Marketing is a means to effectively engage and ultimately retain customers. But messaging aimed at customers also needs to be educational, helping them understand the benefit of what you offer. Providing guidance and instruction creates value for everyone.
Over a decade ago, and long before mobile apps became our collective go-to for advice and assistance, research from marketing professors Andreas Eisingerich and Simon Bel* concluded efforts to enhance customer knowledge paid dividends — in more ways than one. In their view, customer education created opportunities for companies to generate additional revenues and, more importantly, build trust.
Fast forward to the present and the requirement to deliver customer education has never been greater. Marketers must shift from selling people on their apps to helping customers use apps to solve problems or enhance their individual lifestyles.
TIER Mobility is one company that needs no convincing. As an app-powered provider of electric scooters and mopeds that has rapidly expanded across Europe since its launch in 2018, the company works with local authorities to build a more sustainable future for cities around the world. Fulfilling this mission requires TIER to adapt to user behavior and anticipate what users will need next. Above all, it requires messaging that leads by example, enabling users to understand features and maintain their personal safety.
Appearing as guests on the Reimagine Growth podcast series, Timothy Lange, TIER’s head of CRM, and Lígia Boueres, CRM manager, discussed how they use customer insights and behavioral data to keep customer education very basic but also extremely valuable. It has to be “super-simple” to communicate, Boueres says. And this means the team has to “zoom out and try to explain in the easiest way possible.”
Lessons stick when they are repeated. For this reason, Boueres says, TIER has harnessed a multi-model communication approach. In practice, this means developing comprehensive lifecycle campaigns that combine CRM, social media, and content to reach out to users by email, in-app notifications, and push notifications.
At the time of the podcast recording, TIER had just started a series of campaigns to educate users around the proper use of helmets and the importance of recharging scooter batteries. In August 2020, TIER set out to revolutionize urban transport: the company launched the first-ever scooter with user swappable batteries along with a Europe-wide charging network. The new e-scooter model enables riders to exchange batteries at charging stations that TIER set up in cities across Europe, allowing them to earn free rides in the process.
The move is a win on two counts: one, it allows users to play an active part in adopting climate-neutral travel. At the same time, by hosting the charging pods in local businesses, TIER drives foot traffic into physical shops, helping businesses bounce back after COVID lockdowns.
In both cases, messaging plays a pivotal role, Boueres says. A campaign aimed at educating customers to swap the battery might start with an email and then evolve to include imagery around how to change the battery. “But, importantly, messaging also has to educate on the ‘why’ — why the user should do that.”
At one level, messaging is used to educate users about how they can make a step-change in safe and sustainable travel. But messaging also lays the groundwork for a user journey that reminds them to keep swapping batteries.
“Every time a user opens the app, we communicate — look, there is this new feature,” Boueres explains, “And then finally we use our push notification channels to nudge and remind the user that, for example, they earned a ride because they swapped in the past and need to use this ride in the future and keep swapping.”
TIER is a driving force behind change in the transport sector. In the early days, the company appealed to early adopters that followed a predictable pattern. It was a group of predominantly young males who viewed scooters as a fun and easy way to get around. Today, Lange says, TIER is expanding its reach and appeal.
Convenience and climate-neutral benefits are the main attraction, and working with CleverTap has allowed TIER to adapt its messaging and targeting to match. “People want the ability to walk out of their homes and very quickly find an affordable transportation option,” Lange says. “And that’s something we’re trying to communicate to a wider audience of users because this kind of sustainable convenience is obviously attractive to the wider population and not just applicable to early-adopter, tech enthusiasts.”
Visibility into how and when consumers use the app also exposes new opportunities to drive engagement, Lange explains. The observation that a user segment is using scooters between 8:00 to 10:00 am, for example, speaks volumes about what these users want.
“There are very specific customer problems that we define so that we can understand why the customer would want to actually use our scooter at that point in time, and then it’s up to us to figure out the how we communicate the how and the why of using TIER,” Lange says. “Leveraging CleverTap really allows us to take those customer problems, feed that data in real time, and use that to trigger really rich and relevant communications to our customers.”
The aim is to be there when a user is considering whether or not they want to use a TIER scooter. And we can be there with a communication, email, push, or in-app message, to really make sure that we deliver that additional nudge that a customer needs in order to consider us as their mobility option versus our competitors.” In this scenario, Lange continues, “CleverTap really helps give us that critical edge.”
Data and insights around what users do and want equip TIER to combine customer education with personalization. But it also provides a solid foundation and framework for data-driven retention.
“The golden rule has always been relevancy,” Lange says. “If you’re not sending a message that’s timely, and has some kind of element that relates to an action that a customer has taken or has taken in the past, then your message will ultimately fall flat.”
Education is critical to help users understand the app and how it can remove friction, increase convenience or, in the case of TIER, reinforce positive habits and a sense of purpose.
It can be hard work. But it comes with a significant business advantage, provided your messaging is relevant to what your customers want to do or solve at that moment.
This requires marketers to make their data actionable. Align marketing with the vast amount of customer information that digital makes possible.
Remember, timing is everything. Adapt messaging to real-time triggers (such as how users behave in your app) to offer assistance – and value — when, where, and how it matters most.
To learn more about how TIER is reimagining growth, tune into the entire interview.
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