From a modest beginning as application logic executing on specific events in a relational database, such as a simple “if/then” decision when a record is added, modified or deleted, triggered actions have evolved as key components of a personalized customer experience (CX).
Triggered actions – alternatively known as triggered events – are powerful and relevant to an individual customer journey because the consumer at the receiving end often expects or welcomes the communication as a natural extension of their overall experience. A notification that a subscription is about to lapse, an SMS that their yearly spend qualifies them for a gold-level loyalty tier, or even a phone call that a customer’s prescription is ready are all examples of data-driven triggered actions that enhance customer experience and demonstrate a personal understanding of a customer.
What is a Triggered Action?
A triggered action or actions that spur a set response can range from simple to complex, from single channel to omnichannel, and from a standalone trigger to a series of triggers spanning a customer journey. Trigger events share certain characteristics; a channel that services the trigger, a context for the trigger, and an attribute related to the trigger metrics.
In the case of alerting a customer that it is time to re-order a product, for example, the attribute is a re-order date based on purchase history. The context for the trigger is a unified customer record or Customer 360 that will contain purchase history, and the channel could be an SMS push notification, an email, a call center interaction or any channel that ideally aligns with the customer’s preferred method of communication.
Product availability or various business rules can also serve as contexts for a trigger. While triggers may have started as simple “if/then” decisions, what’s true for how they’re used in customer experience today is that the logic tree often has many branches. That is, companies need to be listening to signals from across the enterprise and making evaluations often based on a high volume of online and offline data. In the product availability context, for example, a customer might qualify for a certain communication having satisfied a half dozen or more criteria, but if the product the company wants to offer is not available when those conditions are met, that will automatically stop the next trigger, which could be the sending of the communication.
Tune Triggers to Business Goals
Whatever the business goal – retention, acquisition, CLV, etc. – trigger events are tuned to optimize the objective by listening for the appropriate enterprise signals, evaluating whether the criteria is met, and then activating the set response. A multi-trigger campaign will designate set timeframes and actions between triggers, such as triggering a second email (or SMS, direct mail, Facebook, etc.) if there wasn’t a click-through on the initial email. Listening queues can also be optimized to evaluate and qualify customers after a certain period of time has elapsed, depending on the business goals or whether a threshold number of qualified customers has been reached based on, say, available inventory.
A welcome campaign a is common use case in an omnichannel trigger account. For instance, a previously anonymous customer might self-identify on a brand’s website by signing up for a newsletter and providing an email address. The known record is then incorporated into a contact graph as part of the updated Customer 360 – also known as a Golden Record. The activity on the website then triggers a welcome email, or a different communication depending on a customer’s opt-in preferences.
Triggered Actions and a Relevant CX
Trigger events have gained traction in the delivery of a hyper-relevant CX for the simple reason that they work. Shopping cart abandonment is perhaps the most well-known trigger example, applicable to retail certainly, but also travel, financial services and gaming. It’s a universal pain point, with about 7 in 10 customers who fill an online shopping cart failing to complete the transaction. Yet automated cart abandonment emails triggered off the event have a 45 percent open rate, a 21 percent click-through rate and an 11 percent conversion rate. According to Omnisend, a trigger series of three emails results in 69 percent more orders than a solitary email campaign.
By using the Golden Record in an email trigger campaign, a brand can increase relevance by incorporating a next-best action with the triggered communication. A brand might, for instance, analyze the abandoned items and determine the perfect complementary product based not just on the shopping cart activity but on browsing sessions and other behaviors. The follow-up email could then include an offer for a specific product relevant to an individual customer.
Brands can also qualify triggers to a select audience. A car rental agency, for example, could use geofencing capabilities to waive a gas refill for any premier customer within a certain radius of the airport, sending a “Enjoy your flight. This one’s on us” push notification to the mobile app. Conversely, the trigger could be set up for a customer deemed a high churn risk.
Triggered Actions and a Continuing Conversation
In a recent Harris Poll survey, 82 percent of consumers surveyed said that they are loyal to brands that demonstrate a thorough understanding of them as a unique customer (up from 77 percent in 2019). In this context, triggered actions as one-off communications are effective tools in any nurture campaign to help move a customer journey forward. By setting up triggered actions, a brand shows that it maintains a vested interest in strengthening a relationship with a customer by providing value in a tactful way. Done well, triggered actions make customers feel valued beyond a transactional basis. That value, received in the form of a highly relevant customer experience, translates to loyalty, higher lifetime value, better brand appreciation and, ultimately, more revenue.