Last month I explained how Lowe’s is leveraging an effective #SoLoMo strategy to create an engaging customer experience. I downloaded the app and signed up for the MyLowes program in order to share the experience with you and to highlight some customer experience marketing best practices.
I gave Lowe’s high marks for the way they created an engaging customer experience. But, creating an engaging customer experience is increasingly table stakes. The real challenge is sustaining customer relationships, and I think Lowe’s is demonstrating they understand the difference.
This month I want to take a closer look at the MyLowes program in order to explore what they are doing to sustain the relationship.
Designing from the customer perspective
This may seem pretty basic, and it is. In the new marketing landscape, however, it’s essential. It is the foundation of the relationship. Empowered consumers have lots of options at their disposal. Sustaining any relationship requires consistent, relevant connection.
In both method and message Lowe’s is trying to ensure that their program has utility. Whether it’s sending reminders, keeping track of past purchases or offering access to helpful tools and videos, Lowe’s is making an effort to help their customer navigate the wide array of marketing assets to make life easier.
If you want to be relevant, you have to find a way to provide utility on your customer’s terms. This means finding a way to connect their needs with what you have to offer. All too often marketers are guilty of developing a customer relationship-marketing program with a transactional mindset.
When designing from the customer perspective you’ll ask questions like:
- What kind of information are they looking for?
- Where are they? Are they in the store, in their car, or living room?
- How can we help them find what they are looking for?
- How do they buy?
Increasingly, consumers are expecting a very different kind of experience, one that is tailored to their changing needs and requirements. Whether they are looking for an experience that will save time and money or looking for ideas and advice. The bottom line is they want to have a voice.
Tailoring the experience to specific needs and desires increases the odds you’ll have a customer who is fully engaged with your brand. Perhaps they will even become an ambassador! Raymond Morin suggests some ways to recognize ambassadors.
Sustaining requires getting off to a good start
Since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, smart brands do everything possible to ensure customers have a good first experience. My last post chronicles the process of downloading the app and signing up for the My Lowes rewards program. I believe there are a number of first impressions that brands have to navigate. Often these initial interactions determine the trajectory of the relationship.
Since my last post I have received my credential package in the mail.
As you will notice this is pretty standard fare; however there are a couple of items worth noting. First, I have options. There are at least three in this package alone. I can choose a plastic card that is standard size or one that fits my key ring. There is a bar code that I can apply to my personal credit card to avoid carrying another card. If I choose, I can use the phone app.
Notice how the benefits are clearly stated on the panels. The message is clear in expressing value to the customer, consistent with their never stop improving brand theme, and my life gets easier.
Lowes provides a couple of customer service options too. There is the traditional call center number, and they also offer their customer service Twitter handle @MyLowes_Help. Sofie DeBeule my fellow contributor suggests three reasons companies can benefit from social customer service.
Educate. Show Your Customers how they will benefit
Soon after I signed up Lowe’s started sending me emails. Each had a specific purpose designed to help me learn about the various options now at my disposal. They made it easy for me to understand how to take advantage of their tools and offerings.
The initial emails were simple and clean, clearly pointing out an important benefit that could make my life easier. The first couple of emails demonstrate the value of basics like creating lists and accessing purchase history. One of my personal favorites is the reminder to change air filters.
Subsequent emails offer more in depth help; for example the blue print email highlights several tools and features.
Multiple channels; one experience
To summarize, with practical features like lists, reminders and purchase history, Lowe’s is establishing a connection with me before I enter the store. If I choose I can avoid the store by ordering online.
Providing one experience across multiple platforms is no easy task. It requires the integration of some type of CRM software. Tracking customer data transactions across all channels is challenging; however, the benefits often outweigh the challenges.
When consumers are able to choose when and how they will connect brands can be present in ways that are helpful, not intrusive. Although I received a number of emails they were interesting and useful.
Allowing consumers to choose when and how they interact with your brand increases the likelihood of sustaining customer relationships. And ongoing relationships are typically more profitable.
Can you think of other examples? What are your thoughts about the MyLowes program?