Don’t make your DM hard work for customers

Branwell Johnson

Consumers or potential clients are likely targeted by umpteen marketing messages and presented with a plethora of choices before they’ve eaten their bowl of cereal (dozens of varieties available).

Your marketing is trying to cut through a blizzard of messages to ensure you are even just top of mind, let alone to develop that resonant emotional connection and brand loyalty.

Loyalty has become a key focus during the economic downturn and many companies are refocusing their loyalty schemes, for example Starbuck’s, or considering launching loyalty schemes, for instance Gregg’s.

But there is another approach to retaining customers and keeping their goodwill – and that’s making any contact with your brand as easy and stress-free as possible. In fact, a session at a recent Marketing Week Customer Experience Summit session was called “Effort is the new loyalty”. Dr Nicola Millard, customer experience futurologist at BT, explored the idea that organisations need to make it easy for customers to stay with them.

What bearing has this to do with DM? Well, along with call centres, counter staff and a myriad other channels, DM is a key customer touchpoint, be it in digital or tangible form. DM departments should be looking at their communications and gauging just how much effort they are demanding of their customers.

For instance, hard copy bills from telecoms or utilities companies are now used as marketing collateral and are more likely to be requested by the older demographic than the younger generation, who are comfortable with checking their accounts online. Are you making the type size for key information and offers suitable for ageing eyes? Signing clearly where the account reference number is?

Or, on your email communications, is it easy to find the “Contact Us” details – and will there be a phone number there? Research shows that a large swathe of customers still want to be able to reach a company by phone.

This sounds like simple stuff but it’s the kind of customer-centric view that many pay lip-service too but all too often find themselves failing to deliver.

Only 46% of people say that they are loyal to any one company, according to research by BT Global Services and Avaya, so don’t give customers the excuse to switch that some careful thinking could forestall.

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