At our recent webinar The Value of Contextual Communication, guest speaker Anjali Lai, Analyst at Forrester Research, Inc. shared that contextual communication impacts customer loyalty, which in turn impacts brand preference, customer spend, and brand advocacy.
However, delivering contextual communications – personalized and relevant both in content and delivery channel – is challenging for many companies because of the amount of online and offline touchpoints that exist today.
Contextual communications are also challenging because they require an inherent trade-off for customers between sharing data for a tailored experience and preserving their privacy, between being in the know and managing an influx of information. Customers are extremely aware of and sensitive to this trade-off, which requires companies to navigate this delicate balance and execute correctly.
Why should companies even tackle these challenges?
“Customers reveal that successful contextual communication inspires highly positive, highly passionate emotional response. For example, it drives emotions like surprise, happiness, and gratitude. By resonating with these emotions, contextual communication can have a powerful effect on purchase pattern and loyalty behavior,” shared Anjali.
Listen to Anjali explain how contextual communications impact emotions in this video.
Forrester research reveals that companies that are successfully delivering contextual communications do three things consistently.
- Prioritize the customers’ most emotional moments.
- Architect the context to drive sentimental value.
- Appeal to customers’ lifestyle and sense of identity.
Read on to learn more about these three practices, which may be a good starting place for companies seeking to launch or improve their contextual communications strategy.
1. Prioritize the customers’ most emotional moments.
The customer experience is made up of a multitude of touchpoints and some are more emotional than others. During these interactions, small details can trigger customer emotions and influence mood states. For example, Discover Card includes individual FICO scores on their monthly bill. This personalized communication is intended to trigger positive emotions. “Seeing their FICO score changes the credit card billing experience from being one filled with regret or stress to one filled with confidence. Consumers say that seeing their score from month to month creates an ongoing sense of peace,” shared Anjali.
2. Architect the context to drive sentimental value.
What happens is not always as important as how it happens. Companies need to think beyond their products and recognize how the environment creates emotional significance. Anjali shared how Wells Fargo used contextual communication to create emotional, meaningful customer engagement: “Wells Fargo’s latest ATM interface reshapes its functionality based on a customer’s transaction history and ATM usage preferences. Additionally, Wells Fargo ATMs wish customers a happy birthday. Even though this is a small gesture, customers appreciate it; this was one of the most frequent tweets and thank you mentions recieved by Wells Fargo.”
3. Appeal to customers’ lifestyle and sense of identity.
Successful contextual communications resonate with a customer’s identity and allow for a brand’s personality to align with a customer’s personality. When this happens, customers are deeply drawn to the experience. For example, after studying their customer journeys, TurboTax now guides users to the right tax forms more clearly based on the customer’s life stages and offers customized tips that resonate with that life stage. “These changes resulted in TurboTax improving its net promoter score by about twenty percent, and it also resulted in a call volume reduction of twenty percent,” stated Anjali.
Although some of these practices appear to be simple, when executed consistently, the results have been undeniably powerful.