Orchestrate a Better Customer Experience
by Bob Harrell, Director of Marketing
Step in to the shoes of a physician, caregiver or patient for a moment. What do they want? Generally, they want useful, relevant information that will help them manage their own health, or someone else’s health. Where will they go for information, advice, and guidance? Their ultimate decision of what path to take will be influenced by several information sources (i.e., advertisements, leaflets, online health forums, condition and branded websites, etc.).
People are looking for the ‘right information at the right time’. This means there’s a lot of information that they do not want to receive. There are messages that might resonate for one segment of customers at a particular time, which are the wrong messages for another segment even within the same treatment stage. Additionally, there are ‘right’ communication channels and ‘wrong’ communication channels. People want to receive the information via their channel of choice, whatever that may be.
Understand your customers
Today’s robust data sets and technology provide marketers with a comprehensive view of their customers. This deeper understanding enables brands to create more customer-centric communications. For example, data insights allow marketers to effectively segment their customers based on behaviors and preferences. In turn, customers receive more meaningful, timely dialogue based on their choices. Following are additional ways to enhance your brand’s relationship with existing and potential customers.
- Opt-in or opt-out: Providing opt-in preferences demonstrates respect for your customers’ time and interests. It also provides insight into your customers’ needs for future communications.
- Seasonal interest: The change of season creates opportunities for customer communication because customer needs also change. For example, if your brand treats food allergies, your email campaigns may include sending reminders to parents during back-to-school time when parents’ interest is at its peak. If your brand treats allergies to bees or pollen, spring may be the ideal time to communicate with customers who are interested in seasonal allergy relief.
- Channel preference: Demographic data may provide insight into your customers’ channel preferences. Twenty-something customers may be open to communication through social media and email channels while senior citizens may prefer direct mail.
- Call-to-action: Asking your customers to do something (download a document, take a survey, sign-up for emails, etc.) and then tracking their responses provides valuable information about your customers’ needs. This information can be used to create more meaningful campaigns and, in turn, increase brand loyalty.
Collect only what you need
Many marketers experience “data overload” by unintentionally collecting data that will never add value or be used. In turn, customers grow weary of providing that data—filling out surveys, providing preferences, downloading numerous documents. In short, “data overload” can damage customer relationships. Next time you’re planning a campaign, ask yourself:
- Will the data I’m collecting from this tactic successfully inform future campaigns?
- Will the customer’s time be well spent? In other words, will the data insights enhance the customer relationship?
- Am I actually able to use the data collected (e.g., have the resources, technology, etc.)?
When you collect information from your customers, it’s like entering into a social contract with them. You’re saying, “If you give me some data about you, I’m going to give you value back.” Be sure you’re honoring your contract.
Avoid the black hole
Have you ever signed up for something or sent an email inquiry to a company but never received a response? Or, the answer came too late? Then you know how frustrating this can be. Adequate and timely follow-through is critical to growing customer loyalty. Don’t damage your customer relationships by not delivering on your promises.
Additionally, demonstrate your interest in your customers by consistently following-up with them. Create well-timed touch points, such as welcome letters, newsletters and health tips. Show your customers that you care about them.
In a recent survey¹1 of relationship marketing programs of the top 10 pharmaceutical brands, only 2 out of 10 brands sent follow-up communications within 6 weeks of program registration. Having a consistent cadence of follow-up communications is critical.
Sync your multi-channel communications
If you took all of your communications (emails, direct mail, surveys, TV spots, point-of-care, etc.) and viewed them side-by-side, would you see consistent branding, imagery, and tone? Does your campaign look like a family of siblings? For example, if your brand highlights a celebrity spokesperson on your website to promote a starter kit to new consumers, ensure that this same imagery is used throughout your tactics and channels (thank you confirmation email, starter kit packaging and materials, follow-up email communication, etc.). Syncing your multi-channel communications creates brand awareness and understanding with your customers and, in turn, promotes better customer engagement.
Measure, optimize, and repeat
Does this sound familiar? You launch a campaign and have your customers complete all of the touch points. Six months later, you measure and evaluate campaign results. You suddenly realize that, if you had just changed one or two tactics, campaign results would have been greatly improved.
Avoid this pitfall by tracking and adjusting your campaigns regularly once they are in flow. Evaluate and refine the messages you’re driving, the target segments you’re reaching, and the channels you’re using. Optimizing your campaigns enables you to significantly enhance customer engagement and the quality of interaction while decreasing the cost of outreach.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to impact your campaign’s success. Consistently and proactively measure and evaluate results throughout your campaigns. Then, make real-time adjustments as needed.
Balance customer needs with brand
Remember, it’s more about your customer than it is about your brand. For instance, if customers opt-in to your campaign via an unbranded communication, ensure they’re ready for branded communications. Create a customer journey that helps you better understand why customers are seeking additional information (i.e., a short survey). If customers only desire disease information, don’t provide them recommended doctors for your medication or procedure. Ease customers into branded communications at their own pace. This customer-centric approach creates trust between your brand and your customer. As customer trust grows, so will the impact of your communications.
¹Relationship Marketing Audit, Lars Merk, DTC National Q1 2013