Technological progress has put customers on a level playing field with businesses. Transparency has increased in modern businesses. Customers influence the image of companies and products with increasingly frequent public comments across a range of media. They’ve also become more demanding due to the number of good online shops, apps, and excellent content that’s now on offer. Customers focus on their needs first. They are aware of the fact that they are running the show. How should businesses react?
To ensure that they do not dilute their brand image with public comments, businesses are being forced to achieve consistent, direct, and high-quality communications — across multiple channels. That doesn’t mean it’s time for excessive navel-gazing, which the public will be quick to make light of. Businesses should get to know their customers very well, including their needs and communication habits, then align communications with those needs and habits — using high quality content at a high pace. Strategically, that means one thing above all else: all touchpoints and channels that are unnecessary are ignored by the business to keep costs in check.
Customers want to have good experiences
No one is looking to have a bad experience. Customers approach companies with positive expectations. Businesses that can serve up the right content, at the right time, and on the right channel have already won half the battle. That increases customer acquisition and customer loyalty — at every point along the customer journey from initial awareness through to the purchase and subsequent creation of a loyal customer.
Customer focus has been well-represented in reading lists for some time now. Nevertheless, some companies may wish to revisit the topic: Barely more than half (53%) of all companies participating in a recent PAC study have implemented a holistic customer experience strategy.
Technology makes anything possible
Companies have practically no limits when it comes to technology. Businesses are now able to distribute content including text, images, 3D models, podcasts, and videos from a central platform. Customers can access this information on smartphones, in-store touchscreens, or via telephone. To ensure the company only invests in content and touchpoints that are relevant, a strategy should be developed that revolves around the customer journey and develops personas that represent a typical ideal customer. That makes it vastly simpler to empathize with the customer. To make it easier to manage what are often widely distributed and rapidly growing content types and channels, companies should introduce a centralized knowledge management system. The current and reliable knowledge that this management makes possible represents a living source of truth that bolsters the communication across all touchpoints. That makes omni-channel management easier, especially with respect to the quality of the content.
What defines good customer relationships
One of the big things that’s important for businesses today is simply holding onto their relationship with the customer. With the rise of digitalization, new companies are inserting themselves into relationships previously held by long-standing businesses. Many companies are affected and need to be careful that they don’t lose hold of their piece of the value chain.
Once a potential customer relationship has been initiated, the question is: do you know exactly what your customers want? Have you developed a persona? Customer-centric companies design processes that revolve around these ideal customers represented in the form of personas. In this way, they are able to address the needs of different groups of customers. A customer journey map helps to better identify those needs. The map shows weak points along the journey as well as moments of truth that have a crucial impact on customer relationships.
After this analysis, businesses should ensure positive experiences at each touchpoint and keep a conversation going with the customer. The better you know your customers, the more good content you will have in your knowledge management system and the more you will be able to take advantage of that knowledge, increasing your competitive advantage because customers will perceive you as consistent, credible, trustworthy, and authentic.
The biggest challenge
The most difficult thing when focusing on the customer may however be that you will never achieve perfection. Companies are forced to constantly remain in beta mode, optimizing everything while monitoring and responding to customers. The world and the consumer are changing at such a rapid pace that strategies and their implementation must constantly be adapted. Waiting for the perfect customer experience is not going to get you anywhere.
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