It’s no secret that brands have more choices than ever when it comes to seeking the attention of customers. And it’s equally evident that brands are using every one of these options in their quest to both initiate and deepen customer relationships. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear as to whether these efforts are having the desired impact. Do they add value or annoy? Do they break through or get lost in the noise? Do they have meaning or detract from the experience?
We all want to establish strong bonds with our customers. Personally, it’s something that I think about all the time when it comes to our business and our clients. We want to be known for hearing what customers say, understanding them, recognizing what they want, relating to their lives, and supporting them in ways that make them feel good. But just being present, connecting by whatever means is available, isn’t necessarily the key to achieving these things or getting our point across.
So what can we do to better understand our customers, to put their needs and interests at the heart of our plans? Because that’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Making sure we are customer-centric in how we relate to and engage with the people who drive our business success.
What can we do to better understand our customers, to put their needs and interests at the heart of our plans?”
The good news is, there are ample ways to understand how customers want to connect with your brand and what they expect from these connections. The key, however, is building these ideas into your plans before you set out to create customer outreach and communications efforts. You can’t create meaningful touch points and experiences with your customers if you don’t first let them lead you down the path to defining what really matters.
With that in mind, here are ways you can build the customer perspective into your plans as you seek to make powerful, impactful connections:
1. Live life through their eyes.
It’s easier to do this than ever before. With clients in the personal care space we routinely have them video their routines, their purchase experience, and their product arrays. We ask them to capture photos of outcomes or ideal scenarios they are striving for. Opportunities to follow along with people from their vantage point are ample. Use them to understand how to really make connections that are meaningful.
2. Immerse yourself in their environment.
Voice-activated technology allows us access into the homes and lives of people like no other tool previously has. Conducting conversations with consumers through this technology has allowed several of our clients (from those in the utilities space to those in oral care) to get a more natural, unvarnished perspective on what matters to their customers.
3. Co-create an outreach strategy.
How often have you and your teams sat down in small groups with customers and worked along side them to vet your ideas and refine your plans? It’s easy to do this and highly effective. The teams love it, the customers love it. We’ve seen these types of “learning connect” workshops prove effective for developing messaging, positioning, communications, and customer experience strategies in industries from healthcare to packaged foods.
4. Maintain an ongoing dialogue throughout the experience.
Mobile diaries are not exactly new, but they aren’t as well utilized as they could be when it comes to optimizing the customer experience. If you want to really know how customers are reacting to your different ways of connecting with them, and identify opportunities to improve these connections, then following along with people for a period of time needs to be part of your approach. We see it pay enormous dividends in categories where the relationship is long term and ongoing, like auto, appliances, financial services, etc.
Within these four areas are myriad approaches and solutions for capturing insights, beyond those I’ve called out above, that will allow you to craft a relevant, impactful touchpoint strategy for your customers.
The important thing is that you spend time seeing the world through the customer’s eyes, getting that viewpoint early on before you allocate time and resources into your contact plan, and then assessing the reaction ongoing to pivot and evolve as needed. Want to talk further about getting closer to your customer with these approaches?