Customer loyalty. It’s no secret that it’s a make or break aspect of business. Loyalty converts a one-time sale into an ongoing stream of revenue from the same customer. But what keeps a customer loyal? Much of the current literature suggests loyalty stems from touchpoints – those contact points between a customer and a brand that shape perception. These varied events occur throughout the customer journey cycle.
But you’ll notice something missing from the list above. Customer reporting. It’s virtually never listed as a touchpoint and yet so often a crucial component in shaping a customer’s view of your value - which ultimately determines their loyalty to you.
When Reporting misses the mark
Reviewing the images in the last post reminded me of an incident from a prior job. Our Marketing Department spent significant time and money with an internet company to revitalize online adwords and boost search engine optimization (SEO). It was a detailed endeavor and I know they logged a lot of hours with the internet company prior to the go-live date to make sure everything was just right. Several weeks after the launch, curious if all the stress was worth it, I asked Marketing about the campaigns’ performance.
The answer I received was surprising. Unfortunately, they weren’t really sure. While their partner company wrote good copy, created great landing pages for the ads and put in place solid practices for boosting SEO, they didn’t provide useful reporting to help their customers measure success. The reports they delivered each week contained so little information that Marketing couldn’t determine which ads were performing well or why, so it was impossible to make decisions to know where to adjust. Logging into the portal provided by the adword platform had the opposite effect. The information there was overwhelming, and they could spend hours trying to decipher the countless pages of charts, drop down choices, metrics, etc. and still not really understand what they were seeing.
Reporting, whether obtained via self-service, delivered by a services team, an automated notification or through a customer portal is an interaction that a customer has with your company. And as such, every presentation of data should be treated as the valuable touchpoint that it is and seen as an opportunity to build loyalty and positively influence customer perception. Truly, this interaction should be considered as valuable as any other touchpoint in the overall customer experience. In the story above, if Marketing had been happy with the reporting they were receiving, the internet company would have had been able to convert them to a loyal customer. Marketing would have become a customer who went from receiving a one-time service to one who not only received on-going reporting services but also a customer who had the potential to drive additional revenue for the internet company by creating ads for other areas of the business, using additional services such as A/B testing or buying more products such as drip campaign creation.
What are some ways customer reports can be a positive touchpoint and increase loyalty?
1. Make sure the report answers more questions than it raises and allows viewers to quickly consume the information that’s most important to them. This ensures customers are excited to receive the reports because they know they’ll quickly be guided to the answers they seek.
2. Ensure the data presentation initiates conversations with customers. Design reports such that customers think about the data and and can envision how they intend to solve problems with it.
3. Think of it as a product versus a report. You're not just sharing data, but giving customers something you want them to actively use. Thinking like a product gives you a construct of thinking about how and when it will be used.
4. Keep stickiness in mind. Provide information in such a way that it will become ingrained into the customer’s routine and way of conducting business. If done correctly, reporting becomes a driver behind renewal discussions.
Creating these types of data presentations isn’t easy. They require the right level of data readiness and the knowledge of how to maximize their value. Join us for our upcoming webinar on Turning Data into Dollars where we’ll walk through a series of examples on how to deliver more valuable information to customers and impact loyalty through reporting.