Fellow marketers, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you use email to push out your marketing campaigns? Social media? Ask your internal teams to help spread the message? Most likely it is all the above and more, because we will try anything and everything to reach our target audiences and improve engagement. While traditional methods and marketing automation systems are helping to improve effectiveness and reach, it’s time to try less traditional methods and move to multi-channel campaigns. Start reaching your customers at the right time and increase response rate through strategies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and SMS (text based messaging).
The most traditional use for an IVR system is to manage inbound calls with a menu of options to route the call appropriately (“press 1 for store hours, press 2 for support, press 3 for billing inquires,” etc.) What you might not know, however, is that marketers can extend its capabilities to interact with customers over voice and text. Here are four examples of ways to change up your marketing programs:
1. Conduct surveys and polls
Collecting accurate and timely data related to customer feedback can be difficult. People are busy and may forget that they were asked to fill out a survey online when checking out at the store. With IVR, you can be more proactive in collecting feedback by sending out automated survey after a purchase or customer service experience to gauge satisfaction. This allows quicker collection of data and responses, including sharing compliments or targeting areas for improvement. Conduct polls to gain insights on preferences, behaviors, and everything else you need to know about your target markets.
2. Send promotions and product updates
Further extend an IVR by sending notifications about promotions and product information (as long as your customers and prospects have opted in to receive promotional information, that is). Through integrations with your CRM, Point of Sale, or other applications, you can pull in customer specific data and automate the process of reaching prospective and existing customers with discounts, details about product updates, and more.
3. Manage rewards programs
Designate a number specifically for your rewards/loyalty program that customers can call or text to activate or check balances through the IVR. It also makes program administration easier because you can create automation and flows that are specific to your loyalty program and push out account information, rewards for reaching program tiers, and other notifications.
4. Create multi-channel campaigns
Adding IVR into the mix with text and email efforts creates a campaign that spans multiple channels while bringing more automation and integration than what might be available to you through marketing platforms. For example, you want to conduct a survey of customers in California that bought a product within the last 3 months. You want to be proactive in sending the survey but also want to provide customers the option to record live responses for more detailed and personal feedback. And let’s throw in a gift card as an incentive.
An example campaign could look something like this:
Customer receives phone call from IVR and completes survey.
IVR records responses and integrates data into analytics platform/business applications.
Text exchange for survey completion and gift card:
Customer receives email with gift card and more product information:
While voice and messaging with an IVR might not be the most conventional way to run marketing programs, it’s provides another channel to reach your target audience, improve engagement, and create more effective two-way conversations, all while automating process to help the marketing team be more productive.