While rapid advancements in technology have presented brands with endless opportunities to grow and thrive in the digital age, for some customers, this has done the opposite by complicating what used to be a more simple and unified process.
For some, a lack of digital knowhow is simply down to not having the access or resource to embrace the digital world, but for many it’s a matter of making a conscious choice not to become digitally committed, with a preference for more traditional forms of brand engagement such as direct mail. This leaves a significant chunk of the population digitally excluded – so how can you ensure these customers don’t get left behind?
Integrate tech with tradition
Communication is a critical component of any customer engagement strategy as it offers brands a direct route to nurture a meaningful connection with their customers.
ELLO Media’s new research into customer loyalty revealed that, somewhat unsurprisingly, 60% of UK consumers identify email as their preferred method of communication when hearing from brands about news, promotions and rewards across all market sectors.
However, our research also revealed that double the amount of consumers (14%) would prefer to hear about news, promotions and rewards courtesy of a good old-fashioned letter over online channels such as social media and chatbots (7%).
While this may sound surprising, for some, nothing beats the physical form of holding, and reading, words in print. I often like to compare this to how we consume our news; while a lot of us now keep-up with current affairs by scrolling and clicking through multiple platforms online, many still prefer to flick through a newspaper. The same can be applied to brand communications.
There’s also no harm in picking up the phone! Call your customers and maybe even surprise them with an added bonus for sustained interaction with or loyalty to your brand. In our increasingly digital world, it can be easy to lose sight of the value of actually talking to your customers.
It’s also crucial to be responsive when your customers call you; those that aren’t digitally-savvy are likely to seek information and help via the phone, and no matter how digitally-led your business becomes, there will always be a place for telephone conversations. Time and resource should be invested to ensure customers are still getting the same level of care and service on the phone lines as they are via other communication channels.
Tailor your approach
Since brand engagement preferences can vary significantly from customer to customer, it’s important to get to the bottom of their individual preferences as soon as possible.
This way, communications can be tailored to ensure customers are more likely to see and engage with your brand, without the bombardment of information from multiple channels that they aren’t necessarily interested in using to communicate with you.
Perhaps the most straightforward and effective way of doing this is asking your customers a few simple questions relating to how they would prefer to be communicated with as part of your on-boarding process.
Communications can then be further adapted and refined over time through data gathered via customer engagement metrics such as response and open rates, sales conversions and rewards preferences.
Once you’ve established how your customers like to be engaged with, you can then use these avenues to deliver further value in exchange for their continued loyalty. There are a multitude of reward solutions brands can explore to engage those less digital-savvy customers such as lifestyle magazines, tickets or even gift boxes, all of which can be delivered though their letterbox at an opportune moment. Never underestimate the power of snail mail – by engaging your customers in this way, they are not only more likely to remain loyal to your brand, but also recommend you to others.
Although this can apply to all consumers, it can be particularly useful when seeking to add value for those customers that are unable to, or choose not to, make use of the benefits of digital brand communications and rewards.
So in summary, a personalised approach that adopts relevant communication channels combined with tactile and valued rewards will help engage those customers that aren’t digitally-savvy and keep your brand at the forefront of their mind.