Why Customer Care is Your Biggest Marketing Asset in the App Economy
This is a guest post by Abinash Tripathy, CEO and Co-founder of Helpshift.
With the app economy expected to double by 2020 to $101 billion, the mobile customer experience is escalating alongside to be the best marketing strategy for engaging and retaining users. Why? Mobile marketers can no longer count solely on App Store Optimization in a competitive landscape where mobile is applied to our lives in every single way. Mobile has given companies access to more customer touch points, where a negative experience can occur at each point.
In order to act upon this (not necessarily bad) side effect, companies beating to the draw are bringing marketing and customer support departments to work hand-in-hand for marketers to understand their customers at an elevated level and make better decisions on how to impact them. This collaboration brings businesses valuable customer insights that can improve customer experience.
Marketers are already using customer data to learn how to best approach the right people with the right information and customer support teams have long histories with consumers; including feedback on what they like, what they don’t like, and what products and features they want next. Bringing both departments together creates a fully realized view of the customer that allows marketers and support agents to make better decisions powered by data.
This integration with customer service allows marketers to understand customers better and improve products and features through a test and iterate approach. For example, you can test new features in a product that’s live, gather all the feedback from the customer support team and develop evidence supported business decisions on that feedback. With evidence based data, you can examine some of the most salient consumer behavior metrics and how to improve your product accordingly. Incorporate feedback into the experience with what’s winning and make changes where they’re necessary; then repeat. This requires a frequent collaboration between marketing and customer support teams where data creates the bridge between the two and a new company ethos of ‘always improve’ begins to permeate product releases
We’re living in the age of big data, where massive amounts of customer data are created every day. Before this era, customer information was inputted manually and there was little collaboration between departments like marketing and customer service. Now, businesses have so much data and information that it’s difficult to make the data actionable without the proper infrastructure, visualization and tools.
The customer touch points marketers are grasping through customer care for the best customer experience includes data funneled into CRM systems, where data is accountable. In the past five years, there’s been an interesting shift in CRM where it moved from being a pure revenue-tracking tool to a “front office platform,” which allows a company to service their customers and drive more deals into the funnel. CRM tools have expanded from being a system of record for sales teams to a suite that has capability to service or support your customers and the ability to drive more leads via marketing automation.
Some of the mobile-specific tactics via CRM systems include in-app surveys and direct messages. In-app surveys are great for getting valuable customer data in a way that isn’t a drain on the users’ time and energy and that data is instantly actionable for support teams. Direct in-app messages are an extremely targeted and effective way to engage users. User data makes messages relevant and contextual, based on the user’s individual activity in-app, their location, or other segments based on specific behaviors. For example, if a user left an abandoned shopping cart in-app or has demonstrated a drop in activity that reaches a certain threshold, a push or in-app message can be automatically triggered and sent to that user. This proactive use of outbound messaging can bring a customer back to your app, increase the lifetime value of that customer and increase retention. Traditionally a marketing function, outbound communication is now crossing over as a customer support tactic.
Customer care is one of the biggest factors contributing to customer experience, and it has a direct effect on driving revenue growth. If you look at the mobile ecosystem, customer support is number one and marketing automation is number two. There are rare systems that are able to marry customer support and marketing automation, and provide proactive support; engaging with customers with an issue arises. Stellar customer support builds five star apps and in the mobile economy, it’s imperative for businesses, small to large, to proactively support and engage with their customers on devices they’re intimately attached to.