We’re all in awe of how well Netflix knows its end consumers - personalising homepages tailored to every viewer based on their viewing history, “Because you viewed YYYY, you may like XXXX.” Another excellent example of a consumer brand that knows its customers’ pulse is Amazon. The E-commerce giant has an exceptional recommendation engine that knows what a customer needs or will ever need based on past purchases, i.e., sections like “Deals For You” or “Buy Again in Health and Personal Care.”

It all comes down to data-driven algorithms that enable personalised recommendations to deliver contextual customer experiences.

The era of one-size-fits-all marketing strategies and generic customer interactions is undoubtedly over. In today’s fast-changing digital landscape, brands must communicate with their customers one-on-one to be at the top of their minds and acquire the top share of their wallets. To offer contextual and personalised journeys, they must pivot all engagement strategies around customers’ past buying behaviour, current needs, and evolving expectations.

Lack of Contextualisation

Brands cannot land on the loyalty page if they skip the personalisation filter. The path to meaningful customer engagement begins with investing in personalised experiences, which leads to repeat purchases and a surge in brand advocacy, ultimately culminating in customer loyalty.

Take the classic example of Apple’s exclusive selling proposition based on the principle of “Sell an experience, not a product.” The Apple ecosystem, which comes with a plethora of unique features, is so appealing to customers that once you’re an Apple customer, you’re always an Apple customer. The iconic brand sparked a new engagement approach to attain brand loyalty by turning its customers into endorsers. The masses resonated with the innovative marketing campaign that displayed pictures clicked by iPhone users on billboards and hoardings.

The product-market fit, coupled with engagement strategies based on personalised, positive customer experiences (as demonstrated by Apple), can change the game for consumer brands worldwide!

In a recent study conducted by MoEngage on the personalisation pulse of customers in India, respondents listed the top three criteria that brands should consider to enhance contextual experiences as follows:

  • Studying preferences and expectations of modern consumers regarding personalisation
  • Sensing the customers’ current pulse on what they are currently receiving from brands and whether that’s enough
  • Analysing the reasons for their dissatisfaction

The study shows that what frustrates customers the most is the absence of timely updates from a brand on customer service inquiries and purchase details. In addition to that, what irritates them is when a brand does not remember their preferences (based on previous purchases). The periodicity of a brand’s communication, either too frequent or rare, is also a no-no.

To no one’s surprise, the study also showed that customers look the other way when the content is generic, inconsistent, or doesn’t cater to their needs.

Contextualisation is Multi-dimensional

Effortlessly attuning to each customer’s needs in person and in real-time, in-store retailing excels at personalisation. However, extending the same level of contextualisation to the online world can prove to be a task. It involves brands sifting through a deluge of customer data, eliminating data silos, and filling the missing links.

To meet and satisfy current and evolving customer expectations, brands must analyse customer behaviour data, purchase history, wishlist, and preferred time/channel(s) for engagement. They can then use these actionable insights to strategise accordingly. Leveraging actionable insights based on such attributes to create contextual customer journeys can improve customer retention and conversions to enhance loyalty.

In line with the same, the aforementioned personalisation-pulse study notes that most customers want brands to build contextualised journeys based on their interest in the product/service, followed by journeys based on previous viewing or purchase history. Addressing customers by their name or location is at the bottom of their priority order, which barely scratched the surface.

Right Engagement Partner

The need of the hour is to peel back the layers of customer preferences using platforms that know what to do with actionable data. Customer engagement platforms come equipped with the ability to capture and unify customer data from multiple sources and create relevant customer journeys that offer individual context for every single customer at scale.

Such an engagement partner also helps brands identify and remove bottlenecks to optimise those journeys to offer higher customer retention, resulting in long-term relationships. It all boils down to comprehending the reasons behind a fragile customer engagement funnel prone to drop-offs and churn and going from there.

Creating contextual customer journeys communicates to the end consumer that the brand values building a solid relationship with them rather than merely chasing the next transaction. And that is the key to skyrocketing customer loyalty.

(The writer is CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngage, a customer engagement platform)