Using Content To Meet Customer Expectations
Customer expectations have changed.
Whether your customers are individual consumers or businesses, the digital landscape has had a dramatic impact on how business is done.
Consumers have access to more information than ever before. They can find all of their options and make comparisons at the touch of a button.
Of course it has always been important to prioritize your customer. When did you first hear the phrase, “The customer is always right.”?
But does your company actually put your customers first? Businesses that are thriving in the current marketplace aren’t just focused on their customers, they are obsessed!
Customer Obsession is an operating philosophy that isn’t just about having a catchy marketing message or friendly customer service reps. It flows through every area of your business.
As a member of the Customer Obsession Team, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. At our events, businesses face the new level of expectations that are part of the current reality.
Let’s look at how customer expectations are driving this change and how you can begin to adapt.
These days, your customers don’t just care about what you sell. They care about what you stand for.
“What a company can own…is a personality. It goes beyond logic. It’s an emotional attachment, and that’s an asset that cannot be stolen by any competitor.” – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce
Customers want to have a relationship with the companies they do business with. What does that mean?
They are asking questions like…
- Do your values align with mine?
- How are you making the world a better place?
- Are you passionate about what you do?
Does your company have a compelling story and personality that builds connection and loyalty?
Communicating your brand story and personality online is one of the roles of your content. Building relationships is what content is all about, and embodying your company’s mission is part of how that works. It has to jump off the screen on your website and flow through your e-mails.
But most of all, it has to be TRUE. You can’t make up a brand personality that sounds good if it doesn’t represent the actual experience customers have when they walk through your doors or interact with your people.
Which brings me to the next customer expectation.
Customers are on the lookout, not just for great products and services, but for a great experience.
“[They are] switching from brand to brand to find anexperience that matches their expectations.” – Salesforce, State of the Connected Consumer Report
Many people associate “customer experience” with the digital space or online experience. Others think it is about customer service. The truth is that the customer experience is about every interaction someone has with your company, from beginning to end.
If your customer service person says something different from your marketing people, customers are not okay with that. If your space and your service don’t match the experience someone had on your website, you will lose their trust.
We expect a seamless experience, whether we are on your website, talking on the phone, standing at your counter, buying a product, or asking a question. Any glitches in the system, and they will look elsewhere.
Here’s the thing… the majority of your customer experience happens online, whether you like it or not. Customers turn to their device first. It’s where they start when they have a question. It’s how they hear from us most of the time. Their Inbox or notifications are where much of our communications happen.
CONTENT is the core of your online customer experience.
Look at the experience people have with your business online. If it doesn’t match their expectations, they will move on… fast!
Remember the days when you ordered something out of a catalog, and it took 2-3 weeks to arrive? In the B2B space it’s not uncommon to see delivery timeframes of 8-12 weeks or more.
In the age of Amazon, we have grown accustomed to 2-day shipping. I can click a button (or talk to my device) and my item arrives on my doorstep in 48 hours.
If I have an issue, I don’t want to wait for you to get back to me. I want to talk to someone now, or at least chat with someone through my keyboard. I expect to be able to get help at any hour of the day or night.
“…people [now believe] that they can have what they want, when, where, and how they want it.” – Forrester, Leadership In the Age of the Customer, 2016
The pace of business and communications has gotten faster, and companies are struggling to keep up.
Stop doing business in reaction mode, where you are always trying to keep up with communications, orders, and requests. Content can help you get ahead of the customer.
Communicate with them regularly, put out content and provide value for them to react to.Offer opportunities to engage with your business regularly through online channels. Automate your follow up, onboarding, or other processes to ensure timeliness and higher quality.
Content can help you keep up with the pace of your customers.
Want to explore how content can help your company meet customer expectations?
Check out the resources on our website, and schedule a time to talk about creating a content strategy to help move your business into the “Age of the Customer.”