Successful businesses know that in order to stay ahead, they must adapt to changes. Customer contact is a key example of where innovation is needed to keep attracting new business and to sustain the loyalty of an existing client base. Here, we review some recent thinking and the latest methods to maintain contact with customers.As consumers and businesses are aware, aggressive marketing has seen emails used almost to saturation levels. These days, customers tend to be discerning with the result that email open rates may have dropped to as low as only 15 to 25 percent.
More than just emailClearly, therefore, email is effective only to a certain point.
An innovative approach uses different channels to captivate attention; new techniques to contact potential customers have been shown to improve prospect engagement fourfold - and resulting sales by over a third.A large proportion of consumers now shop online using multiple platforms and mobile voice searches. Responsive websites are much more likely to achieve good sales results. Live chat services such as Drift are highly adaptive and quicker than irritating telephone tree menus of automated call-handling systems. In fact, the best live chat systems are so well designed that they blur the distinction between content, automated marketing and other account events.
The latest artificial intelligence can be put to work to provide customers with rapid answers to basic sales or support questions. Machine learning has an important part to play; rules can be defined to trigger saved responses and route enquiries correctly according to the visitor’s location, language, frequency of visits, clicks, time spent and pages visited.
Mobile messagingAlternatively, SMS texts tend to attract quicker responses, perhaps because text messages have not yet been exposed to the same abuses as email. SMS messaging can be used to prime customers for phone calls or to follow up on a transaction, to express a more personalised thank you or to inform recipients of a special offer. Applications that specialise in such use of text messaging include Text Magic, Twilio and Zapier.Continuing with mobile phones and their role in customer contact, the popularity of smartphone applications has given rise to in-app notifications as another way to reach potential customers and market segments.Finally, direct mail continues to have a role to play in sales communications because many customers still like to receive a surprise offer through the letterbox.
According to a recent post office survey (USPS), six out of ten mail recipients visit a website if it is promoted in the letter. This classic method of communication, therefore, helps messages to reach their audience in a saturated market.