06 Dec How to Win in the Age of the Customer
Whether you read a lot of articles about marketing today or not, you’re probably aware of a general shift in the way companies talk to the public about their product or service. This shift is described by what many marketers and writers have deemed “the age of the customer.”
It means that while brands still have to educate people to a certain extent, it generally acknowledges that the customer has more power than ever before and possesses the ability to self-educate and make the purchasing decision all on their own. That’s why marketing that focuses too heavily on selling the product in question seems heavy handed and out of date.
If all this “age of the customer” stuff sounds confusing, read on to find out what you can do to truly put your customers first.
Don’t over-explain. If you spend too much time and energy trying to foist your opinions onto your audience, they will tire of it very quickly. They really don’t want to be told why you are great and why your competition isn’t. What they want is to discover that for themselves. And today, there are more than enough digital tools to help them do that. So instead of saying, “we have the best toothpaste in the world,” it would be a lot smarter to point to a review wherein someone says that very thing.
Invest in their experience. Whether your customers do most of their interacting with your company online or in person, you want to do everything you can to make sure they are having one of the best experiences of their day. If it’s on your website, does it have a clean look? Is it easy to navigate? Does it have features that delight, surprise, offer some sort of unexpected information? If it’s brick and mortar, did you make them feel at home? Did they walk out with something more than your product or service?
Be social. Though it’s important to remember that your brand is not a human, it’s equally important for it to be where the humans are. Those places are increasingly the big social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using social media to “give” more than you “ask” by posting interesting, relevant content from around the web is an essential way to become a part of your audience’s daily lives. So if you’re selling workout clothes, you could give away tips for improving my next workout or even a discount on merchandise.
Invest in great customer service. Last but certainly not least, make sure you’re investing in great customer service. After all, everything else is just lip service unless you’re actually there when a real customer needs your help. However you structure your customer service team depends upon what kind (and size) of business you run, but the one thing that needs to be consistent is that customer inquiries are responded to quickly and their problems are getting solved whenever possible.
The age of the customer goes beyond the old adage that the customer is always right, which implies a reactive role on the part of businesses. In fact, businesses must take an active role in putting the customer first. By investing in improving the customer experience and adding value to their lives, they will give them great experiences and keep them coming back for more.