A digitally fractured user journey costs you email ROI
There are so many digital messages being sent by companies to their customers and while marketing messages adhere to brand voice and digital identity, there are a host of other communications that are most often forgotten when it comes to the customer experience. These messages are usually automated and transactional in nature and mostly managed by operational teams. The vastly different approaches to customer communications can fracture a customer’s digital experience with your brand. However, when done correctly, operational messages can complement brand initiatives and drive engagement from customers.
In this session you’ll learn how to align all your customer communications to ensure a great CX.
About: Mia Papanicolaou
Head of North, Central and South America operations, managing & overseeing sales, client services and operations management. Specialties: The digital maturity landscape, eMarketing, eBilling, triggered messaging, lifecycle communications, digital communication journey mapping. Achievements: Named as an email marketing influencer multiple times; created the digital communications maturity framework that is used to guide top enterprise clients.
Hi, everyone, thank you for joining me on this Friday afternoon during what can only be described as a really stressful time for everyone. So while we’re practising social distancing, and start working remotely, this could also be a perfect time to strategize plan and think about improvements in communications for your customers. My name is Mia Papanicolaou. I’m the CEO for striata and America’s a digital communications company that specialises in transactional and automated messaging. Today, I’ll be talking about aligning communications in your organisation to avoid your customer having a fractured experience when it comes to the messaging they receive. As consumers, we do everything digitally. We pay our bills, we order food to be delivered to our homes, we get cabs, we book travel, as you know, the list goes on and on. And with our lives being so much more connected companies have adapted to these digital needs, and have so many teams assigned to crafting and ensuring the communications go out to customers by email, they push through apps. And they’re also posted on web portals. enterprises as large as they are, we have do have siloed systems. And they don’t always have a single view of the customer. And in particular, is very often not a single view of the communications that go to the customer. And when you don’t have a view of what the customer is receiving, then that’s when fractures start appearing in the in those communications. So they are three main reasons why factors appear. And the first reason is that operational communications are managed by different teams than most other communications going to company customers. In large enterprises. More often than not, these teams don’t even have insight into the different types of communications a single customer is receiving. So how would we expect the experience for end users to become fluid? This is confirmed in the fine findings of a sparkpost study. Almost half of companies admit that transactional or operational messages are being left so need to be operational teams. So ask yourself, would the billing department write the same tone and empathetic voice as a copywriter in marketing? Most likely not. The second reason is the set it and forget it nature of these communications. We all know how powerful and critical operational messages every month bill is generated and an equal amount is triggered customers. Customers are waiting for those so that they can pay their bill. When they do they’ll go there pay the bill. And when they pay, they expect a confirmation that their transaction was successful. And should they be late to pay, they appreciate a friendly reminder, these communications are so important. I’ve I’ve been victim to paying my rent twice, because I didn’t receive the confirmation email. That’s how important it is we wait for it. And if we don’t receive that email, we expect that something’s wrong. So when these communications, no one is paying attention to them. That causes a larger fracture, because these are the communications I’m paying attention to. So because these communications are so critical, there comes a need to automate them. And so that they we, as companies can ensure that they go out in time, and is related tracking and reported associated, it’s all part of providing that great customer experience. But when some of these communications are ready to set up, and have the same look and feel the messages really become outdated over time, so the process only works if you’re audited. As a result of these communications being set up and automated and all set up at different times. We end up with communications that haven’t changed over time and haven’t changed with brand guidelines and any updates that are made. That factor starts becoming so much bigger when it comes to the customer experience. The third reason these fractures happen is enterprises need a way to plot and measure their digital maturity when it comes to communications. We’ve created a digital maturity framework that we use with our clients to help them do exactly this. The framework provides for an understanding of where you are and where you need to move to. So for example, in the digital novice category communications are launched very sparingly as the customer, the company so cost aware. Whereas in the digital expert customer experience, they are far more customer experience motivated. They have communications really in a far more seamless way across multiple channels and incorporate new technologies like artificial intelligence or even incorporating a chat button to the emails and they enhance that customer experience every step of the way. You can’t go from novice to expert