This is a guest blog written by Anand Srinivasan, founder of Hubbion
Businesses spend thousands of dollars each year in customer acquisition. Yet, as a number of studies show, the average conversion rate is just under three percent for the most part. A major reason for this is the disconnect between what customers want and what they get .
A study published a few years back by Australian software company PegaSystems found that over two-thirds of banking customers believed that service representatives were not quick to respond to their requests. The corresponding figure among broadband customers was 77%. Yet, nearly 66% of businesses in these industries believed that they were diligent in attending to customer service requests.
One of the most effective ways to bridge the gap between customer expectations and business offerings is through audience insights. This is all the more important during the crucial initial stages of a customer-business relationship.
Customer onboarding is the process of bringing a customer up to speed on how your product works and how they can benefit from this. With insights, it is possible to understand customer perspectives better and devise ways to fulfill their needs.
The first step in generating insights for customer onboarding is gathering data. Social media, especially Twitter, is a great platform to gather real feedback from new and existing customers. The key objective here is to find answers to these questions:
There are essentially two approaches to solving this problem - proactive and reactive. These strategies are not mutually exclusive and it is possible to run both these approaches together to build your onboarding strategy.
The proactive approach relies on intelligent insights that you can dig out from your target community. The Audiense Connect, for instance, can provide you with a smart understanding of the specific topics that your followers are discussing along with other details like their location and their buying intent.
This provides you with an aggregated report that helps you understand whether or not your followers are decision makers and what kind of training could help them come onboard successfully.
The reactive approach relies on utilizing customer interactions to set up an automated data gathering system that can segment tweets and put them into different buckets based on content. For instance, here is how you will go about building a bucket for customers not happy with your product.
We create a ‘Dynamic Audience’ with the following triggers:
If you are a brick and mortar store with multiple locations, you may also further break down the bucket with the help of location based filters.
What this does is build a list of people who express specific emotions while tagging you. You may be required to manually sort through the other brand mentions to find other commonly used words that qualify these customers to specific buckets.
Apart from social media, you could also execute a similar project for helpdesk or your business email since not all prospects and customers take to social media to ask their questions.
The next step is to manually look into each of these filtered messages to understand issues from the customer’s perspective. This will help you identify patterns that could help you with onboarding. For instance, if you notice that a lot of new customers find it difficult to make the product work for them, then it is clear that your onboarding is not working. If customers complain that your help desk is not really helpful, then the takeaway from this project should be to onboard your employees better.
It is also possible to bypass all the steps above and go directly into analysis with the help of Audiense Insights. The reports you generate with Audiense Insights give you amazing insights into the buyers’ psyche. For example, here is a report from a Marks & Spencers’ campaign.
The report gives you a complete breakdown on the audience profile. Digging deeper, you find that nearly 11% of the audience were lifestyle and mum bloggers in the age-range of 25-34 years who loved giveaways. You can identify the kind of brands that these consumers have the most affinity with, their personality dimensions (agreeable, extraverted, neurotic, etc.), their buying mindset (how often they are influenced by family members, online ads, brand name, and so on), their consumer behavior (how often they buy on the spur of the moment, for instance) as well as their online habits.
Such insights can not only help you devise a marketing plan that can target such audiences better, but also devise an onboarding strategy that appeals to this audience. For instance, if an enterprise organization identifies that a major percent of their customers have a tendency to buy at the spur of the moment, then the chances of them unsubscribing is high too. Such customers need to be assigned to an account manager who can establish trust as well as hand-hold them through the onboarding process.
On the other hand, a clientele that is highly influenced by your brand name could have higher loyalty. Your onboarding process should help reinforce the brand value that got them to your business in the first place.
Once you have gathered all the necessary insights, the next step is to build an onboarding strategy that works for your customers. There is no “one size fits all” solution to this problem.
The pedagogical tools and the communication channel for your onboarding must be carefully selected depending on your customer’s needs.
Helping new customers understand how to execute various tasks in your online product is best explained with the help of demo videos. At the same time, if you have a physical product, your onboarding could be in the form of infographics or visuals that customers could watch and learn from.
Enterprise customers are a different breed altogether. Clients in this case are a lot more ‘high value’ than retail customers and expect personalized one-on-interactions. Onboarding in this case would have to be face-to-face communication either in real-time or through coordinated virtual conferences.
With enterprise customer onboarding, your insights gathering process may also demand more steps. This is because issues and concerns from one client may not always be applicable to another.
In such instances, your onboarding should be based off personalized customer research. A typical strategy in this case would look something like this:
Gathering insights is not a one-time process and needs to be constantly evaluated. With Audiense, you may set up new buckets to measure customer impact. Do onboarded customers have better things to say about your product? Or, does onboarding lead to fewer unsubscriptions? Ideally, these metrics need to be established as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that measure the success of your onboarding process.