Customers are at the heart of every business and customer data is the most valuable asset – if utilised to its full potential. Leveraging this data builds a more personal and engaging relationship with customers which in turn strengthens brand advocacy and loyalty.

Understanding who your customers are, what they value and what engages them is crucial to this experience, according to Charles Heunemann, Asia Pacific managing director and vice president of cloud solution provider, Natterbox.

Natterbox interfaces between a CRM database and live telephone customer conversations, which means stores know their customers personally, including their individual purchase history.

Country Road Group is one retailer that uses Natterbox’s integrated telephony CRM system to identify their loyalty members for their brands, including Trennery, Witchery, Mimco and Country Road, via their phone number when they dial. This means the customer can be greeted by name, and their requirements can be serviced quickly, drawing on information from the membership record.

Heunemann says customer data is more than a mailing list with names and email addresses, it captures what customers purchase, how often, how they engage with the brand, and whether they are motivated by specials, sales or other promotions.

“CRM is the engine driving any retail business. Yet, it is only valuable if customer data is accessible and dynamic in real-time – at every touchpoint with the customer – digital and physical. This data can then be transformed into highly relevant and motivational sales strategies, targeting the individual customer on a deeply personal level.”

New cloud-telephony technology now allows retailers to safely record and access data about their customers, enabling them to see a 360-degree view of the customers in real-time.

“This instantly removes the barriers between brands and their customers by enabling them to build genuine relationships with their customers and provide a human touch that other digital channels can’t achieve as easily.”

While a website and direct marketing via email may be important communication channels, when it comes to trust, relationship building and delivering a high-quality experience, customers still need and want to talk to a real person.

“For retailers, the phone is still one of the best ways to build rapport, answer questions, solve problems and above all, listen to the customer with genuine empathy.”

As for customer loyalty, Heunemann went on to say that customers are often only willing to join a loyalty program if they feel it will open the door to an enhanced level of personalised service, VIP treatment or bonus offers.

“Customers will unsubscribe quickly if they have shared information with a retailer but receive an impersonal, irrelevant experience. Protecting privacy is also a challenge, so security is vital. Invest in technology that offers unsurpassed security and reliability.”

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