Customers use a variety of new channels and technologies to improve shopping experiences and enhance lifestyles.
Whether looking for the best prices, seeking recommendations or ultimately completing a purchase, they’re not afraid to switch brands to achieve their goals.
According to a Global Consumer survey we conducted in 2014, 51 percent of U.S. consumers switched service providers within a year.
Switching rates were highest among retailers, cable and satellite providers and retail banks. Businesses in these sectors are the most vulnerable. Counteracting this trend requires quick, bold action.
According to Marketing Metrics, businesses have a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of completing a sale to an existing customer; for a new prospect, it’s only 5 percent to 20 percent.
Traditionally, a business marketing team led the charge in attracting customers and increasing awareness of the brand, products and promotions.
Customer relationship management tools are used where possible to track and connect with customers.
More recently, the expansion of social networking added new channels. Businesses are increasingly using social media to lure customers through dialogue, campaigns and ads.
In some cases, businesses are also using social media profiles to better target customers.
However, these activities only touch the surface of what is possible.
Current engagement strategies focus on the customer “purchase funnel” and typically address the customer outside of the context of a need.
When a business advertises on TV, emails a coupon or tweets an offer, the customer must be persuaded of a few key things:
Associate the business with a future need.
Recall the business when that need arises.
Remember why that business should be chosen over the competition.
Outside research confirms our high-level findings:
Customers want retailers to understand who they are and how they evolve.
Customers continuously seek to reinvent themselves, so they want to be creative and be given the opportunity to explore.
Customers want their concerns to be taken seriously, so they want to be heard and seen. They are “very likely” to abandon an online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to questions, according to Forrester.
Customers’ leisure time is increasingly important, so they do not want to waste it browsing through products. They want to quickly and easily arrive at solutions. The revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score “can translate into more than $1 billion,” according to Forrester.
Above all, customers want to be unique and to experience the world around them uniquely. An Econsultancy/Monetate Realities of Online Personalization report found that 94 percent of businesses “believe that personalization is critical to current and future success.”
Businesses that interact in customer’s everyday activities will have an advantage over competitors by always being at the top of customers’ minds.
The relationship between the business and the customer becomes more personal, and equally beneficial for both parties, because the business grows loyal customers and customers receives services that enhance their experiences.
By staying top-of-mind, the business develops loyal customers who think about the business first and recommend it to others, becoming advocates or even evangelists of the brand.
These advocates—together with the services the business enables (contextualized product discovery, integrated social support and intelligent lifelong services)—will be key to attracting and retaining new customers.
Customer engagement interactions should evolve beyond connecting channels to connecting to the lives of customers.
The seamless lifestyle experience strategy (identify > design > integrate > enable) will help businesses harness the appropriate data and develop analytics that will help them get to know their customers as unique individuals.
We call this the digital customer genome: what every business should know about its customers, based on traditional and nontraditional sources of data.