Making human connections in a digital world.
January 2022 - By Anwar Sultan, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer at Ello
Over the last 2 years, businesses across the country have had to diversify their offering and undergo rapid digital transformation to stay afloat. This has undoubtably impacted customer interaction with brands; from a lack of face-to-face interaction to an accelerated rise in customers using social media to connect with brands, the connection between businesses and their customers has never been so fragile.
Here, we explore what brands can do to ensure they’re effectively connecting with their existing and prospective customers in an increasingly digital world.
Utilising technology to create a better customer experience.
Technology is a marketeer’s best friend. With the rise in online, whether it be online shopping, booking a type of service or streaming films and TV, businesses have never had quite as much customer data at their fingertips as they do today. By analysing the data they do have access to, brands can develop bespoke, personalised marketing strategies which help the customer feel seen and valued.
Humanising the customer relationship through data-led personalisation will naturally not only lead to better all-round interactions, but also increased levels of trust and ultimately long term customer retention.
Even though there are huge benefits to utilising customer data around buying habits, many businesses still aren’t using this data to influence their marketing strategy, resulting in them missing out on huge opportunities to create bespoke experiences for their customers.
However, it’s important to remember that data and technology shouldn’t be used for the sake of it. Instead, marketeers should be utilising technology for two key reasons; to improve the overall customer experience to create something more meaningful or to provide a solution to a genuine problem.
Keeping an element of the human touch.
Three in five customers say that bad interactions with a brand impacts their loyalty and often leads to them cutting ties, so it’s really important for businesses to ensure they’re not losing the human element of customer service when they introduce new technology.
Yes, there are many ways technology can be used by businesses to streamline the customer service process. But, there’s a fine line and too much technology can often lead to customers going elsewhere as human interaction is a huge part of the customer experience.
Luckily, if brands are savvy about the technology they invest in, an increase in tech doesn’t necessarily have to mean less human interaction. Instead, they can work hand in hand, with technology often strengthening the human element of a brand/customer relationship by enhancing the overall customer experience.
Effectively connecting with customers.
It may sound cliché, but there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes connecting with customers.
Every business has a different pool of customers so, no matter how big or small the business is, marketeers should be taking the time to analyse data and truly understand what their customers want. Taking a step back and really uncovering customer buying drivers will help businesses implement an effective customer engagement strategy that will result in increased retention, sales, revenue and above all, happier customers.
It goes without saying that fostering a strong relationship with customers can often be challenging – especially for bigger businesses – but there are simple changes that can be made to make customers feel valued.
From small things, like admitting when mistakes have been made during the customer journey, to the bigger things like utilising data to give customers a personalised experience, businesses of all sizes can make small changes to ensure they’re effectively connecting with their customers.
As I say, no two brands are the same, so a data-first approach will really help businesses connect effectively with their customers. By gradually building up a profile on each customer segment, businesses can adapt their marketing and customer engagement strategies.
Once you’ve built up this data, try offering things that have intrinsic value to your customer, less often – heavily personalised but less-frequent rewards often end up costing far less than regular, irrelevant rewards.
To summarise, without a customer you don’t have a business so make sure you’re taking in to consideration what the customer really wants and why. This is where data analysis plays a huge part – you can use your data to create customer-centric strategies which will ultimately increase business profitability and success.