overnight, there are baby steps along the way. And the framework helps plan and track the way forward. But how does one get a really seamless customer experience without digital fractures in the customer journey, technology will always advance rapidly. And as the behaviour change, you will create a fractured experience unless you have regular audits, and your company’s maturity and you and communications has a roadmap. So you understand where you are in any given point in time and where you need to move to. I’d like to take you through two examples of two big brands where some of these issues have crept into their messaging. The first is from Chase. They’re my bank. And I’m going to take you through examples of different actions and interactions I’ve taken or received from the first two notifications. One is a wire transfer that’s currently in process. And the second is a notice of a credit card payment being made. And then we have the confirmation of each of these actions. At the top we have the confirmation of the wire transfer. And below that we have the credit card payment confirmation, you can already see before I even move on to the other examples, how fractured This is immediately. From a branding standpoint, none of these communications look the same at all. They don’t look like they come from the same company. And the same customer interacting with them in similar ways. But the communications that are triggered are completely different. Then we have the bill ready notification looks similar to the wire transfer confirmation. And then the marketing communications that go out. As you can see, these are all so completely different. And it’s really scary to think that this is a financial institution. And this is the one company I expect everything to be consistent. The next example is from Verizon. When we look across these four emails, we notice several things, how different they all look. And of course, this has everything to do with the different departments managing the communications, I’m going to focus on the bell notification, as is the one email that I look up for every single month, man is coming out of my account. So it’s very personal. And Verizon has me as a captive audience. And yet, what they give me is the same thing every month. And so what they’ve trained me to do is ignore this email, this email arrives, I don’t look at it, I know my bills ready. And I in turn, am ready to go online and pay it because that’s the behaviour that came into. And a little loan that the branding creates a fractured experience. At one point, once I received my bill ready notification, I went online to pay it, and the site was temporarily unavailable. Of course that does happen. But I was going to pay my bill and everything around that site unavailable in terms of the messaging was around marketing, which created an even bigger fracture. In terms of my experience, all I want to do is pay my bill. And there’s no indication of how I can do that when the site is down, again, showing how different departments lead towards different messaging and across the board then create that fracture. So why would ignoring these causes of digital fracture be so impactful to your business? As you’ve seen from the examples, it should be all about the customer, and inconsistencies in communication confused and leave customers feeling really dissatisfied but the brand or service and go back to the chase example for a moment. Remember the wire transfer email that didn’t even look like it came from them? Imagine you just transferred a large sum of money and you receive an email that doesn’t look like any other email you’ve received from your bank before would you consider it to be suspicious. This is especially true with any financial institution. These types of digital fractures not only confused customers that cause uneasiness, as we know customers who continue to be dissatisfied with the communications they receive from a provider when given the choice are more likely to churn. Ignoring these factors is really a missed opportunity for you to drive brand value back to your customers. According to companies surveyed by sparkpost, the majority feel that operational messages are an opportunity to engage, retain and convert sales among your customers. yet very few customers are using it companies are using these communications to engage their customers retain them or convert them in any manner whatsoever. Given that why not leverage these operational messages. From the customer’s perspective, the most important communications they receive are those that are confirmations of transactions they’ve made on their account, as well as summaries like bills and statements. So when you think back to the example of me paying my my rent twice in one month, because I didn’t receive that confirmation email, it comes back to how important these communications are. And we really need to start adding value to them and making sure that the brand consistency remains across every communication type. And since these operational service related emails are so important to customers, they really open them. By far, these messages have the highest open and click through rates across the board, we need to be paying attention and not let them be managed by different departments, and just really forgotten because of the automated nature of them. Not only do these messages provide you with high open and click throughs operational messages have incredibly attractive qualities and they’re consistent, and they’re expected. Ask yourself how many times you refresh your inbox waiting for that confirmation email to arrive, you’ve just purchased something you wait for the confirmation you you book travel, you wait for that confirmation. And when it comes to your bill or any other type of operational message, they arrive at the same time, every month, I expect to receive my credit card bill, and my utility