After the frenzy of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and the January sales, Valentine’s Day has become another hook for retailers. After all, it’s tempting to jump on the promotional bandwagon as you festoon your windows and website with red.
But here’s the million pound question: are you really going to boost the bottom line with this approach?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know the answer: no.
As our latest research shows, successful businesses are taking a holistic approach to customer experience, boosting revenue by fostering relationships rather than focusing on transactions.
So with a growing number of consumers believing Valentine’s Day is a ‘waste of money’, how do you use this calendar milestone effectively? Here are 3 ways.
Use data to make love blossom
Valentine’s Day isn’t as inclusive as other holidays, so the more you personalise, the more success you’ll have. And by ‘personalise’, I don’t mean saying ‘Hi Jane’ at the beginning of an email. 36% of consumers said they were no longer interested in generic, Black Friday-like, promotions.
They want actual personalisation, and 14th February is no different.
Analyse data from across the customer journey. Consider how you can segment your loyalty programme participants and subscriber lists. Think about relevant past behaviour (do they buy from you at this time of year? Are they partial to the romantic purchase?).
When you target in this way, your customers will feel loved because they’re getting tailored promotions they’ll actually use. And they’ll show appreciation back through their spending. That way you get the best of both worlds – the seasonal boost, but with an eye on building that long-term relationship.
Use technology in a heartbeat
Technology now means it’s never been easier to show customers some love. So use the innovation available at your fingertips!
The right solutions implemented in the right way give insight across every touchpoint, so you can learn and optimise. They make it easy to communicate with customers on their preferred channel (mobile, voice, SMS, email, social, chat, website). And they help customers self-serve simple issues while saving your valuable call centre resource for the complex questions.
Here’s an example. Sainsbury’s was losing around 15% of customer calls each year because people struggled to find the information they wanted. We helped Sainsbury’s implement an interactive voice response (IVR) solution, which enabled in-store staff to focus on in-store service and got telephone customers their answers faster. It was a win for everyone. As Paul White from the customer management team said: “The IVR solution has helped us drive a significant and immediate reduction in the number of lost calls, and our customers are able to get the answer they need in the timescales they expect. We now have an IVR that’s great value for money, and provides us with the flexibility we require to deliver a service that meets evolving customer needs, behaviours and expectations.”
Show your gratitude
Relationships are 2-way streets, so show genuine gratitude for customers’ loyalty and listen to their feedback.
Start by mapping your customer journey so you know what sort of feedback you need at each stage. Send short surveys about your products, service and loyalty programmes. Keep it personal and follow up to show you’re taking action.
You’ll be surprised at the valuable information you get when you ask the right questions, on the right channel, at the right time. And you’ll be surprised at how proud (and loyal) customers feel when you take their feedback on board.
After all, it takes more than a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates to make a relationship work. So why not go beyond token gestures and use Valentine’s Day to show your enduring love and appreciation for your customers?