Digitization will fundamentally change the relationship between customers and businesses. Especially in the discussion: Customer Centering – User Centricity. It not only influences the service and product design, but also increasingly the communication. This development is increasingly increasing – driven by social media and the growing importance of the smartphone.
Customers now have the opportunity, more than ever, to interact directly with brands and companies from anywhere in the world. This leads to a rethinking of communication experts who develop tactics to enter into dialogue with this “empowered customer”.
But despite the already proven methods of user centering, many marketers still lack the necessary know-how to implement useful strategies for the fast-paced digital world.
Also interesting: artificial intelligence in customer communication
Challenge: customer sovereignty
Now digitization and related developments in consumers’ communication and buying habits are not new topics. Nevertheless, many companies are not yet prepared for the new customer sovereignty and the changed user requirements.
Internal processes and product development cycles are usually too tedious and silo-bound to be effective. An example: Company X runs a Facebook service page, which addresses customers’ concerns almost in real time – it is hardly possible to be more customer-centric.
But as soon as a concrete request to customer service, the customer moves with his need back to the periphery. Other responsibilities, a different style of communication, long waiting times, and unmotivated call center employees are dragging the process to the limit and quickly stifling any idea of customer centricity.
Omni-Channel – but right
The blanket demand for seamless customer journeys and the tearing down of departmental and mental silos within the organizational structures of companies are simply not enough. A consistent omnichannel communication strategy must be established that takes into account all communication channels.
But the more platforms are in use, the higher the effort. The point is: Marketing managers should analyze exactly where they can reach enough customers. Only then can they decide what they can offer in communication. Always in relation to your own company goals.
The basis of such a seamless customer journey across multiple channels is meaningful customer data. Internally, however, companies tend to struggle for sovereign rights because information from one particular department is not available to every other business unit.
Even the simplest data on location and buying behavior are usually not linked across the company. In addition, it already fails because the necessary internal know-how is not available to decide which data is relevant, how to interpret it and what conclusions for daily work can be derived from it. Knowledge, which is absolutely necessary in order to be able to work customer centric.
Many brand owners have lost sight of end consumers
Communication managers who are guided by the following four tips on the areas of data, trends and processes, will soon be able to show initial successes:
- Change of perspective using data
- Start by the user
- Check the proven continuously
- Observe and recognize trends
Many brand and product managers have lost sight of end consumers. They should not hide behind a handful of demographic target group data, but get to know the variety of milieus, needs, behavior and motivations in their target group.
Using a data-based and qualitative target group analysis in addition to the classic market research, they can thus better see and understand the people in the target group.
Marketers should always develop customer journeys across all their channels. It is important to put yourself in the customer’s preferences, desires and needs. However, one should not lose sight of reality – there are no ideal customer journeys, only feasible ones.
In the past, ways and processes have often established themselves in the company that are not questioned. Marketers should therefore explore where there is room for new opportunities without having to turn the whole company upside down.
Strong marketing for strong brands
Digitalization should bring growth, but not just for the big players. The middle class also uses this opportunity for itself. Only how, is the question. For example, how does Sport Schuster act in terms of marketing? The LEAD Bookazine 3/2018 shows how small and medium-sized businesses shape marketing in the digital age. Customer needs and own values - that’s why it should work.
Companies that commit to user centricity can only win
A trend is only interesting if not everyone is already talking about it. When companies link innovations to trends that are already considered mainstream, they’re probably already too late.
It is important to identify trends at an early stage, to classify the relevance for your own industry and to recognize when a trend has the potential to derive a business case from it.
Companies that seriously commit to user centricity can only win. They not only achieve a much closer proximity to their customers, but also a form of risk minimization in the digital transformation process.
For those who make decisions based on facts and circumstantial evidence minimize the danger of communicating and producing past the customer – a real competitive advantage in times of increasing digitization.
Also interesting: DSGVO warnings: Thus, fraudsters try to make money with the uncertainty
About the author: Katja Kießler-Funken works as managing director at the digital agency cyperfection.
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