The world around us is starting to go completely digital. Or rather, many of our interactions now take place through digital means, and corporate communication reaches us in one way or another. It is no longer a matter of advertising or public relations as it was in the last century, but a constant and completely pervasive presence modulated to conform to our searches and habits and follows us through our social media.
In such an interconnected environment, it is easy to understand that for companies, facilitating the approach with the public and making it friendly and transparent is the key to ensuring the transformation of the visitor into a customer. And that's what the customer experience is for, especially since, thanks to digitalization, there is a wide choice of alternatives for the typical consumer to rely on.
1. Active listening to customer needs
The customer is always right, says an old adage. And although this is not entirely true, the moral is that you have to listen to them to remain successful. Cyber security and data privacy is becoming a common point of persuasion for consumers too. Many use extra measures and precautions – like VPNs – to be safe online. Businesses, as such, are beginning to respond to this demand.
Another example: a few years ago, major online casinos offered payment options in relatively few currencies, leaving holders of other currencies completely unprotected or applying unjustifiable exchange rates. However, over time, to better serve the local communities in various countries, online casinos began accepting payments in different currencies, so today, it is possible to play with NZD, for example, without having to pay currency conversion fees.
There is a need for corporate structures to implement new ways to relate to customers and listen to their needs and requests. This often involves an essential but underestimated factor: being reachable and identifiable to the public. Many companies, for different reasons, don't want to facilitate this direct relationship with their customers, hiding contact procedures behind layers of security and secrecy. And this is counterproductive and drives people away instead of bringing them closer.
2. Goodbye to old marketing funnels
Companies quickly realize that harnessing customers into a funnel is not helpful anymore. Users are way beyond the concept of funnels, and they now have the need and desire to interact with the company at their own pace and on their terms. This is why customer engagement must be carried out continuously, starting with customer service and continuing with content creation - without resorting to "plans" designed to catch the fish, so to speak.
The marketing funnel craze, like all fads, has outlived its purpose. Although it is necessary to structure a customer experience in such a way as to offer a series of touchpoints to lead the visitor to become a customer, not all visitors are the same, and not all can be approached in the same way. So you need to structure your communication with a character that offers different possibilities for the visitor to deepen their experience without "pulling it." It is much more respectful - and efficient - than trying to push them into conversions.
3. Turn requests into action, but with your head
It's not always easy, but organizations today need to be agile enough to change to manage customer interactions and turn them into actionable results optimally.
And while plenty of CRM platforms claim to be customer-centric, most of them are company-centric, and often their contribution is in suggesting stereotypical actions.
Admittedly, while CRM platforms have grown and done a great deal in recent years to bring together customer information in a way that is accessible across the enterprise and provides a "seamless" experience, they must always be considered a significant work in progress. More, they only work as well as the organization that uses them is open to change. Unfortunately, this kind of tools are not magic wands that can change things!
4. Your first customers are your employees
Considering your staff as an integral part of a mechanism to a part of the public allows you to leverage one of the main problems of the modern labor market. Too often, especially in large organizations, the employee is seen as a machine, which has caused the burnout effect of recent years. Instead, companies need to listen to themselves because it is the wheels that understand what can be improved in a mechanism.
So this means that you need to listen to your customers. However, avoid rendering this exigence a nightmare for your employees. Very often, on the altar of customer satisfaction, companies sacrifice the expectations and needs of their structure, and this doesn't seem right. Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin, has always said to take care of your employees because they will take care of their company: and this is a lesson not to be forgotten.
5. Getting the loyalty of your customers has become increasingly difficult
As we said, today, it is easy to change. So customer loyalty is increasingly valuable to companies and must be increased at all costs. Building trust is crucial, as it is a disappearing quality: in 2021, only 13% of consumers in the US had "complete confidence" in the brand they were buying, and 48% of them would switch brands if they betrayed their trust.
It used to be that customers followed a company from the cradle to the grave. However, it has become easy to change suppliers and often, this switch can happen almost immediately. Yet companies rarely remember that acquiring a new customer requires investments ranging from 5 to 25 times those needed to keep an old customer!
It seems unnecessary to say, but in fact, companies periodically seem to forget this essential fact, that in short, customers are a company's gold mine. And companies need to learn that their customers have many things to say to them - and this is done through an open and direct relationship.
If you can't create and maintain this direct relationship, these customers will become your competitors' hunting grounds, and that's unacceptable because it hurts your business twice: it takes away your revenue and adds to your competitors'. So, customer retention, rather than customer acquisition, is the real secret to success in business.