Deloitte recently released their perspective piece entitled COVID-19 Maintaining customer loyalty and trust during times of uncertainty which provides a series of topics focused on how brands can “provide excellent value to their customers, and…return to growth as soon as they can after the crisis lifts.” Among the customer-focused topics Deloitte discusses include:
- Communicating to customers: being proactive in the engagements around COVID.
- Caring for loyal customers: focusing on tailored experiences to most valuable customers.
- Assessing service levels: ensuring your support is evolving with customer behaviors.
- Using advanced technology: aligning innovation investments with customer needs.
We sat down with Keith Aldrige, a Strategic Client Specialist with mTab who has supported leading brands in customer intelligence and data strategy for nearly 25 years. Keith provides his thoughts on Deloitte’s COVID focal points and where brands are focusing to find customer success despite the current market challenges brought on by COVID isolation.
Q: Keith, looking at the 12 points Deloitte lays out in this perspective piece, what do you find brands are focusing on first and foremost?
Aldridge: “The idea around ‘use advanced technology’ is a major one to begin with. As companies try to strengthen their connections to customers they first have to get a view of what has changed with how the customer thinks, behaves, interacts and perceives the brand. And while Deloitte doesn’t specifically point to the importance of data, data innovation is the building block that enterprises are setting first to understand customer shifts in order to make decisions, set strategy and deliver experiences. If you don’t deeply understand the customer first, you can’t effectively engage them. And if you can’t adequately engage them, you can’t effectively motivate them.”
Q: Deloitte talks about “loyal customers.” How do you find brands generally approach loyalty when they are analyzing their customers?
Aldridge: “As technology and markets shift so does the value customers can provide. Traditionally, businesses look at the straightline pounds or dollars an individual spends with the brand, which is essentially customer lifetime value (CLV). However, today there are different levels of value which can come from referrals, reviews and responses, beyond just revenue. There is significant value in customers that engage the brand and provide affinity or even evangelism to other potential customers. There are certainly dataset views that reveal these perspectives to brands and extend and expand the CLV. Those companies ignoring these dimensions are typically losing out on cultivating major value to their brand and bottomline.”
Q: In terms of COVID, are there specific customer views that are fundamental in driving how a business approaches its market recovery?
Aldridge: “Looking at the changes in how customers are engaging your business, for example, if it is more online than in-person, the business will want to perhaps strengthen their online support and tools and maybe launch an app. Or if the consumer is taking more time to research before making a purchase the brand should adjust their communications to appropriately educate and nurture the customer journey. The data-driven intelligence will inform these decisions, advise the strategy, guide the experiences and ultimately motivate the customer. But again, synthesizing your data so you have a holistic understanding of the customer’s behaviors, attitudes, preferences and engagements is the critical first step.”
Q: So, what is the first step in this data-driven intelligence?
Aldridge: “It’s technology driven. Taking inventory of your datasets, finding the gaps (perhaps with COVID intelligence), integrate and synthesize them with a customer experience insight platform in order to visualize and democratize the customer understanding and apply it to each team’s objectives. The technology does the major work to deliver the evidence that will steer the decisions, strategy and experiences around the customer.”
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