Recently, one of the largest mobile brands had a customer calling about a billing issue with his new phone. When he didn’t get the desired help, he decided to reach the company through Twitter. Although most people would agree that customer service can be a very challenging job, the brand’s Customer Service team certainly could have handled the situation more appropriately. The agent dealing with the issue apparently changed the customer’s name to “Idiot,” which the customer saw the next time he logged into his account. He cancelled his subscription and posted his account of the incident online, which reasonably led to very bad publicity for the brand.
In today’s world, customers have been empowered by the impact of digital technology and are evaluating their relationship with the companies. The customers are in charge and their growing sense of independence is redefining their relationship with brands.
“Customers today are setting their customer service standard higher every day.”
This is happening because the market is expanding at a higher rate than ever and customers have realized that they have choices and demonstrate their autonomy by switching brands, when frustrated with their experiences.
Many brands have been making significant investments in response to the massive impact that digital is having on the consumers’ lives. However, those investments have largely failed to improve customer retention.
I strongly believe that it’s time for brands or companies to play to win, starting with being more relevant to their customers.
“Being relevant is becoming more proactive.”
Know me and understand me
Brands that truly listen to their customers, understand their needs and preferences, and respond appropriately in a trusted and timely way, can create personal relationships with customers that help drive revenue growth.
In a global consumer survey in the telecom industry, the findings were astonishing:
- 66% of global consumers decided to switch their service providers because of the poor customer service & experience.
- 65% of consumers said that the inconsistent offers, experience and treatment across channels was infuriating to them.
- 84% of consumers have complained that they have to reach out to the service provider multiple times for the same reasons.
And these are just a few percentages of consumers who took the survey & have spoken about the inefficiency of the company towards their needs. This happens, because the brand failed to understand its customers.
Enrich my Experience
Customers are smart and understand that companies are gathering more data than ever about their shopping habits and buying preferences. They expect companies to use customer analytics to create not just better selling opportunities for the company, but better choices and more value-added offerings for them.
Although only 21 percent of customers said their providers offer a customized experience, the few brands that demonstrated the ability to deliver valued customer experiences, have developed the capability of being more relevant.
The five R’s of becoming Relevant to your customer
Here are five ways that a brand can use to know and understand its customers and enrich their experiences; and in so doing, become more and more relevant to their customers:
1. Recognize the Customer:
The most irritating part of a customer journey with a brand is the strangest feeling that you get every time you interact, and they keep asking you “who you are”, even though you have been using their product or service for a long time. As a brand, you can avoid this poor experience by integrating information from previous interactions with a customer and “recognizing” them to reduce requests for re-identification.
2. Read the Context:
Focus on the evolving context in which customers make decisions and purchase products and services. Today technology such as connected devices, digital engagement, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning makes it possible for a brand to achieve new levels of insight and deliver a better experience to customers when they interact with your brand.
3. Respond Immediately:
With the advent of the “connected economy”, data analytics, the proliferation of social media and instant messaging tools, the customer today expects a quicker and more informed answer when interacting with a brand. Responses such as “I will get back to you” don’t impress the customer who has many other options available to him. Its imperative that a brand has to therefore leverage its knowledge and data to empower the front line executives more than their C suite. By hardwiring decision-making algorithms into business operations, and putting decision-support tools in the hands of the customer facing field force, a brand can bring higher relevance into their customer experience.
4. Respect the customer’s Rights:
In today’s digital age, where customers are apprehensive of sharing personal data, a brand can create a higher relevance for itself, by providing more value to its customers, when they share personal information. It could be in the form of a more personalized experience, special treatment or even exposure to new products and services that are more meaningful to them.
5. Right the Wrong:
As most brands know, its difficult to deliver a 100% perfect experience all the time, but by repairing customer relationships when things go awry, recognizing when customers face a problem, and using insights to offer something that is relevant to them, your brand can go a long way in building a deeper relationship with them.
Since customers have too many options now, they can switch onto any company or brand they find interesting & worthy of their time. So if you want to be the one they come back to, following this 5 R rule, will help your brand to keep on being relevant to your customers, even as times keep changing.