Listening to what your customers want has been crucial to selling for thousands of years. Only recently, thanks to social media, can we listen to what they aren’t saying, and can we listen to their needs even when they aren’t directly interacting with our brand.
First, work out what matters to them
The image you collect of the customer will be built up over time. Starting with data in the CRM, combined with social media listening information, combined with all future points where they interact with you. This collated repository of knowledge should be held within a secure, accessible system which is easy to update and becomes part of the roles of anyone involved in sales and customer service. There’s no point starting to build a clearer picture only to abandon the effort next quarter. It should be ongoing.
But within this ongoing effort should be the acceptance that not all data is created equally. Some of this information will be useful, but not all of it.
This is where context plays an important role. Facebook might show, for example, that a customer loves Adele’s music. Spotify however, shows that said customer hasn’t listened to Adele in a long time. Now they’re listening to the rising female star, Lorde. It is all about context and timing.
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Secondly, decide how to use this information
Not everything you now know will be useful or relevant. You’ll have it anyway, as will a lot of companies who are unlocking the hidden value of big data. But some aspects of it will shine a light on why a customer buys your products or services, or doesn’t, if perhaps they’ve moved onto being quietly disengaged.
- Can you integrate this extra insight into content strategies?
- Are there special promotions you can use to tie in your product / service / brand values in with their interests and passions?
- If they’re now disengaged customers, can you segment accordingly and use content to make them more engaged, educate them and win them back as active customers?
A lot of what you’ll do, from starting to gather more data, to having and using this extra data, is to ask questions. There could easily be more questions than answers for a long time. Which is why it is best that a project like this is spearheaded by those who are best equipped to understand data, customers and marketing. Someone who can wield this effectively in order to unlock the hidden value in what you will find.
Once you can do that the portfolio pictures you will now have of customers will be the basis of the ongoing dialogue you have with them, through whichever channels are best for them. Worried about investing too much time and resources into a project like this? Try it on a small segment of your customer database, see the results, then go forward with a larger group if you get the ROI you need. Your customers will be impressed with the time and effort taken, making them far more important to you than another number.
Attentive.ly is an easy to use tool for companies and organizations to send highly-targeted , triggered communications (email + social media) based on the digital body language of customers, supporters and prospects across the social web. Attentive.ly has been used to identify and track 5 million+ influencers on the social web by over 100 companies and organizations.