Your phone rings. It’s a local number but you don’t recognise it. Do you answer it? Many people have stopped answering calls from unknown numbers. Robocalls have become a symbol of digital overload; people are losing trust in the telecoms industry and in the companies who engage in automated cold calling.
It’s not just cold calls. Social media is also responsible for an overwhelming volume of unwanted communication. Messages, alerts and push notifications are constantly popping up, turning smartphones and tablets into an irritation.
If you are a marketing exec, you need to find a different way of engaging with customers and building trust in your brand. Thankfully there is a better way; two-way conversations. Digital ones. Here we examine some of the trends in the way digital technology can improve customer communication.
Caller ID protocols
The STIR protocol adds digital information to the call so that the origin of the data can be identified. This doesn’t stop a call agent from spoofing a number or caller ID, but it allows points along the call route to determine whether they are authentic.
The use of STIR and its companion SHAKEN is progressing in the USA and Canada. In the UK, OFCOM has published a consultation  to promote trust in telephone numbers. It emphasises that implementing STIR must be a priority for telecoms providers.
This will allow a customer to answer a call with confidence that it is coming from the business or person it claims to be.
Choosing the right channel
In 2019, the average open rate for campaign emails  in the UK was 17.5%, down slightly on 2018. However, the click-through rate increased massively, from 0.9% in 2018 to 2.4%. Marketers found better ways to capture attention and encourage subscribers to visit their websites.
By comparison, political campaigns  showed a reverse trend with emails either not arriving, or being delivered in a secondary tab. Campaigning has moved to social media.
In the UK 2019 election, the campaign was conducted on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, The Conservatives, although spending only half as much as Labour, achieved 10% more engagements. They used two key tactics:
– Targeted advertising based on broad categories that would be seen by non-Tory voters
– Two full-day YouTube campaigns that would be seen by every visitor
There was also widespread use of private Facebook groups and messaging through peer-to-peer networks. Members trust and engage with these channels.
Natural language understanding
With the increasing use of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Facebook Portal, people have learned to trust digital assistants to answer simple questions about the weather and to carry out tasks such as setting an alarm and playing music.
As natural language understanding and AI technology improves, businesses are starting to use chatbots and virtual assistants to build a dialogue with customers. The advantages are:
– The assistant can understand dialects and accents
– It can give helpful suggestions, quickly and accurately
– It can authenticate a customer using their face or fingerprint
– It can give a personalised experience based on previous interactions and orders
Customer experience (CX) will be the ultimate test. Businesses are investing in people with the skills to harness digital technology in order to improve CX. This means understanding how customers prefer to interact and having the vision to see how this can be achieved with technology.
Hiring a marketing specialist is no longer about finding someone who can run a good email campaign. Email still has its place, but tomorrow’s marketing execs will have the skills to utilise other channels and technologies as they evolve.
The speed of change presents management teams with tremendous opportunities but also challenges finding senior digital talent. Why not contact our team at Clifford Associates to see how we can help your business to thrive in this climate.
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