- 6 min read
- March 2016
Evolution towards Customer First Approach
Customer has been an integral part of any business. No business can survive without it. Customer-first approach seems to be an obvious approach in this rapidly changing and digitally connected world. Though this term is not recently coined, an understanding of its implications is vital. To grasp the real essence of the term, I would like to talk about how this approach has been evolved over time and why it holds utmost importance.
You must have heard that “Content is the King”.At the beginning of the internet era, the best way to reach out to your customers was by publishing as much content as you can. Let your customers know more & more about your products, services, and offerings. Then the content was not limited to text, but it got richer in different forms such as images, videos, and other interactive forms. If we talk about the current content-driven trend then such engaging forms are wisely utilized with specific persona-based tailored and informative content. Earlier the approach was to push content in every possible manner to everyone alive in the universe. While now, this seems insane. Today, customers expect you to be smart enough in your approach. They expect you to offer only the content at their preferred time and mode in which they are really interested.
This approach has also evolved and played an important role along with the most used search engine - Google’s algorithm’s continuous evolution. Have you heard this funny saying “The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results”? With time the content started increasing dramatically, and one could no longer trust on content first approach only. Content needed to be more meaningful and properly designed to grab the attention of readers. And to make content easily found on smarter search engines, one needs to fine-tune it with best SEO practices.
Is this true, “Say Goodbye to Your Marketing Plan if You Ignore Mobile?” It might not be a truth a few years back, but today if you just look around then you will find someone using a mobile phone every minute. Today’s mobile phones are not only the calling devices. They are much smarter than that. You can read your favorite articles, take pictures, listen to music, or can handle your complete business using that. A recent Forbes article says e-commerce is growing at a rate of over 16% per year, while mobile grows at over 68%. With such a significant proportion of traffic on mobile, you will have to address how your website or app content will look on mobile. And this traffic proportion is getting so valuable, that even Google has started penalizing websites that are not mobile-optimized.
“UX is like a joke; if you have to explain it, then it’s not that good.” UX First approach gained momentum while mobile devices and mobile solutions became the mainstream channels for businesses to get connected with customers on a deeper level. More handy and feature-rich smartphones, tablets, and recently smart watches and glasses were being launched in the marketplace for which the customer experience first approach has to be implemented. As we all know, UX is all about “how a user feels while interacting with your product”. If you have a product based on a unique concept and offering, without a fluid experience that requires intuitive navigation, properly laid down engaging content, and ease of access, your product is bound to fail. Users will never give a second shot, you will lose your business and ultimately your customer attrition rate will go high. So for UX, you have to cut down all nonsense and get connected with your customers. Try to blend visual design, interactive design, information architecture, and user research to achieve a perfect product.
When all the above-mentioned ‘first’ approaches are used together, it results in an outstanding experience for customers, or CX (customer experience), which can transform relations and help companies deliver better results. If I attempt to summarize CX then it would be “How a person feels about interacting with a brand”. It’s all about any customer interaction with the company that takes place during the complete buying life cycle. Starting from the first point of interaction ( which can be coming to know about your brand via a friend ) to interacting with your various departmental employees, receiving promotional or transactional emails, being part of any campaigns or advertising, or any other online and offline mediums. Achieving good customer experience is not a straight straightforward task. Your customers are using multiple channels to reach you. You need to understand their personas and backgrounds to offer tailored made experiences. You can start recording basic data like your visitor’s IP address, location, browser, operating system, and device, online and offline sources they came from, and various content that they interacted with etc., Based on such findings you can start providing a good personalized experience even when they are in the very early stage of their buying lifecycle. And if you start collecting more meaningful data like their buying preferences, visit history, their interest in a particular product or service, and how many times they visited the same page, then you can deliver exceptional experiences. Gartner predicts “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” Let’s take a quick look at a few other reports.
- 81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. – (Harris Interactive)
- 72% of consumers say that email is their favored mode of communication with companies they do business with. 61% say they like to receive promotional emails weekly and 28% want them even more frequently. – (MarketingSherpa)
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. - (The Annuitas Group)
- Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. - (The Annuitas Group)
So what do you need to do? Knowing how the marketplace has evolved with various approaches, one thing is pretty clear you have to adopt the customer-first approach for not only your customer-facing activities but also for your internal processes. Every employee should know who all are your customers and what is your value proposition. When your people, processes, and promotions put together are focused on one single approach then only you can emerge as a customer-focused brand. To achieve this, you first need to know what customer needs you are currently addressing and then find out what are their actual needs, problems, and demands. Try to narrow down the gap. Build strategies and goals above the collected data. A customer-driven and Data-driven approach is the next big thing that you have to utilize to gain a competitive advantage. To understand your customers better you need to collect real-time customer interaction data; dissect them and analyze them to make smarter and more informed decisions. Start learning from results, validate them after you apply them to strategies, and optimize the decision-making process from learning and validation, as data is going to be a game changer. You can only deliver wow experiences if you have the perfect blend of customer-first approach and data-driven strategies. To learn more about how data can be utilized for providing customized user experiences contact our data scientists team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +1-704-208-4338.