At a time when it’s never been easier to reach out to consumers with information, it has conversely become harder than ever to engage them. Today’s consumer is well informed, technically savvy and extremely experienced when it comes to shopping in traditional and virtual channels. Constantly connected, he is sophisticated and has high expectations around service, value, offers and choice. The power has definitely shifted into his hands and it’s now up to companies to deliver superior customer experience to meet the rising expectations at each and every touchpoint.
It is not that companies do not want to engage better but they constantly struggle to understand what their customers really want. They devise complex algorithms and predictive modelling techniques to churn tones of customer data for insights but most of them fail to make an impact.
So, we are back to the million dollar question – What does a customer really want? Here is a simple checklist of what “I” as a customer expect from retailers-
Recognize and remember me– Its simple – I know your brand and what you promise to offer but do you know me? If I have interacted with you earlier, why do I need to provide the same information time and again. I don’t want to be asked about my account number five times by five different people in a bank! Try to reduce the frustration and make it easier for me to reach out.
Anticipate my preferences and take action- Don’t treat me like another data point on your sheet. Take time to understand my preferences and anticipate what I would like or not like. Help me in my buying journey be it in-store or online. Empower your sales staff to treat me well. Be personal: Surprise and delight me with offers meant just for me!
Communicate with me consistently through all the devices and methods I use- Know my preferred communication channel and take my permission to follow me without being creepy! Don’t confuse me. Make sure all your communications are pleasant and easy to comprehend. Share relevant content that conveys value for me without going overboard.
Use what you learn about me to help me with all my needs- Pick up signals that I leave while I am in store or online. Whether it’s in your merchandising, staff friendliness & knowledge or in store promotions, you need to offer me something that will force me to keep coming back. Enrich your understanding of my present and future needs and find out new ways to engage with me.
Be there when I need you, in real time– I live in the “now” and expect immediate results. I don’t want to spend my time rummaging through your various channels to register my concerns. Take action on what bothers me and intervene instantly when it actually matters.
Is all of this that difficult? Not really. Thanks to advances in information technology, data gathering techniques and analytics. Using increasingly granular data, from detailed demographics and psychographics to consumers’ clickstreams on the web, businesses have everything they need to know about customers. The only thing to do is to make the insights actionable and use it intelligently to get the best returns.
Customers know what they want. Are you listening??
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