It’s been a long time since the best way for companies to actively engage their customers was through catalogs and door-to-door flyers. In the age of the Internet, some traditional marketing, while popular, feels as archaic as a horse and buggy. Even email newsletters are beginning to seem stale as they get sidelined (or even replaced) by newer delivery channels, such as text messages, iBeacons, and smartphone or smartwatch push notifications.
Today’s new channels provide companies the opportunity to offer valuable information to customers extremely proactively, instead of having to reactively wait for a customer to open an app or read an email and then respond. Which begs the question: what’s the benefit of grabbing your customers’ attention even when they’re not looking at you? Well, that, boys and girls, is marketing nirvana and bodes well for any CX—when it’s done right. But how much attention is too much? Just because you can text, push-notify, and iBeacon-track your way into your customers’ lives doesn’t mean you always should.
Here are five tips on how to tread the ambiguous line between a useful push and a pushy push:
1. Content Counts
CX engagements and marketing efforts are only as good as the message they send. No matter how well-timed or how slick the wording may be, if what you’re announcing isn’t important to the customer, your ostensibly useful updates instantly devolve into “text spam.” So make sure that what you’re proactively communicating really matters.
For instance, a push notification or text about flight delays can be a great, tremendously beneficial enhancement to a traveler’s CX because the information is highly personal and truly time-sensitive. But is a new sale at the local pet food store “text worthy”? Maybe yes, but maybe no. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to decide if the content is something they’d really want to know now or could just as easily wait to discover in an email.
2. Divide, Conquer, and Connect
The better you can segment your customer base in order to deliver app notifications and texts that are uniquely relevant, the more likely your customers will respond. How? Segment customer groups by age, gender, and which products or services they purchase from you. Segment by geography, and then reference in your messages local weather or regional sports. Some research says that smartly segmented push notifications have a click-through rate in excess of 50%, versus just 15% for more generic alerts.
3. Be Personal But Not Creepy
Don’t go overboard when mining customer data for opportunities to engage. While it’s one thing to target everyone who bought lawn furniture or a grill and ask them how they worked out after the Fourth of July, it’s another thing to inquire the same after Valentine’s Day of all customers who bought lingerie or chocolate.
Perhaps the biggest risk of overfamiliarity involves location-based services such as the iBeacon inside Apple Watches and iPhones, which enables stores to track customers’ movements and push out announcements based on the products they are near. But that big-data-meets-location “service” can look rather Big Brother-esque, fast. Just ask Nordstrom, who learned the hard way that shoppers were none too pleased to discover that the company had implemented iBeacon technology to track where they were in the store. Make sure your customers are fully aware of exactly why you might want to know where they are, and act responsibly. Don’t lose sight of how this might impact the CX.
4. Time Is of the Essence
Perfectly timed pushes (whether mobile notifications or emails) can greatly impact receptivity. Understanding how doesn’t require every company to reinvent the wheel. Study click-through rates and their relationship to time of day. For tweets and Facebook posts, try using an engagement-monitoring service. Pushing to your whole customer base at 4:45pm ET means you have to assume that your West Coast clients are inclined to stop and check non-work-related emails and notifications mid-afternoon. If your East Coasters are engaging with those messages more, then maybe you need to push in waves, at everyone’s 4:45pm. According to mobile automation company Kahuna, technology that customizes scheduling of pushes can result in 325% higher response rates than one standard push.
5. Choose Wisely
What is good for a text might not be good for an app notification, and vice versa. Create your messages and use different delivery methods wisely. It might make a lot of sense to send a text if a customer’s GrubHub order has arrived, but an order confirmation from an online store purchase feels less urgent and more suited to a good old-fashioned email. And keep the personal touch within reason: If CVS starts tracking customer behavior in their stores with iBeacons, it’d be good for them to bear in mind that not every customer will appreciate being accosted by a grinning, helpful employee when they’re shopping for condoms or browsing the anti-diarrheal aisle. When it comes to better engagement through technology, privacy should remain a priority.
The net here: new methods of engagement through app push notifications, texts, and iBeacon proximity-monitoring are all rapidly increasing, with 52% of users consenting to push notifications when they download a new app. This customer willingness to engage means there is plenty of room for a powerful sea change in the CX experience with these new technologies—if used well for enhanced customer engagement, and not abused as an unnecessary annoyance.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Are Your Push Notifications Too Pushy? Keep Things Friendly with These 5 Tips
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