Financial services the multichannel leaders
Pitney Bowes Software a global leader in customer data, analytics, communication software and services, reveals through a study of large B2C organisations in the Financial Services, Telecoms and Utilities sectors, that there are tangible differences between industries when it comes to multichannel marketing.
As such, customers are being lost through fragmented and inconsistent communications and a failure to integrate marketing channels. The report Disconnected Customer Channels – Vertical Sectors found that while 90% of all respondents recognise the need to integrate their customer communication channels, less than a third (31%) have successfully done so. The Financial Services industry has been the most successful, with 36% of their communications channels integrated overall, compared to Utilities (30%) and Telecoms (26%).
In addition, organisations in the Financial Services industry have a wider adoption of new channels like social media. 58% of companies in this industry are embracing social media to engage their customers, compared with 47% for both the Utilities and Telecoms sectors. However, the Telecoms industry is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of social media presence, with 22% of companies in this sector assigning astroturfers to increase outreach through this channel – the most in comparison to other industries.
The Telecoms industry is also among the best at recognising the value of developing meaningful and relevant communications with their customers through data segmentation. 28% of respondents in this sector use randomised control groups to measure campaign effectiveness versus only 19% in the Utilities sector.
Whilst the report clearly shows that the inbound call-centre channel is not optimised for customer communications it also highlights that 55% of companies do not use the web site for marketing purposes. By tracking personas and creating personalised sales and service offerings through the web site, companies can provide a better multi-channel customer experience and potentially an additional revenue stream.
The research paints a disappointing picture for organisations in the Utilities sector, which are lagging behind the other industries in achieving integrated marketing channels, possibly because they fail to recognise the importance of some channels as marketing tools. 30% of Utilities companies are failing to capitalise at all on inbound (call-centre) marketing opportunities. As such, organisations in this sector have some of the least sophisticated IT systems to help with cross channel marketing and still have a heavier reliance on direct mail (18%) compared to 13% overall. This sector also loses more customers during the onboarding process because they do not have a customer on-boarding strategy (17%) versus 8% of Financial Services companies and 7% of Telecoms.
By integrating channels to consolidate outbound transactional communications, all sectors have further opportunity to provide a more personalised service. For example, both Utilities and Telecoms can using the billing cycle as an opportunity to provide key services as well as to cross-sell and upsell.
Commenting on the research results, Gary Roberts, Executive Vice President, EMEA, Pitney Bowes Software said:
“It’s encouraging that there is real recognition across all three industries that integrated marketing is the way forward. However, these results show that there is still a long way to go. To avoid losing customers, companies need to embrace new techniques and technologies to make their communications more effective and help drive customer loyalty."
“The more mature Financial Services industry has developed a sophisticated approach to multi-channel communications compared to the relatively new Telco sector which is facing fierce competition. Telcos are now focussed on developing more effective customer communications in order to reduce churn and gain customer loyalty. In the same vein the deregulation of utility companies means that this sector now needs to react more keenly to competitive threats”. Other findings include
- The most popular social media activity across all sectors is to set up a Facebook fan page (25% overall). The Financial Services sector leads the way here by some way (31%), versus 26% of Utilities companies and 16% of Telecoms.
- The biggest reason for losing new customers is fragmented ownership by different functions within the business. This is true across all three sectors: Telecoms (35%), Financial Services (30%) and Utilities (30%)
- More than one quarter of all three sectors (26%) are losing customers because of mass targeting, which is most prevalent in the Telecom sector (31%)
- The Telecoms industry utilise email campaigns the most (58%), with Financial Services the least (49%)
- Across the board only 45% of companies use the web site for marketing purposes