bills should not arrive I immediately started investigate why. And that’s because these messages are critical to me as a customer. So these messages are targeted to the specific offering you provide that the individual customer but the these messages really do allow you to have personalised and engage your customer in a way that you haven’t done before. So what does this mean for your company, you have a huge opportunity to leverage the real estate within these emails, to drive customers to actions you want them to take. Maybe that’s self service, maybe that’s educate them role, maybe it’s to cross sell them into another product or service. Whatever the case may be carefully designing the user experience of the email can not only enhance the customer experience, but will really drive your company’s goals, be that more revenue or decrease churn or just really enhancing what the customer expects from you. So where does one begin to improve the consistency across the enterprise, I’ve got six steps, you can make them eight, you can make them 10. But make sure you have steps to look at every single communication and make sure that you’re addressing all the fractures. And the inconsistency is the first step is audit, literally get every email template that’s been sent out to customers and put them up on a wall or screen. And I know that that is a task that is huge and often cannot be put onto a single wall for many large enterprises. But you need to start somewhere, you’ll end up with a very large wall covered in onboarding messages and newsletters, and welcomes and bills and confirmations, updates the terms and conditions, password reset notifications. All of these communications need to be looked at and looked at for the consistency, you’ll quickly see the inconsistencies from tone to branding to even salutation Do you use first name? Or do you use your customer? Are there different instances? And if so, why? And how do you begin to even change it? How do you change the tone for the message? And is it important to remain and have a consistent tone throughout all the messages and do all your communications look like they’re coming from the same company. As you go down this path many insights will be made including that you’re likely missing communications altogether, and a huge gaps within the customer journey. So the audit is of the utmost importance. Once you’ve completed your audit, you can look at your existing customer touchpoints and begin with the communications that are most regularly occurring. And these are usually your billing your payment your marketing messages. So those are the communications most often received by the customers. And that’s where you really need to start. Start with a particular JT first and fix them in baby steps. Which brings me to enhancing your existing communications. Look at what you currently send and fix what you currently send. It means that you have to tackle the fractures as I stand right now. Look at your customer journeys and touchpoints that you’re currently sending and make them consistent across the board. Honestly, small tweaks here and there to individual email time will help you put the larger policies and systems and processes in place later. The key is that you need to start somewhere. And you really need to start now. You need to ask critical questions of the communications that are currently being sent out. This includes looking left and right, what comes before what comes after, and then expand outwards, what should come next. So you’re identifying communication gaps along this journey. And these are your, your quick wins to, once you go down this path, you can easily plug those holes in. And many of you have done journey mapping. But once you really put it down, stop plugging the holes. And of course, ensure that content is relevant. The landscape has evolved, but our practices happened. So as an example, I live in New York City and I have renter’s insurance. And at no point has my insurance company ever sent me anything of relevance with regard to renting in New York City, what I should be thinking about, the only communications I receive are about my policy renewal, and specials on car insurance. And considering I live in New York City, and the likelihood of me having a car is really, really small, the communications have become completely irrelevant to the point where there is no engagement between myself and the insurance company that content is so irrelevant, what I would appreciate and they can start with those policy renewals or any bill that’s coming my way, start adding valuable content. And that’s where this audit becomes all the more important to, it’s not just that it looks like it comes from a company, it’s that the experience is a good one throughout. And last, but definitely not least, work with a team, because you really cannot affect change alone. And I cannot stress this enough. You must have a cross functional team that consists of operators and marketers and it and analytics and your customer voice professionals. Only once you all work together to audit and determine the path forward, can you have confidence that the company as a whole can implement these changes that will enhance the experience throughout the digital communications? Really, by starting now to align your customer communications, you’ll be on the road to better customer engagement and loyalty. And most importantly, you’ll drive consistently and start to eliminate those digital fractures customers do experience in the communication sent out today. I really hope that you’ve enjoyed the presentation today. I’ll address any questions now. Should you have one, please type it into the chat. Thank you all for attending. Please feel free to reach out to me post the webinar as well. I’d really love to hear from you and happy to help in whichever way possible. I hope you all have a really wonderful afternoon.