A 'pull' platform is a single, consolidated home for all the information a customer might need, such as a portal or mobile app.

Rather than viewing these communication methods as opposing each other, organisations should aim to build push-pull synergy, using all the tools at their disposal to create a convenient and seamless omnichannel experience for their customers.

The power of push

Most organisations inherently understand the importance of 'push' communication. Even very new businesses understand that you need to communicate proactively with customers to build relationships, drive awareness of products and conveniently (and securely) deliver important documents like bills and invoices.

The majority of organisations also understand that reaching customers on the right channel (be that email, text, social media, or instant messaging) with the right message at the right time can go a long way in creating a great customer experience. That, in turn, makes for more loyal customers who are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the business to other people.

Push communications can also be made hyper-personal and interactive, as well as integrated with other channels — further enriching the customer experience, increasing channel adoption (by nudging customers towards portal and app) and driving customer engagement. This is a key prerequisite to achieving behavioural change.

Portal pull

Pull platforms, meanwhile, provide a single, consolidated home for all the information a customer may need over the customer lifecycle. They also offer features that enhance the customer experience, including (but not limited to) housing all the customer information in one place and providing a repository where all documents can be stored securely and efficiently and easily referenced.

Additionally, customer preferences can be collected through polls and surveys and used to tailor the online experience to specific needs. It's also easier to update and refresh a portal than doing the same across several different customer communication channels.

Finding synergy

While a 'pull' portal (or app) might provide a great customer experience, customers won't actually get that experience if they aren't drawn to it. "Build it and they will come" worked for Kevin Costner, but in the digital world adoption requires a strong push channel strategy. It's, therefore, imperative to find synergy between push and pull channels.

Using push-style communication, organisations can lower barriers to the adoption of 'pull' platforms. In effect, it can act like a trail of breadcrumbs, leading people to the platform by continually nudging them to use it or even integrating directly into it.

For example, you could email a customer an invoice and give them the option of paying the amount due directly from the invoice (using a click-to-pay button) or direct them to pay via your 'pull platform'.

You can also initiate a quote, accept a targeted offer or start a chatbot conversation before seamlessly handing off the process to the appropriate 'pull' channel for completion. This will ultimately be driving qualified traffic to your app or portal. Because customers are engaged in these push communications, they're also more likely to see and adopt any encouraged behavioural changes.

Another option is to include personalised offers with trusted links in your push messaging (an insurer might, for example, offer a reduced premium based on data showing that a specific customer is driving their insured vehicle less), once again allowing you to 'pull' qualified traffic to your portal.

Combining 'push' messaging and portal 'pull' means that whenever your customers want to engage or source information, there is at least one avenue available to provide this service.

The net result of this is an improved customer experience and, ultimately, increased spend and lowered costs. This makes customer interactions far more convenient and simplifies the building and maintenance of loyal relationships.

Ultimately then, there's no negative to push-pull synergy. In fact, the absence of either method results in a substantially inferior customer experience. Push-pull synergy is a true example of a symbiotic relationship.

By pushing information and functionality securely to customers, it not only creates a convenient customer experience but it also pushes customers to adopt pull platforms (app, web and social). Additionally, this synergy helps ensure that customers are happy and loyal, which can only benefit the business.

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