Now more than ever, your prospective customers will want to be confident that your company is stable and secure for the long term. James Alty Founder & Managing Director at Apteco, provides insights and tips for businesses looking to enhance their relationships with customers during these uncertain times.
As the country starts to find a way out the other side of the Covid-19 global pandemic lockdown, businesses are putting steps into place to work out the ‘new normal’ for their brand and their industry.
There’s no doubt that, during this time, understanding customers’ needs is a top priority for every organisation.
Whilst many businesses will have had to make changes during the lockdown, customers’ needs will have changed too; from their personal financial situations, to new values they seek from brands they’re considering making purchases from. This means that brands should be positioning themselves and their values in a way that will best maintain loyalty and trust with their customers.
So, what is the newfound importance of knowing your customers better than ever before? And how can businesses improve their customer relationships during this adjustment period?
Use data to adapt your customer journey
A customer’s journey is highly specific to their individual and unique experiences with your brand. During the period of Covid-19 and beyond, a customer’s needs may now be hugely different than prior to the pandemic – whether that’s due to financial circumstances or a change in personal priorities.
Brands should be proactively seeking to adapt their processes in a way that will support their customers on their journey with your company. A key example is how adaptable your brand is to being predominantly online; whilst many people turned to making purchases online while the shops were closed, does their re-opening mean that people will stop online shopping or has their behaviour and expectation changed permanently? Looking to Amazon Prime’s subscription service as an example, their revenue has increased by 28% in Q1 2020 compared to the same quarter a year ago, primarily due to people in lockdown turning to the e-commerce giant for their essentials. It seems likely that other brands will have recorded similar trends, too.
In order to put your brand in a position where you’re meeting your customers’ needs as they go through their journey of awareness and engagement leading to making a purchase from you, you need to be confident that the changes you make are of true value. To do this effectively, look to gather real, insightful data – this could be from your operational or digital platforms, or by surveying your customer base to learn more about their attitudes and preferences at this time.
Feedback in one of Apteco’s recent webinars confirmed many attendees had the capability to monitor email open, bounce and click rates, only a minority track email campaigns fully from send to basket orders. This suggests that businesses could be doing more to analyse customer behaviour and make informed decisions as a result, especially in the new unpredictable climate businesses are currently facing.
Using customer behaviour analysis to your advantage
Understanding your customers’ behaviour during this time will help you map out a strategy for the content you create and the promotional messages you use.
As a brand, you should be working to thoroughly understand transaction analysis, customer journey analysis and the level of support required for each customer. Once you have insights and knowledge from your data, use it to your advantage by making clear actions and changes. Remember to test every change by using control groups to allow measurement of the effect, too. As the business climate is constantly changing at the moment, you need to make sure that the changes you make are swift; leaving it too long could mean your customer and marketplace messages are inappropriate and customers may lose trust in your brand.
Behavioural modelling – the process of using relevant customer interactions to predict future behaviour – will allow you to change your business and marketing strategies based on your customers’ recent behaviour. You can analyse this behaviour more widely than just through purchases, by looking at topics such as your app, your contact centre or website activity, as well as determining whether a customer is making their first order or have made fewer orders than usual. This broad view of a customer’s behaviour will enable you to build a bank of insights that can help shape your activity.
Remember to use both analytics tools and third party analytics, such as Hotjar, so you can ensure that real and accurate data is informing your decisions.
Looking to the future
Preparing for the ‘new normal’ and the permanence of the effect of Covid-19 is something that every business across every industry is working to do at the moment.
Questions, such as whether online will continue to be the go-to platform for trade or if this is just a short-term solution, are continually being considered by brands. Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to fit all during these unprecedented times, and each sector should be using data, measuring trends and using year on year comparisons to make predictions of what the future of their industry and customer behaviour will entail.
The reality of the situation is that no brand knows for certain how to orientate their way through Covid-19 and beyond, so businesses need to be on the ball more than ever before – continually seeking to better understand customers, their behaviour and their needs during this time. However, by taking the time to make changes to your strategies, messaging and content in-line with what the data is telling you, you’ll be in a strong position to maintain customer trust and loyalty beyond the pandemic.
By James Alty
Founder & Managing Director
About the author
James Alty is a technologist with over 30 years’ experience in the marketing analysis and automation arenas. As Founder and MD of Apteco, James leads the business designing, developing and supporting the Apteco Marketing Suite™ for thousands of users worldwide. Apteco is based in Warwick, UK and delivers software and services through offices in Frankfurt, Sydney and Rotterdam working with a global network of partner firms. James is experienced in B2B, B2C and not for profit marketing having worked on numerous marketing database, analytics and campaign management projects.
James graduated from Manchester University in Computation and started his career with Logica in The Netherlands, before moving on to found Apteco in 1987. He is always happy with the latest gadgets and able to understand both users’ and developers’ requirements. Outside Apteco, James is a qualified private pilot, single-speed cyclist, community volunteer and vice president of the local members’ sports club where he plays squash.