You can’t argue that these past years have been the years of tech startups. By using various technology platforms, they are able to deliver seemingly simple business models with greater reach and scale, reaching more customers than brick-and-mortar business can ever do in the same time period. Another thing tech startups are good at is looking at their customer data and adjusting their offerings just so to increase revenues. So what if you could wield the same power for your business?
Customer Relationship Management is definitely not something new, but with the introduction of various digital tools to make studying customer data more efficient, CRM is not just the only thing that businesses should brush up on, big or small, as in practical terms, CRM centers on customer loyalty. CRM use-case scenarios can vary greatly from business to business, but meanwhile, companies offering CRM solutions often offer a one-size-fits-all approach, or require a lot of training to set up and run. For some companies, developing a custom solution for CRM purposes makes sense.
An expanded use-case
Merchants and restaurants sometimes drag their feet in implementing loyalty apps, even when they realise that increased access to their customer data is valuable. While the extensive list of features provided by loyalty apps is adequate for many, sometimes it’s either not enough or not flexible enough. A points system that works out of an app, just like the app would work for other merchants, would deliver minimal value and can be compared to just using simple stamp cards. What if the merchant wanted to create more targeted promotions? What happens when the merchant has different locations and brands? There’s a limit to how much stuff loyalty apps can upsell to these kinds of merchants before it becomes too costly.
Better data privacy
Customers are now smarter and thus more wary about giving out their data to just anyone, even with consent. So they need to first trust the party they are giving data to, and how better to do that than to the establishment that has engaged, rather than through a third-party app. The data can also be used to create targeted promotions or deliver better service (or complaint follow-up). And if the customer, for some reason, requests to delete their data, you can be confident that you can do it for them as you control the data.
Flexibility in obtaining and managing data
Most loyalty systems will ask for all of the customer’s relevant data upon registration, while long registration forms are usually the cause of frequent drop off. Who wants to fill up long registration forms when they just want to eat? People are also becoming resistant to using social media sign-in buttons to speed up registration. By using a customised CRM approach, you can ask for basic information first — say, name and email — and create a continued campaign to ask other details to the user — say, birthday and address — at a later date. Of course some will not comply with these requests, but you then you can focus on the ones that do as you definitely know that these customers are loyal.
Integration with existing systems
Sometimes the case is that you have existing systems, and need to add new functionality that simply isn’t available. A custom CRM solution can become a bridge between systems and add features. We have had one client with an existing CRM database ask us to create the offline-to-online bridge to make sure they can track whether or not people who show up at their events end up buying their products at a later date, or even buy something else.
A digital tool for events and offline activities
Many loyalty apps assume that the customer journey is limited to purchase and rewards. In most cases this is true, but what if you could measure whether a guest of a member becomes a frequent customer as well at the stores? What if people could pre-order stuff at a small event you are running, or book tables, or book birthday parties, right there and then?
Extending your businesses’ relationship with your customers beyond simple transactions and point rewards into a brand experience means you need to develop something more than just tracking purchases. A brand experience strengthens the chance that the customer will be loyal even when they are not buying anything, and by using the best customer data tools at your disposal, you can definitely deliver.
Author’s note: I run Wooz.in, which is an event tech company based in Indonesia. We deliver tech solutions for event organisers and brands that revolve around collecting and managing customer data, and even provide software-only custom services for clients in Indonesia and abroad for those who need something extra. We have been running bootstrapped since 2010 and would love to talk to you about your customer data needs.