Why Smart Technology Use is the Key to Better Customer Marketing Data


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If you haven’t already heard, 2015 is the year big data became a ubiquitous business necessity. Whether used for operational efficiencies or customer information, the benefits of big data are limitless.

For manufacturers, data from warranty product registrations has the potential to be a gold mine for their marketing efforts. Historically, manufacturers offer warranty registrations in order to obtain customer data and use it to improve their marketing and sales processes.

“Manufacturer’s warranties play an important role in the business cycle,” explain Chris Walker and Scott Cederburg of PricewaterhouseCooper in a recent article for Warranty Week adding that warranties are critical to the success of a company’s sales and marketing efforts (source). Unfortunately for manufacturers, the opportunity to collect big data from warranty product registrations is currently not being leveraged efficiently due to an outdated, laborious process for the consumer.

The Current Process is Tedious

Most warranty registrations still require customers to fill out a paper card and return it via mail to the manufacturer. In the digital age, these long and tedious forms are a turn-off for many consumers, especially since a separate warranty card must be completed for each product the individual wants to register. Consumers hate the redundancy of having to fill out the same information for multiple products, whether it’s a Fender guitar or a Black and Decker drill. These cards place the burden on the consumer, whose apathy results in a lost opportunity for retailers to obtain the valuable consumer data.

In addition, product warranty registrations, whether they are online or traditional card-in-a-box, suffer from a “perceived lack of trust” from customers regarding what will be done with their data (source). While some registration cards ask for simple information like name and address, others dig deep into the consumer’s personal information by including questions about ethnicity, income, education and family structure. It’s no wonder that less than 10 percent of customers fill out warranty registration cards (source).

Reduce the Burden on the Customer

It’s clear that the warranty registration process is broken, but companies are more eager than ever before to obtain data from their customers, as it presents a very lucrative avenue for gaining repeat customers. So how does a manufacturer increase the percentage of customers that fill out those registration cards and increase their stores of customer data?

Put simply, reducing the burden on the consumer by streamlining and simplifying the warranty registration process makes it much more likely consumers will submit their information. By making the process automatic and digital, companies reap significantly more data from their customer base, data that has traditionally only been held by retailers and receipt processing companies.

Several solutions to this problem are popping up, including apps that automatically start the warranty registration process based on consumers’ purchase data. Not only is this a benefit for the consumer, allowing them to digitally and automatically submit a warranty for every product they wish to register, but it also delivers value for manufacturers in the form of all-important customer data.

The manufacturers’ product warranty registration process is broken, and all too often there is little thought given to how technology can be leveraged to increase customer response rates. But with the digital resources like one-time entry databases and automatic submissions, the process can be revolutionized. Marketers in the manufacturing industry will finally be able to unlock the wealth and depth of customer data from product registrations.

headshot1Emily Farrar is the Director of Community for Shoeboxed, a receipt tracking company based in Durham, NC. At Shoeboxed, Emily focuses on keeping users happy and engaged. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Relations and an avid Tar Heels fan.

The Minimalist Guide To Managing Your Brand Reputation Online

A dissatisfied customer, on an average, tells 25 of his friends, while a happy one tells only 15. Seems like if good reviews spread like wildfire, bad reviews would be rushing with light speed. Reviews, and how the masses consume them, are human nature, but this human nature can be fatal for online businesses especially at a time when 8 out of 10 customers treat and trust online reviews just like personal recommendations.

Let me tell you, brand value is diluting. And it marks an uprise of a generation of advocates and influencers that are a part of the crowd our customers identify with.

So here is a quick look at the ways you can ensure that your online brand reputation shines forever like gold and earns you higher AOVs, bigger ROIs, and ever increasing conversions.

How to ensure that each product has at least five reviews

Tip #1: Ask and ye shall receive

Most customers will happily review your product if you ask for it. Just call them up or send a follow-up email. This picture here shows how to get reviews on site through email:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.55.46 AMTip #2: Give an incentive for review

For the hesitant ones, incentivise the review process. Run a reward point campaign or a loyalty program. [editor note – the FTC frowns on this practice unless you disclose that the review was incentivized.]

Tip #3: Poach the influencers

Dig out the people whose reviews are most trusted and offer them freebies or trial packs to ensure that each product has been reviewed.

How to manage third-party reviews (off-site)

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.56.03 AMManaging third-party reviews can get a little twisted if you do not have an automated services like Yotpo, which will syndicate all reviews in one dashboard and give you a chance to monitor and reply them instantaneously.

The first thing you need is a customer content service and second, a Godly omni-presence. Staying social does help, but so does having a profile on every review site. A great idea would be to have a separate profile, maybe on Twitter, to handle customer complaints.

Finally, be open and amiable. A demonstration of ‘respect for your customer’s opinion’ and ‘openness to take up criticism in stride’ will take your business a long way in fetching you repeat, happy customers.

How to build a positive reputation online and leverage customers’ trust

Most of the marketing experts unanimously vouch for one factor that gets most conversions, which is openness for customer opinions.

Step #1: Patiently listen to your customer.

Step #2: Respond instantly, but in an appreciative, comforting tone.

Step #3: Be vigilant.

If you find a great review somewhere, spread it on social media and display it on your site as a badge of honor and proof of great service.

Pay special attention to negative reviews. Do not leave them unaddressed. As much as you try to delight your happy customers through giveaways and discounts, try to make amends with the angry ones too. Apologize with a genuine voice and thank them for pointing out the potholes in your service. Send them goodies or vouchers if they are really unhappy with your service. However, do not do this too often or with everyone as it will encourage bad reviews more than good ones.

Believe it or not, customer reviews boil down to one thing – perceived value or customer expectation. If you set it too high on your website and the product doesn’t live up to it, your customer is going to feel disappointed. Keep the product copy unique and compelling but do not exaggerate its features.

parasParas heads Product Marketing at TargetingMantra, a SaaS company that lets ecommerce retailers create a personalized shopping experience for their customers just like Amazon and Zappos. An expert in Personalization and behavioral targeting, Paras has consulted over 50 clients across the globe on conversion optimization and increasing customer loyalty. He is a serial entrepreneur from IIT-Guwahati and Indian School of Business, who loves to spend his time exploring new technologies. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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