The Importance of the Personal Touch in the Digital Age

I am sure you spend a lot of time devising and implementing ways to improve the multi-channel customer experience.  These days that will involve a particular emphasis on the brand’s online performance.

I certainly do, and it is exciting to build ‘insight-driven personalised’ solutions with our partners, such as Celebrus and Signal.  But we must remember that digital is not the only game in town…a lot of browsing and purchasing still takes place in physical outlets and over the telephone.

In fact, at a recent meeting with an insurance brand we shared some experiences and facts from multi-channel approaches. The clients seemed surprised when I suggested that we often find that the inbound telephone channel option gave a far higher return on investment than online.

Simply put, even though the costs per conversion are more favourable online, when you measure it, the immediate profitability and longer term CLTV are often much higher for inbound telephone sales.   This is because of the ability to cross-sell, upgrade and even retain business when you have human interactions.

Of course, further analysis will undoubtedly show variations by customer type, channel preference and needs, but the opportunity to optimise is huge.

Here are two real-life examples of which call for a more sophisticated channel approach:

Example 1. Brand X:

  • Online purchasers bought 1.1 products (base product plus value add-ons) per transaction
  • Telephone purchasers bought 1.35 products per transaction

Example 2. Brand Y:

  • 5% of online purchases held 2+ products
  • 7% of telephone purchasers held 2+ products

So my message is simple…

  1. Be careful not be cannibalise profits by simply pushing for the most seemingly efficient channel and take a more holistic view of business roi. In fact, get your campaign analysis team together with channel operations and finance and work out what the true costs and returns are
  2. Know your customers’ preferences and target accordingly. You may find purchase segments such as: a) Decidedly digital b) Mixed c) Mainly offline d) programmed to use the channel where the best offer is
  3. Do not underestimate the value of one to one human interaction where listening and interpretation of needs is at its most powerful

Finally, perhaps as some enlightened brands have done… test offering the discount offline!

Nigel Grimes
Director

www.anaylin.com