Learn best practices from three companies who are doing CRM well: Zappos, LOVEFiLM, and Victoria's Secret.
Learn best practices from three companies who are doing CRM well: Zappos, LOVEFiLM, and Victoria's Secret.
Though I typically work with clients at a more strategic level, from time to time, I like to "get my hands dirty" so I can can gain a deeper understanding of the fast-changing digital space. For instance, when I launched my first blog in 2003, I Iearned to hack a bit of HTML to get the blog to appear the way I wanted it. Now, the customizations I had to work so hard for are readily available as drag and drop options in most blogging platforms (kids today have it so easy!).
My latest endeavor was to launch an iPhone app so I would more fully understand the process. I know the limitations of my coding skills [read: severely limited], so I was seduced by a company called Appmakr which very prominently promises that no coding skills are required to build a mobile app.
Though that claim may be true, even with Appmakr, there are certain technical skills required. Their tagline stating apps are made "by people like me" might not be as accurate. Because people like me don't necessarily know how to deal with error messages from Apple about Bundle IDs. And people like me don't necessarily run OS X Mountain Lion (I use a Samsung, but borrowed a Mac for the app submission).
Nevertheless, it was a good learning experience, so I thought I'd share a few very basic tips that may help if you are about to launch your first iPhone app. Please add a comment if you have any other helpful tips for newbies!
I also learned many things that are Appmakr specific; feel free to post questions about that. I would suggested if you want to use Appmakr or any similar service, read the help forums before signing up. That will give you a sense of what issues you may run into.
H(app)ily, the app I built is now available in the App store. I built it on behalf of a client (who was fully aware of my aforementioned technical limitations!). Unfortunately, I have an agreement with them which prohibits me from linking to it. That's another learning.
A panel discussion on mobile CRM at OMMA mobile
What does mobile CRM mean?
For a panel discussion on mobile CRM, it was telling that the panel didn’t even agree on the definition of mobile CRM. Some of the panel members simply think it means communicating to customers who have opted in to SMS messages. But CRM isn’t about one channel – CRM is about all of the touch points you have with your customer.
“Mobile CRM is still evolving. It’s not a stand-alone medium. It’s really important to start segmenting who's who to effectively engage and create pleasant relationship with customers,” argued Ben Davis, Co-Founder of Phizzle.
Chris Wayman, VP and General Manager of Merkle Interactive, agreed stating that mobile CRM provides a “wealth of data capture opportunities…Brands that are multi channel should be capturing all the data and storing it in one database.”
Is mobile changing customer relationships?
Wayman: “The customer has already changed the way the brand needs to respond. It’s up to us to find a way to deliver personalized content to customers. Sending generic alerts is not enough - mobile is personal.”
David Wachs, President and CEO of Cellit: “The brand is forced down mobile path to create a more customized experience. They have to come up with a strategy for mobile.”
Davis: “What's really important is to gain trust, not just bombard customers with offers all the time. Take time to approach customers, find out who they are, provide valuable content. It’s a long-term commitment. Once they [brands] do it and they have that commitment and trust, that database becomes gold.”
Don’t be content with the same content
Davis advised that content for the mobile medium is different than content generated on Facebook or Twitter. “Facebook and Twitter allow your consumers to generate the content; mobile gives the brand and content owners the power to create the dialogue.” This is something that brands who are gun-shy about social media should keep in mind.
Patrick Collins, CEO of 5th Finger: “The channel may be different, but the same customers are using it. Victoria’s Secret’s mobile database contained the MOST loyal customers…Treating mobile CRM channel as standalone is dangerous thing to do.”
Alex Campbell, CEO of Vibes Media agreed: “Don't forget the content. You should not have an SMS message that is the same as your email message – they need to be different.”
The mobile database
Collins: “Victoria's Secret had hundreds of thousands of members on its mobile database.” They found that the “mobile database had 95% of their loyal customers on the database – they were already loyal; it wasn't a tool to make them loyal. That insight changed how Victoria’s Secret communicated with users. Instead of pushing offers and announcing products, they sent messages that got customers engaged with the brand. When Victoria’s Secret launched the Incredible Bra, they asked quirky, whimsical, fun questions to their mobile database over a week.”
Campbell: “When you have a loyal customer base, they are expecting to be engaged, not just pushed content.”
Wachs: “Babies ‘R’ Us has built a program called ‘Ages and Stages’ – it starts during pregnancy and continues on to when the consumers are buying toys. It is not targeted at loyal customers, it’s targeted to super excited moms - and they are signing up in droves.”
Unique with mobile
Campbell: “Time, location, and interaction are the three key variables that differentiate mobile. Good campaigns use at least one if not all three of those variables.”
Wachs: “Follow the rule of ones [for ongoing campaigns]: no more than one message a week, no less than one message a month. If you neglect customers for one or two months, they will opt out in droves or they will forget they opted in.”
