To Lock or Not to Lock Customers (into CRM Journeys)
Explained: How to deliver the most relevant campaign to customers, at scale – and avoid "automation from hell" - by balancing your skills with AI's ability to decide when to let customers migrate (and where to)
When creating multi-step customer journeys, one of the dilemmas marketers have, is whether to lock customers into journeys or leave them to migrate freely between one journey and another.
It’s a question because to map out customer journeys, marketers typically turn to a trusted blank canvas. And that blank canvas can be a marketer’s best friend or biggest nightmare.
On the one hand, when used for time delimited-journeys, it helps marketers easily visualize all their possible interactions with a customer (based on their segment and how they are likely to interact with the brand.)
On the other hand, it can become impossible to scale when used for ongoing customer retention and marketing automation purposes. Marketers cannot anticipate every possible action, interaction, or decision-point a customer will have with a brand or when it will occur.
This results in what we at Optimove call “automation from hell.”
Automations from hell!
So, let’s talk about those for a moment. While automation from hell can be bad enough, matters can worsen when you choose to lock customers into journeys by manually prioritizing them. This causes them to undergo the entire journey from the initial node all the way through the exit node. And could potentially lead to broken CRM journeys.
Using algorithms to optimize for KPIs such as customer lifetime value is a cutting-edge solution but marketers still must balance the equation by optimizing for loyalty and brand affinity.
Choosing between manual and auto-priority
Since there needs to be a balance between manually prioritizing flows and letting an algorithm do it for you, it is vital to identify when each method’s usage is optimal.
With customers being so unpredictable, we typically recommend using an algorithm to determine how customers migrate from one flow to another.
For instance, you may assume that customers will not follow up their first purchase with a new one in their first two weeks and therefore create a two-week-long welcome flow.
However, during these two weeks, customers may perform a multitude of actions, including:
- Making an additional purchase earlier than expected
- Returning a product or opening a support ticket for delivery issues
Generally, each of these interactions will require a new flow, so you’ll have to add exit nodes for each of these interactions, and many others, at every point along the welcome flow. Get why “automation from hell” now?
If you choose to prioritize flows and lock customers manually, they will be receiving the welcome flow, even when it is no longer relevant to them.
On the other hand, if you choose to utilize the algorithm, customers will be migrating to the relevant flow.
But wait – when it comes to flows or messages that require a strong sense of emotional intelligence, such as a birthday or post-product-return flow, manually prioritizing flows to ensure customers receive the entire treatment is key to establishing more substantial relationships.
With Optimove’s Visual Stream Builder, marketers can easily map out various multi-campaign flows (known elsewhere as journeys) in a familiar blank canvas, and then choose whether they would like to manually prioritize their flows or allow an A.I. algorithm to do so.
Wrapping it up
A.I. algorithms have allow marketers to create hundreds or thousands of flows without having to anticipate every possible interaction a customer has with the brand. This will enable you to develop hyper-personalized and relevant flows – at scale.
However, marketers still need valuable skills and the ability to identify and formulate flows that build long-lasting, emotionally intelligent relationships with customers. Therefore, you must seamlessly combine both approaches to optimize customer relationships (and customer retention as a by-product).
Optimove can help! With Optimove’s algorithm, marketers no longer need to predict every interaction a customer will have with the brand throughout the flow. Rather, they create as many short flows as they want and allow the algorithm to do the heavy lifting.
To learn more about Optimove and how to deliver the most relevant campaigns to customers at all times, contact us.