Presented by SessionM

We believe that the best way to maximize profitability is to optimize every customer engagement in every channel every day.

On the revenue line, that means building out an ideal path for each customer based off of historical purchases, what they’ve expressed interest in tacitly through observed behavior (cart, browsing, social sharing), expressed interests from the customer, and your own domain expertise.

Let’s say you’re in home improvements. A customer comes in one Sunday asking about vanities. The next week he asks about drain traps. Then it’s shower fixtures. Water-safe flooring. It’s pretty easy to work out that he’s working on a bathroom makeover of some sort.

Knowing that — what he’s asked about, purchased, or stood in front of — it’s relatively easy for you to engage with him about things like:

  • That upcoming kitchen project
  • Services you offer (design, delivery, how-to seminars, affiliate contractors)
  • Upcoming product sales to catalyze the broader project (a white sale on kitchen appliances)

This is all well and good if only you could be certain you’d be the person interacting with this same customer every week. You have all the knowledge. You have the desire. You have a life.

Scaling ‘you’

You can’t be all things to all people and in all places at once.

And that’s perfectly fine.

Through planning and software, ‘you’ can be. That part of you, anyway. Even if you have thousands of customers doing millions of transactions, you can use software to:

  1. Identify who’s engaging
  2. Put that engagement into context (is this another in a pattern, a new branch…?)
  3. Unify all those transactions and non-transactional engagements (such as service calls) into one single 360-degree profile for each customer

On the basis of that information, any member of your organization is eminently qualified to engage that customer appropriately with their past behavior, current status, and your vision for their future for incremental purchases firmly in view.

Unmasking the consumer 

Now that we’ve scaled you, how do we identify them? Not every customer wants to be known. This is increasingly common in a privacy conscious, if not obsessed, world.

A loyalty program is a tried and true means of unmasking that anonymous customer. Yes, there are costs. Initially, you’ll need to offer an incentive in most cases. Download the app and get X percent off your first purchase. Long-term, there may be additional ‘benefits of membership’ that cost as well (although AMEX and Amazon, to name just two, actually charge to join their club). Maybe it’s 10 percent off all purchases for members. If they were going to make those purchases anyway, that’s bad economics for your business. So the question becomes, does knowing so much information about the customer allow you to drive incremental business above and beyond what they would do anyway.

Discounting that bathroom revamp is not ideal if all those purchases were going to be made anyway. But if you can uplevel purchases to higher price point SKUs or, better still, incentivize that kitchen remodel next… that’s where the magic happens.

Here’s your ‘Home Improvement’ checklist:

  1. Connect all your data silos into one 360-degree customer record that gets updated with each engagement across any department
  2. Invest each customer in their own success by making them volunteer information — information that will be instrumental in designing experiences and recommending offerings on their behalf
  3. Work off of a plan. Combine your know-how with machine learning and AI to calculate all the possible engagement scenarios so your job of growing lifetime value for each customer never stalls

You’re the craftsman. Software is a tool. In your hands, it can build a foundation for customer satisfaction and profitability that’s designed to last and built with the strongest stuff available.

Patrick Reynolds is CMO of SessionM.

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