Digitisation has revolutionised the way we consume goods and services, giving birth to a completely new form of customer.
Genesys Australia senior principal and solutions engineer, James Walford, calls them the ‘connected customer’.
“A customer more difficult to define, to find or categorise,” Walford says. “But with the adoption of the correct strategy and approach, this customer is quite simple to retain and makes a significant business impact. Welcome to the world of the connected customer.”
Walford affirms this presents a real opportunity, as connected customers believe meaningful engagement with a company offers long term personal benefits, opening opportunities for businesses who act upon this trend.
So what does this mean for companies trying to find this emerging and profitable segment of the market? Walford has some invaluable advice.
They are mobile, so you should be too
Smartphones have truly become an extension of connected customers – take a walk around any urban environment and see for yourself. With the rapid rise of smartphone use across the globe, Walford affirms that businesses need to get on board too.
“Already, mobile platforms have become an integral part of a business’ communications platform but more must be done,” Walford says. “Mobile should be seen as not simply a means of finding more information but also making purchases, inquiring about orders or warranties, and speaking to a customer service representative.“
Easy access to a vast amount of information and knowledge has essentially put an end to brand loyalty. If a company doesn’t give a discerning customer what they want, they can easily find it elsewhere.
“Speak with them where they want to be spoken to and are more likely to engage with you. Be mobile. Ensure all the features of your business are accessible via an app or mobile site and empower your customer service team to use these methods of communication.”
They want to do more themselves
Walford says connected customers are experienced technology users, and believe they are more than capable of resolving an issue themselves – they can also become frustrated easily when they face a lack of self-automation.
“This means customer service organisations must deliver simple but comprehensive self-service capabilities for users to solve an issue without having to make direct contact with the company,” Walford says.
“This should be accompanied with instant support to video, social and community contact channels as a means of quickly solving the issues once the customer realises they need assistance.”
They know they create data and they want it to work for them
As aforementioned, the connected customer is tech savvy and has a sophisticated understanding of data. Walford says they’re aware that every swipe, Like and online interaction is being monitored, stored and, in their mind, analysed.
“Connected customers would be surprised by a report from IDC research that found as little as 1 per cent of collected consumer data is effectively analysed,” Walford says.
“Businesses have ample access to information but they are not using it. To stay relevant, companies must evolve and develop the ability to maintain and foster one-to-one customer relationships. The use of this data is key to ensuring this happens.”
Act now, not soon
According to Walford, the connected customer is the next profit centre for all customer-facing businesses.
“Now more than ever, knowing how and when to communicate with a customer and ensuring they have a good experience is the defining factor of business success. If your company doesn’t have the means of communicating effectively, it may be the beginning of the end,” Walford concludes.