketing demands, businesses must do their due diligence to meet these requirements or suffer the consequences—like customer churn and negative reviews.

Now, businesses must interact with their consumers with the intent of forming a personal relationship. So, when it comes to the quality of customer care in the contact center space, the role of the telecommunications agent has become much more complex. For instance, agents must now do much more than simply communicate with their consumers, rather they must deliver a personalized one-on-one experience with each customer.

In fact, a recent article titled “The Golden Rules to the Six Pillars: Empathy” published by Engage Customer outlines how to effectively create these experiences with your consumers by adhering to a few “golden rules.” For instance, sharing similar experiences to establish a personal connection, providing the right emotional response, taking ownership of your consumers’ problems and treating customers as your priority are a just a few of the rules to live by.

So, how can you make certain that your contact center agents are addressing these golden rules and creating the ultimate customer experience with each individual they interact with?

Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your agents take their customer care phone calls to the next level:

  • Keep it conversational: Let your agents know that it’s important to talk about more than just the issue at hand. Consumers should understand that agents are human beings who enjoy social interaction just as much as the next person. For example, while it’s important to keep your phone calls professional, try making light conversation about the weather, about current events or, depending on the nature of the call, share your own personal experiences with your customer. In doing so, your consumers will feel at ease and that they’ve established a real relationship with their brand of choice.
  • Make consumers feel important: When helping a customer with a problem they’re having with a product or answering a simple question—make sure that your agents use language and a tone of voice that allows consumers to understand that they are the top priority. It should be apparent that solving their issue is the agent’s top concern. Tell your agents to thank customers for their patience, voice their understanding and relay urgency—use phrases like “right away” and “I completely understand how you feel”—to make consumers feel as if they’re speaking with a loyal friend.

It’s time to stop treating consumers like strangers. Get more personal and show them your empathetic side—it’s just what you need to boost your quality of customer care.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Rumors of Direct Mail’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Direct mail can get a bit of a bad rap these days. Often referred to sarcastically as “snail mail,” many people now view it as nearly obsolete.

An important distinction to make with print mail, however, is that although it is older than other channels, it is far from antiquated. That principle is supported by a plethora of recent statistics and reports, many of which reveal that consumers find print mail more personal than online communications.

Direct mail can still be extremely effective but, like a strategy for any other channel, it has to be tailored to specific consumer groups to achieve maximum impact. Customizing direct mail marketing, however, can seem like an overwhelming and time-consuming task for many companies. In that case, a multichannel marketing partner can be essential for businesses without the time or capability to drill down on data and personalize direct mail for different customer segments.

A true one-stop marketing shop has robust print solutions that fit seamlessly with phone, email, social media and other channels. Working closely alongside businesses to help them execute their strategies, these top-shelf marketing partners can actually break down information far enough—using sophisticated business intelligence—to create unique mail pieces with personalized messages for each customer.

Despite what you may hear, direct mail remains a critical ingredient for marketing success and probably will for some time. There’s a reason people generally don’t send wedding or gala invitations through email or on social media—print mail offers a personal touch other channels simply can’t match. In other words, implementing multichannel marketing solutions is always a good idea, as long as you don’t neglect the most tried-and-true method of all.

Click here to learn more about InfoCision’s print mail solutions.