Collins: “There are lots of variables that drive opt outs; frequency is only one of them.”
Mobile CRM challenges
Collins: “Mobile is still being treated as a silo. The brand already has a customer database [which is not linked with the mobile database]. It will be an interesting evolution. Mobile is more of a delivery channel than a platform or specialty. It should go back to core CRM database - let customers select their preferred channel.”
Wachs: The original SMS programs of text-to-win or text-to-vote had “no integration with process the of bringing consumers to point of purchase. Email CRM drives online purchases – it’s easy to track. Mobile drives in-store purchases - without making investments at cash register to track these transactions, companies can't close that loop.”
Quigley: “Mobile has disrupted path to purchase. Most brands were caught with their pants down.”
QR codes are being used by an increasing number of brands - from airlines to banks to retail. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes which can be read by select smart phones. Users can scan the QR code to display a web page within their mobile browser, display text or access contact information.
The benefit for marketers is to be able to provide relevant information to users who are at a specific place, or who have your physical product in their hands. It also gives advertisers useful metrics to understand who is interacting with their ads and where.
Here's how it works:
The brand publicizes the QR code. In this case, it was on a print ad for Hearts of Fire diamonds.
Here's a close-up of the code:
The user then opens a QR code app on a smart phone to scan the QR code:
A customized web page opens in the user's smart phone web browser:
While it may seem like QR codes will only appeal to the tech savvy crowd, I think practical applications such as mobile boarding passes and bicycle registration will drive adoption.
In addition, Google sent out 100,000 QR code decals to businesses in December 2009, so expect to see an increasing number of these in store windows and point of purchase displays in the future.
QR codes are already being adopted by fashionable brands such as Missoni, Clinique and Calvin Klein.
In Japan, Louis Vuitton even used a designer QR code in one of their campaigns.
QR codes could be used in businesses with physical locations to encourage people to sign up for your email list, "like" you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. Brands can use QR codes to create campaigns with hidden content or other game-like elements. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can use QR codes to provide additional content about their product and drive people to their website for further engagement. QR codes are not complex and the cost is relatively low. The timing is right to start considering how QR codes can fit into your overall marketing mix.
Related posts:Marketing your local business with little or no budget
I've used T-Mobile for the last few years and found their customer service to be excellent. Now they are looking to improve it even more, using a three-question text message survey after each call to customer service.
The service is "powered by" Fizzback. According to a testimonial from T-Mobile's Customer Services Director on the Fizzback web site, T-Mobile plans to use the service for their store customers and within their customer service organisation, to "fine-tune our processes and improve employee performance."
This could be a really useful customer retention and marketing research tool.
Here is the full text of the T-Mobile survey:
Hello, thanks for calling T-Mobile. We'd like to ask you for some feedback about your customer service experience. (All texts are free)
Q1 of 3: Overall how satisfied were you with your call experience?
2. Not very
1. Not at all
Delighted you were satisfied.
Q2 of 3: Did the T-Mobile agent you spoke with resolve your query on this occasion?
Happy to hear that. Q3 of 3: How satisfied were you with the commitment of the agent to resolve your query - from 5 (extremely) to 1 (not at all)?
Thanks. Finally we would welcome your feedback on the reasons for your ratings, or how we could improve your T-Mobile experience. Please text us your comments
Thanks for taking part in our survey. Your feedback about our service will be used to help us continually improve. T-Mobile (powered by Fizzback)
While it may not be an appropriate communication channel for all brands, if there is a fit it's a great way to connect with customers "at the point of experience".
Have you received any SMS surveys? Would you respond to one if you did? Please leave a comment below.
Chase is sending out inserts in its credit card statements encouraging customers to sign up for the very helpful-sounding "fraud alert" service. But what is the real reason they want your mobile number?
If you read the fine print on the enclosed insert entitled "IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING CHANGES TO YOUR ACCOUNT AND YOUR RIGHT TO CANCEL YOUR ACCOUNT", they've amended their terms of service to state that "you authorize us, or anyone acting on our behalf, to call or send a text message to any number you provide."
Why might they want to send you a text message? According to the insert, they can text you "for any lawful purpose, including but not limited to: suspected fraud or identity theft; obtaining information; your account transactions or servicing; collecting on your account; and providing you information about products and services."
This legalese disguised as a default opt-in to marketing messages gets a failing grade. I don't mind receiving marketing messages by SMS, but only from the companies I choose to let contact me. Additionally, the thought of getting middle-of-the-night texts and calls from a collection agency (i.e. "anyone acting on our behalf") if I ever miss a payment makes me uneasy. I'm sure they only do that for very delinquent accounts, but from a customer point of view, the disadvantages of giving Chase my mobile number far outweigh the "fraud alert" benefit.
(click to enlarge)
This seems like a case of the legal department not talking to the marketing department, which can be a challenge in financial services marketing.
Have you given your mobile number to your bank, or other companies? What experiences have you had?