Technology is everywhere now. We cannot escape it! And even if you’re not thinking of starting a tech business, technology is still the vital component of connecting in a human and digital sense. But these days, we can severely neglect the most important relationship within our business, that is, the relationship with the customer. Due to various marketing tactics, and the ability to hide behind a digital shield, we can run the risk of alienating our customers somewhat. But instead, perhaps we need to use technology more to build a bridge with our customers. Are there any great ways to do this?
It’s all about the user interface. Your website, your communication, and even your tone of voice over the phone or in-person are all tools to improve in terms of your interactive capacity. You interact with the customer in the wrong way, and you could put them off for life. This means, on a very basic level, but everything that we present has to be basic, easy-to-use, and without fuss. But now, there are so many different website tools working towards the pinnacle of interactivity.
Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are two things that are changing constantly to improve the user experience. Virtual Reality is one of those interesting things that has been around longer than you think. The article What is Virtual Reality? shows an interesting history of this throughout the last few decades. And when we think about VR as some sort of alien concept, this is where we can fall down in terms of interacting with customers. We have to use these tools, not as a smokescreen, but as a way to improve our services and in how we can reach out to customers.
Communicating In A Subtle Way
One of the greatest tools in modern business are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. CRM is invaluable now. Because it gives you information on demographics, buyer habits, but also, is a way for you to drip-feed information to your customers via email, or their preferred choice of communication. It is a great way to have this database of information on a customer, but also so providing you with those touchstones to keep on top of their needs. Building that bridge with a customer is simpler thanks to CRM systems. By gathering the right data, this helps you to craft a unique customer journey.
The way it used to be, you would blanket market to a certain demographic. Now, you can delve deeper into certain buyer habits, not just by demographics, but by the individual. You can find, via a single visit to the website, using the appropriate metrics and analytics tools, their age range, what they’ve looked for on your site, but also, the time of day they came to your site. Gathering this data over a long period of time gives you a customer profile that’s fully-formed, so you are able to provide a deal that suits them. The big mistake we can make is to send a general deal out, like buy one get one free, in the hope that someone will pick it up. Marketing is tailored to the individual now, and CRM systems can turn basic information into a multi-colored picture of a customer.
Going Beyond Social Media
As amazing as social media is, it can be a double-edged sword. Because social media is a perfect way for you to market directly to a customer, you can run the risk of angering them, especially if you haven’t treated them in a manner to which they are accustomed. The big problem with social media is that it’s so easy for us to be named and shamed now. With this in mind, we’ve got to find a way to communicate with the customer that is giving them all the power.
A smartphone app is a smart idea. Being with your customers in this respect is about improving that user experience down to the minutest detail. Every business seems to have an app these days, but it’s about having the right approach to help your customers use your services with ease. It all depends on the business you have. You can give them the power, by letting them paying for items through your app, but also, provide loyalty cards or specific perks for those that do download the app. This is common practice, but the reason it works is that we all use apps now.
Striving For Beyond The Norm
While it’s so easy for us to go online, we can take inspiration from other companies out there that have mixed the digital with the reality. Yes, Virtual Reality technology is fast becoming the norm, but for those businesses that don’t have the budget, there are still ways around this, such as interactive products. A good example is Heineken, when they created their Ignite campaign. They had interactive beer bottles fitted with LEDs and motion sensors so when a customer moved the bottle, this triggered a small light show.
If you want to become more personal with a customer, taking advantage of face recognition technology can help you to personalize advertisements easily. Don’t forget augmented reality, which has been used in interior design and fashion so customers can “virtual plan” their dress scheme or an item of furniture in a room. By using apps, not just for perks, but actually by encouraging customers to interact on a more visceral level, this makes it more exciting, and infinitely more memorable. It’s a big market now, and for the small businesses looking to make a splash, this has to be the way forward.
Never Underestimate The Human Contact Aspect
When using apps, services through Messenger, or just going on a website, it always needs to be an option to speak to a real human being. It’s easy for us to provide an abundance of services through a snazzy website, but if it’s not clear, and easy to use for the customer at that time, they may very well want to speak to us in some way. Online chats are very common now, but if you want to go and step further and initiate video call function on your website this will work to build better human contact between customer and representative. The big mistake we can make on the business side is having an abundance of call center staff who clearly are not listening to the customer. By having a video call function, the employee has to be on the ball.
This can do a lot, not just to solve the problem, but to increase interactivity, and make the customers’ experience shopping with you a better one. Sometimes, speaking to a person makes all the difference. And without having all of the spiel associated with customer service in-person, such as the hard or soft sell, by utilizing video call functions, this will go one step beyond social media interactivity and a nice snazzy website. It will actually help the customer get to the root of their problem, and provide a face to a company that was once faceless. This will go a long way to separate you from small e-commerce companies that don’t reply to their emails!
Serving the customer is priority number one. We can hide behind our screens, and not necessarily help the customer get to the root of the problem or fulfill their emotional needs. Whether it’s marketing, developing a long-term relationship with the customer, or just solving a simple problem, technology can be used to solve so many of our customer woes.