Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 | 4 min read
The modern customer is connected, social, and influential, and yet many businesses remain traditional in how they approach them.
Successfully engaging customers is not as much about managing them as it is about cultivating relationships. Any meaningful relationship requires a genuine understanding of who people are, how they behave, and what you can do to help the other person. As such, creating these relationships take time and commitment.
The modern customer has high expectations and if they’re not met, they are likely to part ways. High expectations, though, shouldn’t be a deterrent. Rather they’re an opportunity to improve and optimize your engagement strategies. Most expectations don’t require technology upgrades or sophisticated platforms; only better workflows and transparent communication.
When you show that you value your customers from the inside out, it builds confidence and trust. The more a customer trusts you, the more they’ll likely engage with you. To reap the rewards of these relationships, use these opportunities to collect information, complete call to actions, or connect with customers one-on-one.
Because the customer experience is about relationships, it starts the moment a customer becomes aware of your brand or product. Introductions are no longer formal, and can be as subtle as a tweet in someone’s feed or casual mention from a friend. While you might not be able to control how or when someone is introduced to your brand/company, you can influence what they feel when they meet you.
Your brand represents your mission, vision, and values and as such, any time you engage with a customer, your message should embody what you stand for.
No one sets out to make customers uncomfortable or unappreciated, but they can feel that way if messaging isn’t consistent across every touchpoint. Whether it’s on the phone, in an email, on social media, or face to face — the voice, tone, and character of your company are of paramount importance. It’s easy to be nice to your fans, but how do you respond to your detractors? How will you act in a crisis?
Establishing the persona of your brand requires a fundamental understanding of what your brand represents; commitment to remaining true to your values; and the emotional intelligence to understand your customers’ behaviors.
Most companies think their bottom line comes first, but smart businesses know that it’s the customers who do. Without customers, you won’t survive. And if you’re not taking the time to invest in developing meaningful customer relationships, customers won’t last long.
Everything your company does must be built around the customer experience.
What does the customer experience mean to the C-suite? How does it impact research and development? Information technology? Customer service? Marketing and sales? Customer-driven companies adopt a culture where employees not only have an advanced understanding of the customer, but also a responsibility to deliver the highest possible level of service to all customers.
Cultivating the customer experience is a non-negotiable — it must be integrated into every facet of a company in order to meet and exceed the expectations of the modern customer.
About the Author: Marisa Peacock is the principal and chief strategist for The Strategic Peacock. As a social business strategist and marketing consultant, Marisa helps organizations create and implement online strategies that appropriately target the right audience with the right information using the right media.