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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 04, 2015

Expert: How to reconnect customers

According to recent data from Millward Brown Digital and MBlox while most (73%) of businesses believe they are doing a good job of expressing customer care fewer than half (41%) of consumers actually feel retailers care about them. This is a big problem for brands, but one expert believes there is a way to reconnect both customers and brands.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What does the disparity between customers and businesses in perceived customer care mean?

Paul R. Ruppert, SVP, Global Sales & Marketing, Mblox: In today's hyper-connected and mobile world, an experience with a brand extends beyond the store doors into consumers' homes and everyday life through mobile ads, emails, text messages and more - creating more risks and opportunities for negative experiences. Retailers cannot afford to be underprepared for this variety of customer interactions and must make sure they have a positive experience regardless of channel. Research indicates that individual consumers consistently use an average of four channels when interacting with a brand or organization. Brands and businesses must be ready for sophisticated interactions across numerous channels - all showing personalization and an understanding of customer needs. This is particularly true of email and text, as Mblox data shows that these modes of communication are how consumers want to get information from retailers. And all this distills down to a mobile engagement first. Multiple channels, whether text, email, chat or voice, are engaged first on consumers mobile phone.

Kristina: What happens with customers who have a bad experience? Is the a second chance to make a good impression?

Paul: An overwhelming majority of consumers - 86 percent - stop doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience. That lost customer won't just hurt today, but for more tomorrows to come. Retailers who rely on repeat consumers generating life time value, jeopardize their own long tail if they don't engage customer care during the consumers' daily journeys. Evermore so, this is critical given our daily mobile journeys are promoted through our social graph. The impact on one consumer has ripple effects on others as they chat with friends or posts about the experience on social media.

Kristina: Is mobile a good communication tool for customer service?

Paul: Most people agree that good communication is one of the keys to successful, healthy relationships; it's no different with customer relationships. Retailers must carefully cultivate and curate long-term relationships - or risk falling far behind in the minds and wallets of their customers.

Getting smart in mobile communication is essential as more and more consumers shift toward mobile, not only for browsing and buying products. National Retail Federation research shows 31 percent of college shoppers plan to buy products with their smartphones - and 35 percent will make purchases via tablet.

Kristina: How can retailers better use mobile as a communication tool?

Paul: Retailers must pause and evaluate whether they're communicating with their customers at the time and place and in the manner that fits their lifestyle and shopping habits. Mblox's customer care research shows that retailers are over-investing in games, apps, voice, and even social media when it comes to communicating information to their customers. According to the consumers surveyed, email and text lead their preferences for mobile communication, regardless of the nature of the information.

A well coordinated plan engaging consumers across multiple mobile platforms--SMS, text, apps, email and voice-- will ensure the highest engagement of customers--where, when, and how they want it. Mobile first guarantees an enterprise's ability to care for their customers and build enduring, high return relationships to drive sales.

Tags: advertising, customer engagement, customer loyalty, ecommerce, Mblox

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