In this digitally enabled world, the expectations of customers have reached a new normal.

Customers are continuously and very easily exposed to superior online tools, apps and solutions. The bar has been raised and the competition is only a click away. There is no room for inconsistencies and no option to drop the ball in any interaction or transaction with your customers.

As a new age business, your aim would be to deliver a consistent, high quality experience to your customers at all touch points along the life cycle.

Businesses grow with superior 360-degree customer experiences.

The Shift

Even brick and mortar companies, malls, and stores are all augmenting their physical presence with an online store to keep customers loyal to their brand. While the customer may love their brand, they are also demanding a superior online experience to speed up transactions, reduce effort and get a wider choice of goods from the same brand. You can see this happening all around you e.g. Shoppers stop, Croma, @Home, and many more such stores are now boasting of a superior shopping experience via their online stores.

A recent study shows that 70% of all people research businesses and products online before they contact the business.

“Successful brands see customer experience and customer service as drivers of business growth and innovation. Brands such as Uber, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, Everlane, and Deliveroo are disruptive and innovative because they’re fanatical about customer engagement and providing experience that customers don’t expect. The reason they do this is to get repeat business from the same people and acquire new customers at a lower cost.”

– Mikkel Svane, CEO and Co-Founder of Zendesk

How does a digital presence benefit you & your customer?

  • “near me”

One of the most popular searches on the mobile phones is the search for specific places “near me“. Data also suggests that more than 50% “near me” searches result in a visit to the store. For you to appear on top in these “near me” searches on mobile devices, you would need a very strong and active online presence.

  • Consistent CX for all

A survey by Salesforce suggests that 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage and 87% of consumers think brands need to do more to provide a seamless experience. This large number is an indicator in the shift in expectations by the modern customer. While your traditional business may be doing an exemplary job of customer service through the entire life cycle, if you need to depend mostly on people and processes, you do run the risk of encountering inconsistencies in the CX.

Satisfied customers are 60% more likely to recommend or promote a brand (new and repeat business)
Detractors are 70% more likely to tell people about their negative experience, typically via social media or review sites (no repeat business and tougher acquisition)

Tech enabling your business flows and transactions based on robust cloud platforms and digitally enabled solutions can build scale, accuracy, consistency and measurement into your marketing operations. You can leverage engaging online and mobile applications to develop deeper, longer term connections with customers and help you deliver value over the entire life cycle.

  • Use Tech to understand the customer and rapidly improve the CX

A broken CX can drop a customer rapidly – a better alternative is just around the corner.

Did you know that RETAINING a customer is more profitable than acquiring a new one?

In this digital world, since you don’t have the luxury to talk to customers, collecting and storing data to map your customer’s behaviour is the only way to understand “Why” your customers are doing what they are doing.

Each answer to a “why” can show you insights like – the website navigation broken, the sign-up flow is too convoluted, the price is just right or not right, etc which can help you then refine these touch points and improve the CX.

Understanding your customer also means that your interactions, offers, communication with the customer can all be personalised (improving the chance of the customer taking notice of your message amongst the mass of messages received daily)

  • Improved communication with customers

From multi-level document structures allowing a knowledge drill down, to blogs, to chatbots and FAQs, each element is designed to make it easy for the customer to access information quickly and accurately, providing relief to sales and customer service teams from simple inquiries that typically clog up support phone lines and live chat and improving customer productivity.

  • A central view to get all departments to buy into improving the CX

Many organizations  are (and so should you)  deploying tools and solutions that offer them a unified, central, single view of the customer across channels and touchpoints to see everything they need to know about their CX performance in one place and track trends over time.

This central view, available to all stakeholders in the organisation, helps each department chalk out their initiatives to improve the CX.

In a way, this also helps each department get accountable for their role in the CX.

So how do you develop a good online presence?

  • Start with Web Presence

It all starts with a presence on digital channels. Data suggests that around 20% businesses still rely on traditional marketing methods (flyers, print ads, hoardings, events and more) and these business lack presence on digital channels such as website, social media, apps, etc.

A survey of our own brick and mortar customers suggest that there are two main reasons why these companies lack an online presence,
one – they don’t have much of an idea on how to go about getting themselves on digital channels and
two – they don’t feel the need (complacency) to expand their business reach or scale up (which will happen as a natural outcome of going digital)

  • Social Media

Create your brand pages, and post regularly on these pages to keep your followers informed of new offers, new updates, new insights, and share useful tips and tricks to add value to your followers. This slowly, surely and subtly builds your brand presence and enhances brand recall.

  • Content marketing

Content marketing is a rhythmic effort that involves the creation and sharing of media and published content in order to acquire and inform customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including blogs, news, video, white papers, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q&A articles, photos, and more.

Content marketing is focused on establishing yourself as a thought leader in your space. The goal is to inspire businesses and buyers to be loyal by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information making you the trusted resource for those needs.

  • Automate frequently repeated flows to put them on autopilot

Go bottleneck to bottleneck and automate your workflows to improve efficiencies, reduce friction, achieve 100% accuracy and free up your staff for the next level of operations or design.

Some examples of where this can provide instant benefits:

  • Chatbots can support your customers to help themselves, rapidly and guide them towards a decision without wasting time waiting for you to respond.
  • Frequent operations like checking balance, renewing, reordering, etc. can all be done via an SMS interface or a mobile app, which not just empowers the customer but reduces your workload, helping you contain costs.
  • Customer onboarding flows can be digitised reducing staffing needs and improving response to customers.

  • Automate your way around the full lifecycle

As you blast bottlenecks, you will find space and resources to go deeper with automation until you cover all touch points along the full life cycle. This is where your business will reach a fly wheel effect and will be moving on its own, acquiring customers, growing and scaling with zero or minimal effect.

Your business will thrive.

  • Data collection for analytics and insights 

In the traditional world, customer behaviour was analysed using paper surveys, physical interactions, on site observations, and more. This won’t work anymore. Most customers are now not moving anywhere to engage with a business.

Since all their interactions are online, your analytic methods also must shift online.

By collecting data about your customer’s behaviour, choices, preferences, actions, using digital eyes and ears, you start understanding your customers and can predict their behaviour (positive or negative), putting you in a position to provide them proactive service and also feeding back to your business operations to help you get ready and take any preventive or proactive action if required.

To put these new recommendations and practices to use, most organisations will need to spend time and resources building new digital systems.

Contact us at Embudo to help your power your marketing efforts using Technology.

Embudo Tech is an agile, new age marketing technology integration company, blending long years of deep branding and marketing experience with integration of cutting-edge web and mobile technologies to help your business consistently Attract new visitors, Engage them meaningfully, Nurture them through their life cycle, Convert them to paying customers and Retain them by continually exceeding their rising expectations.

About the Author: Yadu Kulkarni is the head of sales at Embudo Tech, a marketing technology agency that specializes in helping businesses leverage technology to grow their online presence.