It’s no secret that competition to win and retain customers is becoming fiercer than ever. More and more businesses are looking for new ways to engage customers and deepen relationships with their patrons through digital marketing. As a result, the number of loyalty programs is growing at a rapid pace. Although these programs can be beneficial and rewarding in the short term, customers are becoming overwhelmed and numb to them.
The key to engaging customers and strengthening relationships is to communicate with them while they are in the midst of an experience at your location. In other words, the use of location-based technology as part of the overall customer relationship management (CRM) strategy creates an opportunity for real-time communication between businesses and customers where and when it matters most – while customers are still at the venue. The result provides businesses with the ability to resolve issues in real time, recognize loyal customers and deepen relationships to deliver more optimal customer service, and identify new ambassadors capable of amplifying the brand.
As location-based CRM strategies are becoming more refined, digital marketers are seeing the benefits. In fact, an eMarketer study reported that the number of businesses taking advantage of location-based mobile apps is expected to nearly double from 2011 to 2012.
Part of the challenge when creating an effective mobile CRM solution is differentiating it from existing channels, such as Twitter. Many available solutions do not have location requirements built in because they fear this will restrict the number of data points. However, it actually further commoditizes a limited solution. It is important for businesses to recognize that less is often more when applying location restrictions to content creation. The resulting content can be much more compelling.
In order to create a mutually beneficial interaction, businesses need to give the consumer control over when and where they want to initiate dialogue. Many existing location-based mobile applications rely on hovering above the user and pushing out communications when they are not necessarily wanted. This contradicts the spirit of CRM as it invades a customer’s space while he or she is trying to experience the brand.
On the other hand, when we give control to the customer but make the process of communicating much simpler, more reliable and provide proper privacy controls, their willingness to share opinions is much greater. Layer on top of this a back-and-forth mechanism to resolve real-time issues, and customers will feel like they have a new voice of impact with the business.
When evaluating a location-based CRM solution, it is important to keep your customer’s privacy top-of-mind. Here are four tips that will help to ensure customers feel their privacy is respected:
Create content strategically.
A cardinal sin of location-based marketing is blasting out information that is irrelevant. Customers find it annoying, and in some cases it can alienate them. Make sure the content you are sharing with customers is appropriate. For example, if a customer is wrapping up dinner at local restaurant, a user-initiated real-time reward for a free after-dinner drink may be more suitable than a generic coupon good for their next visit.
Allow the customer to remain anonymous.
Sometimes customers are not comfortable sharing their names. Good location verification solutions will allow customers to share insight yet remain anonymous, as their location still gives them a credible voice.
Let the user choose when (or when not) to receive communications.
Look into mobile CRM solutions that allow customers to “pull” information and not only receive push notifications. This solution enables the more guarded consumer to be engaged, but on their own terms.
Let the customer initiate location-verification.
Consumers need to feel comfortable about sharing their location with brands. Let them decide when they would like to be location-verified. Once a user feels that his or her privacy has been invaded, it is hard to win back that trust. Play it safe and give them options from the start.
Customers naturally experience something each time they visit your establishment. Many existing review platforms and survey methodologies are antiquated and make it difficult for customers to contribute quickly. Emotions change once the customer leaves a location. Without the ability to communicate on the spot, customers are not always sharing the most accurate and relevant information. In addition, sometimes consumers do not even know if their review will be filtered out by a mysterious algorithm.
New solutions are emerging, like Evzdrop, that verify a customer’s location so that they become one of the ‘privileged’ few at that moment who contribute a voice of credibility and interest to businesses. In other words, by using location as a filter instead of using it to simply collect ‘check-in’ data, businesses are better able to better manage the enormous stream of information coming at them every day.
This real-time communication between businesses and customers can be classified as “location-based CRM.” Using these new digital marketing tools, businesses can now immediately measure the impact on retention and brand affinity by implementing location as part of their overall solution.