One of the benefits of taking a vacation is that it can provide you with perspective. When we’re up to our necks in building a business, it’s difficult to recognize opportunities to further engage with your customers. Getting away allows YOU to be the customer and the service you receive might provide insight to what your customers may be experiencing. Unfortunately, my insight came from a less than optimal customer experience.
After few years away, my wife and I decided to return to a Caribbean resort we’d been to several times before. In the past, our repeat trips felt like returning home – we were greeted by name, found special gift baskets in our room, were invited to special events for returning guests, and offered further discounts for returning – but this trip we received none of that treatment, despite stating it was a return trip when we made the reservation (on-line) and when we checked-in. I didn’t think much of it until I spoke to other return guests around the pool – they had all received the “usual” treatment.
Feeling a little hurt, I inquired with the hotel manager about the oversight – “We’re sorry sir, we just overlooked it,” she said. Isn’t it in your computer system and the orders automatically generated? “No sir, we keep track of it on paper and the manager on duty is required to make the appropriate phone calls to set-up all the arrangements.” I was shocked, to be honest. To make matters worse, nothing was done to rectify the error. Just, “Sorry”. We will NOT be going back to that resort.
So, what does this have to do with marketing automation? Many businesses take the approach that the marketing automation system is only for nurturing leads and prospects. Once they become customers, the responsibility for nurturing the customer belongs to someone else, usually a person. However, the same systems that are used to nurture leads can be used to automate customer nurturing as well. You can automate follow-up e-mails, set reminders for phone calls, track customer activity and tie that into your cross-sell/up-sell programs. Most importantly, it takes an error prone, people-based process and automates it, eliminating the risk of things falling through the cracks.
Don’t forget to nurture your current customers as you did when they were prospects. They (and you) will be glad you did.