While a good case can be made for why the old saw “the customer is always right” is at times a debatable proposition, there is no doubt that the more customer-focused a business is, the more success it will enjoy. After all, if not for customers, a business dies.
Fortunately, today’s technology provides many varied means of turning a business into a lean, mean, customer-centric machine. Rather than cling to an old clichÃ© that enables a small portion of the clientele to be jerks and get away with it (and really doesn’t guarantee any noticeable measure of customer loyalty), focus instead on improving communications and relations with customers across the board. Here’s how various technological innovations can help fulfill these ambitious goals.
For some more information and elaboration on the subject of customer-centric resources, check out “Achieving Customer Centricity: Technologies and Practices”.
An Intuitive, Customer-Facing Website
Having a website for your business is a sound idea. Having a website that supports sustained customer interactions and encourages feedback is an even better one. Such a website should be easy to use, and encourages customers to communicate not only with the host business, but with other customers as well. This means integrating various social network tools into the site and again, making them easy to use. An overly complex interface will drive people off, much to the detriment of your company’s sales.
Furthermore, as a nod to the rising prominence of mobile devices and technology, such a website must be easily accessed and interacted with by means of a variety of devices, everything from laptops to tablets to smart phones. Today’s customer is on the go, and websites need to adjust accordingly. Adapt or perish, that’s the way it is today.
Big Data, specifically information generated from customer input, needs to be given structure and put into a form that a business can use to help strengthen relations with the customers and target the right demographics for outreach. By leveraging Big Data, a business can gain insights into which customers are providing the most sales, and which are a drain. That way, the latte can be passively set aside, while efforts such as emails and SMS texts can be brought to bear on the former.
Using analytics in this way results in steering away from the practice of “throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks”, a tactic that serves to annoy and alienate rather than producing any long-term beneficial results.
Social Media Management
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the vast jungle of social media networks. And yet any business that wants to do business in the twenty-first century needs to incorporate social media into their customer relations plan. Social media offers an unprecedented level of fast and meaningful communication between a business and a customer.
Fortunately, there are social media management programs out there that make the task much easier. Customers want to be made to feel like they are valued and that their feedback is actually being heeded and perhaps even acted upon. Nothing delivers this nearly as well (and economically) like social media.
By extracting data on the habits of established customers (remember the aforementioned Business Analytics?), a business can ascertain which social media networks are the most popular amongst its customer base.
This one comes with a warning; as a rule, people are more likely to delete emails from their inbox without even opening them than they are to actually open and read them. Sadly, email is starting to become the electronic equivalent of the annoying junk mail fliers that choked mailboxes while deforesting vast stretches of land for the paper needed.
And yet, companies shouldn’t be too quick to discard email as a marketing tool. If nothing else, email allows a company’s marketing people to create an elaborate message, including eye-catching images, useful links, and other bells and whistles designed to catch the prospective customers’ attention.
This is where a decent email outreach platform comes in handy. The right platform can help simplify the entire email marketing process and facilitate two-way communications with customers. So perhaps there’s still some life in email marketing after all!
Flexible Back-End Architecture
What this simply means is that a business needs to have a means to communicate easily not only with their customers but with a network of partners that can help meet any customer’s demands quickly and completely.
Some Final Thoughts
Not only do customers want to be treated like human beings, they want to know that they are in turn dealing with human beings when they have questions, concerns, complaints, or a special request. It just may constitute irony when you consider that the overarching point being made here is that businesses should use technology in order to bring back and maintain the human touch. After all, in most cases, it seems that technology and the human factor are polar opposites. Perhaps things are coming full circle.
And since we should always keep the classics in mind, why not check out “7 Business Techniques That Never Get Old”?. The ideal business will employ the tried and true old school methods, enhanced by cutting edge tech innovations and current trends.