Decisions_nlighten article_May_2019

Consumer power continues to grow. There is a wider choice of goods and services available than there ever has been, and our access to information and ability to compare retailers and organisations is virtually limitless. This gives today’s consumer even more power to vote with their wallets and make demands from the brands they buy from. But consumer power transcends an individual’s own personal purchasing as consumers have the ability to influence other people’s buying behaviour.

Social media, comparison websites, review portals, and countless horizontal and vertical e-marketplaces mean that we deal with an overwhelming array of choice by relying on the opinions and experiences of our fellow consumers. No longer taken in by sales pitches and clever marketing, we want to get straight to the nitty gritty – consumers won’t take your word for it anymore.

A consumer’s journey is now more complex and consumer-driven than ever, with customers now preferring to source their own information about your brand and pull out what they want to know rather than have your marketing pushed on them.

It’s never been more important to be getting right. You just can’t get away with getting it wrong anymore.

So, to ensure you are keeping up with consumers and their ever-increasing power and expectations, here are our top 5 tips for ensuring you are delivering what your customers want, and keep them choosing you time after time.

1. Turn a negative into a positive.

Remember, a complaint is a gift. It’s an opportunity to improve a flaw you didn’t know existed, and it’s also an opportunity to enhance CX. Seriously, handling a complaint or a mishap with aplomb and an efficient, customer-focused attitude is an opportunity to exceed expectations and even turn a negative into a positive. See our previous blog about customer complaints for an example of getting this so right. You don’t need a crystal ball to solve your customer’s problems before they even happen, just a watertight customer complaints procedure and true accountability for customer satisfaction.

2. A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush

So many businesses are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to their growth targets. By hyper-focusing on growing your customer base, getting new business or upselling you are in danger of overlooking retaining your current business. New business only matters if old business isn’t falling off the other end of the conveyor belt as fast as you can bring in the new.

3. Know your customer

Understanding what drives your customer and what motivates them to buy will help you ensure they buy from you. These days for customers it comes down to less “what’s in it for me” and “what’s in it for the world”. People want to know what you stand for and if your values align with theirs. Often, your product or service isn’t the differentiator that clinches a deal – it’s who you are.

4. Invest in your employer brand

There are two main reasons why this should be a priority for your business in 2019. First, your company’s reputation as an employer intersects its reputation among your customers. Second, a strong employer brand can result in increased retention, lowered hiring costs and ensure you are attracting the top available talent. Just as people are researching your business before buying from you, they also research your business before considering working for you. The more satisfied, engaged and talented your workforce the better they are at being ambassadors for your brand and the better the customer experience.

5. Be human

People buy people. In a sea of faceless competitors, a personal touch can be a huge differentiator, particularly when it comes to retention of business. If your customers feel like you are connecting with them and that they are valued, they are more likely to be loyal.

Your reputation rests on more than just PR. It rests on how people perceive you. Reputation rests on what the world says about you, and the recipe for success is actually pretty simple:

Make good products, provide good service, listen to the people who engage with you, do good things, treat people and the planet well, deliver on your promises and make it right quickly and efficiently if you don’t.  Consumers may be more demanding than ever, but when you break it down consumers are simply demanding that businesses care.

nlighten can help you reach your CX potential. Contact us to find out more about how you can strengthen your customer engagement and begin reaping the rewards.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: Debunking 5 Myths Around CX

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Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. |  JHB – 9 October 2019