Connect With Your Customers Wherever (and Whenever) They Are

Consumers today hold more power than ever before. With social media and online reviews only a click away, your brand reputation is always on display. Post 4 in our Seven Steps to CX Nirvana series argues that only your customer determines your brand value.

From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, what matters most to consumers when deciding on a purchase? If you haven’t yet checked out the Global Omni-Channel Consumer Shopping Research Report by Big Commerce, it’s worth a read. According to their latest surveys, the answer can be summed up in one word: convenience.

Convenience means speed and simplicity, but also availability and easy access. If your business hopes to thrive, or even just survive, you must meet your ideal customers on their preferred channels — even if they’re not your preferred channels. 

In 2019, a seamless omni-channel presence is no longer a luxury reserved for elite brands. Meeting your customers where they are is a must, a key component of customer experience.

The Inconvenient Truth: They Won’t Come to You

With almost 25% of business owners choosing to use Facebook for sales, not simply brand awareness, the line between engagement and e-commerce is blurring. In fact, 40% of businesses are now using social media to sell, rather than simply to answer questions, educate, or introduce themselves. What does this mean for you? Now, more than ever, social media engagement isn’t optional. You must be present on the channels your ideal customers are using.

In the past, many organizations relied on highly optimized SEO to attract customers. But you can no longer count on consumers searching and finding you. And what about potential customers who haven’t yet heard of you? Unless you’re present and engaged where they are, they probably won’t discover you.

Of course, being where your customers are means knowing your ideal customers inside and out. You’ll need far more than demographic-based marketing personas. Instead, your research should reveal deeper, psychographic factors that reveal values and motivations, along with analytics that track consumer behaviors and preferences.

Once you understand their daily habits, you can then begin to develop an effective omni-channel strategy that allocates resources where they’re needed.

Make It Easy

You and I are consumers, too. Let’s say you begin a customer service conversation through a chat bot on your desktop computer. You later continue it on your smart phone. Isn’t it nice when you can take up where you left off without having to explain your issue all over again? Everyone has always appreciated convenience, but consumers today don’t simply appreciate it. They expect it.

In fact, 77% of companies considered strong in omni-channel store customer data across channels, while only 40% of those considered “weak omni-channel companies” do so. Seamless customer support is a vital component of stellar customer experience.

The bottom line is simply this: the easier and faster you make it for customers to accomplish their tasks, either off-line or online, the more you’ll be rewarded with a return on your investment.

I don’t know whether it’s true that humans today — as widely reported — have attention spans shorter than those of goldfish. But those companies that don’t prioritize convenient, omni-channel CX are already being left behind. 

Your Customer Doesn’t Care

About your omni-channel strategy, that is. Mainly, they care about completing their task, not about your organization, your strategy, your best-laid plans, or your revenue goals. They don’t even care how much effort you put into pleasing them. Forget this fact and you lose.

And you know what else they don’t care about? Your technology. They want the same lightning-fast service and delivery, regardless of platform or device. I’m reminded of Steve Krug’s classic book on web design, Don’t Make Me Think. He was talking about user experience on websites, but his point is valid for any customer touch point.

He argues, correctly, that the second they have to “think,” meaning figure out how to get the information or service they need, they’ll bounce. Each platform or channel should be absolutely transparent and dead-simple to use. Don’t confuse them. Don’t make them think. Just give them what they want and don’t waste even a millisecond of their time.

Never Stop Listening

I wish I could assure you that your customers will stick with their current channel preferences for the foreseeable future. I wish I could tell you there will be time for you to catch up before innovation changes the game yet again.

But innovation never stops. The reality is that customer behaviors change over time. My advice to you is get obsessed with your customer, stay obsessed with your customer, and be wherever they are, ready to over deliver at every opportunity.

If you’d like to discuss a winning omni-channel strategy for your organization, feel free to reach out to me to schedule a consultation.

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