As the digital economy deepens and grows more mature, customers are demanding more and more from businesses. They have seen what it’s like to interact with world-class organizations like Amazon, Facebook, and Spotify, to name just a few, and they have come to expect that level of service and expertise.
It’s not fair, and it’s certainly not easy to achieve – but those are the standards that businesses are being judged against in today’s digital marketplace.
Customer experience has been pushed to the top of the agenda, and a satisfying customer experience is the key to growing your customer base and retaining them over a long and profitable period of time.
The Business Tools of the 21st Century
Right now, there is a set of unique circumstances and factors which are changing the ways that we all do business. In particular, the explosion of big data, the reach of social media, cloud computing, and the incredible power and reach of our mobile devices are providing affordable tools that any business, big or small, can use to improve on what they do.
A manager’s task in today’s world is to make smart choices that enhance the consumer experience.
Most businesses understand that a positive customer experience is the most powerful differentiator that they have. And the good news is that consumers are prepared to pay more for better service. That creates a powerful, virtuous cycle that can and should lead to better and better service.
So how should you think about enhancing your customer experience? The key is personalization.
Make the customer feel that they are really seen, that their needs are understood, and that your products and services can solve a problem quickly and easily.
The 5 Keys to Improved Customer Experience In The Digital Age
1. Know Your Consumer
Knowledge and understanding of the consumer is the key to getting it right. Use the tools at your disposal to really get to know your customer. Where are they in the consumer life cycle? What do they want from you? Are they receiving it?
From social media postings to insightful data gathering, you need to be working with a sophisticated CRM that gathers data, tracks all their interactions with your organization, and presents it in a way that makes sense to your employees.
2. Reassure Your Staff
The relentless advance of automation and technological solutions to some of your most difficult problems may be great news for consumers, but for many of your staff, it can feel like an existential threat that threatens their paycheck.
One of the manager’s key roles should be ensuring that your workforce is invested in the tools and systems you implement. Make them feel confident that the technology is enhancing what they do and is not there to replace them. Build a culture that lets them know it’s okay to make mistakes while they are figuring out better ways to do things.
If you don’t, the chances are that your workforce will just revert to its old ways as soon as they have an opportunity to do so.
3. Leverage Your Data
Many companies are gathering a lot of valuable data on their clients without really knowing what to do with that data. Take the time to really figure out what you want from your data, then don’t be distracted on your way to getting it.
Companies must figure out the ways that they gather multiple streams of data, how they store it for easy access, and how they turn that into actionable intelligence.
4. Get Everyone On The Same Page
Nothing turns a customer off a company faster than being shunted from one department to the next as they look to solve a problem. Your organization must learn to operate with the look and feel of a small business, no matter how big it really is. The best way to do this is to use cloud-based platforms that break down the silos between different departments and facilitate holistic solutions for the consumer. When finance, marketing, operations, and sales are all ‘singing from the same song sheet,’ it becomes that much easier to solve problems in one easy step.
5. Create Interesting & Unusual Content
Use engaging content to build a relationship with the consumer. Do you know how to talk to them so that they really listen? Are you offering experiences and information that is valuable to them and that they can get nowhere else?
Great content across multiple channels can really set your business apart, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to build great relationships with your customers.
At the end of the day, there are many different technologies competing to become an integral part of your business workday. From Artificial Intelligence to Virtual Reality, chatbots to sophisticated analytics, new technology offers unlimited potential when used correctly.
Deciding which technology you choose to power your workforce in the digital economy is one of the most fundamental choices facing management. There are no absolutely right or wrong decisions – instead, what you need to keep in mind is that your technology should be solving problems for your customers, first and foremost, so that they have no reason to look away or contemplate what your competitors are offering.
This post was first published on the Omnicus blog