CRM has changed drastically since 2010. Entrepreneurs, product managers, and marketers are gearing up with new CRM strategies and tools that can help improve their existing customer engagement, retention, and marketing automation efforts.
We sat down for a panel discussion with Andrew Kabrit COO and Co-founder of Seez App, Namrata Balwani, Ex-Head of Digital Marketing and Customer Analytics at Landmark Group, Pallav Singhvi Head of CRM and Loyalty at Tajawal, and Gaurav Chhaparwal, Analytics Leader and Advisor. We bring you some excerpts from this insightful discussion.
Gaurav: The one metric I've loved from a business point is to just think of how many transactions you want. What is the frequency of transactions you expect from your customers? For e-commerce, you say every quarter I want my customers to do one transaction. So look at last month’s customers as a percentage of customers between 1 and 4 months ago- so the average transaction period is 1 quarter. From the people who you identify in one quarter, how many of them have transacted again in the next one month. This simple metric gives you a sense of how many repeat customers you're getting from the customer base. If you’re actually able to move this metric, you can get people to buy again, within 3 months.
Andrew: For us, the one thing we look at is the number of app sessions that come through, how many people are actually using the app, and how often. But that is also counter-intuitive because if we do our job really well they should spend very little time on the app, you know. So, instead of looking at the app sessions themselves, we're looking at how many KPIs they are contacting, and then that drives it in combination with the app session. But we don't look purely at just that one KPI because it might find us in the wrong direction so we look at the overall picture. We have a huge sheet with a lot of metrics and we look at how those numbers play together and then use that to actually draw a picture of what happened this week.
Namrata: The perspective that I’ve worked with, the larger framework we have is acquisition engagement and going back. But under all this, I've seen that the one that cuts across all businesses is customer lifetime value. But some of that tends to change on the business models and that's where I think the second metric we always look at is the churn rate because if you start predicting the churn rate, it’s always business metrics that come in. The churn predictor for a gym is very different from the churn predictor for baby clothes v/s the churn predictor for a restaurant. So customer lifetime value and churn rate would be the most important.
Pallav: Loyalty is the number of transactions customers do, that defines loyalty above everything else. But for us, we don't look at our customer base as an average. The first 20% of customers give us 70% of the revenue; they’re frequent travelers. For them its the frequency at which they’re interacting or booking with us; that matters a lot to us and that shouldn't drop, that should increase. For a lot of others who are booking once in a year or twice in a year, engagement is whenever anybody has a need and they are opening the app. That itself is engagement from a customer’s perspective. Whether they purchase or not, is a factor of multiple other things, that does not define loyalty.
Namrata: Before you start unifying customer profiles, what’s really important is to first understand the customer journey. What are the interaction points? And if you want to bridge those gaps what are the gaps that you want to bridge? The second thing is to see that if this is the ideal customer journey, how do we change our marketing and sales organization to meet the journey? And you also need to look at the data analytics; what you want from a business standpoint, and not as an outcome of creating a single view of the customer at the starting point. Most businesses also have third party cloud deployments which are based on certain needs that we had. Over time, we had to deploy cloud solutions.
Gaurav: We keep talking about 20% of customers who are responsible for 80% of the revenue, I think it’s very true even for data in terms of the value of data. What ends up happening is in chasing the single customer view, you come up with a very comprehensive 360-degree view. Instead, if you can just pick up the most important data points, it's important for you to understand what data points are in that 20 % that corresponds to 80% value.
Andrew: So the way we approach our users is that we don't try to build the journey as to what happened, but how they are using it. We're looking at how they do things and how they want to do things. Understand how their life actually works and see how can we actually fit our app inside that. That's really hard because there are so many different personas out there. But if you can just find a good chunk of those people and see what they have in common, it doesn't need to be very advanced things. Most of these things can actually be picked up with some very simple trends that they are doing. But if you can pick those up, you can start figuring out how to optimize these points. It will help you a long way in getting to the actual goal which changes, depending on what your business is.
Andrew: So the most obvious one is your team should be able to use the tool. If your team can’t use the tool, then it's redundant. After that, it's a question about what you want to use it for. There are several different options that cater to many different situations and that's why there's a space for them. So look at it like who's going to actually use this? What are they capable of doing with this tool and is there something that they're missing with this tool.
Gaurav: Tools, I would say, more often than not, are actually market-independent. Unless you have these very specific market tie-up requirements where some tool can plug into that market or as language support. Say for example, in this market, not in UAE in as much as in Saudi, you need to have Arabic language support. If there is a tool that does not have Arabic support, you probably cannot do, barring those odd cases as long as you have a tool that as Andrew said, works with the people you have, it solves business problems that you're trying to tackle with it, those are the tools you should be looking at. I don't think the market makes a massive impact on tool selection.
Namrata: You have to start with the customer rather than starting with the tool. So if you look at the customer journey and say what I want to enable out of this, what data do I need, what business outcome do I want to drive and then say, what are the tools that we need. Then within those tools; how well are they integrated. The danger in a lot of businesses is that the sales team picks something, the marketing team picks something and somebody else picks something. Suddenly you have all these tons of tools that you now have to spend a lot of money integrating so you have to think through that process first and then decide on what tool you want. Technology is always the enabler, it's the people that come first.
Thank you, Andrew, Namrata, Pallav, and Gaurav for sharing your valuable insights about customer retention and loyalty. We have come to understand that the core of user engagement and retention lies in striking the perfect balance between people and technology.
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