Your business rests on the foundation of customer goodwill. It’s not a “good-to-have” ornament on display, but a “must-have” framework for business growth. Gone are the days of brainless cost competition and a downward spiraling bottom line. The current market conditions favor resilient business models with firm foundations in sound business practices. It’s the theory of natural selection at play – the survival of the fittest. Companies that adapt to customer needs and market demands will survive and thrive.
Customers are on the hunt for the best experience in their journey. They are willing to pay more. There is a push towards better standards of quality and service in the global markets. To complicate things further, the pace of doing business has sky-rocketed. You can no longer wait for months to implement ideas, weeks to deliver products, and days to resolve customer issues. The ease of market access has put the customer in control. Customer relations are thin threads that get severed with one bad experience.
How can you create and sustain a robust business in such an environment? The best way to do it is by building your business model around the customers, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. The world has gone back to a more personalized business delivery model that handles each customer as a unique person with unique needs and requires customized handling methods. What has caused this drastic shift from a high volume standardized business delivery to a customized customer-oriented delivery model? Money is somewhere in there. But companies have found a few others that are much more attractive than the boost to the bottom line.
Customer interactions offer the opportunity to gain an insight into their psyche and understand their needs. On several occasions, customer interactions have sparked off ideas and innovations that have become attractive business opportunities for a company. Huffington Post states "over 70% of the companies that deliver outstanding customer experience rely on customer feedback".
Lego is a well-known brand. How does Lego tap into the customer psyche? Lego hosts Lego Ideas, an online community for creators to showcase their ideas. An idea that gets 10000 votes is picked for screening and turns into a Lego Ideas set sold worldwide. The customer who suggested the product gets a share in the total sales of the ideas set. DHL is a well-known logistics company. DHL hosts workshops with customers in Germany and Singapore regularly. One innovative outcome of such workshops is the parcelcopter, a drone-based delivery system under testing in Germany. The drone-based delivery cuts delivery time by 75%.
When it comes to customer-led innovations, you have to remember that customers are not savvy business executives. They may also be unclear about what they truly need at times. It is great to have customer ideas onboard, but it is not a substitute for adequate due diligence before putting your money on it. Weeding out the bad ones is crucial. It's also vital that the ideas represent your customers' voices, and are not an outlier. Tapping into customer ideas and psyche is a subtle art, and the companies that manage to pull it off are often the best brands around.
The brand has no expiry date, products do!
A company can no longer grow in the current markets based on one successful product that beats the competition. The reason? Products come with an expiry date determined by the product life cycle. We live in an age of trends, where innovations, advances in technology, and customer needs are rapidly changing. Each company is pushing new ideas into the market that alters the trends. If your business lacks the agility and adaptability to withstand such changes and even use it as an opportunity, then you will soon be out of business.
Companies have understood this problem and stopped betting on the next big product. Instead, businesses are now creating a brand image through fantastic customer experiences and treating their product as a representative of the brand. There are several advantages on thinking in terms of branding over conventional product-based thinking:
● It helps you focus on customer satisfaction that drives business growth
● Longevity of the business as a brand that goes beyond current trends
● Enables adaptability of new ideas and technology simpler
● Makes diversification into new markets and products simpler
So, the next time you sit down with your team to discuss marketing and sales, push the idea of thinking in terms of the brand instead of a particular product or service.
Everybody likes to be heard and understood!
Your customers expect you to hear them out and understand their needs, sometimes better than they do. There are several reasons behind it. Customers run into a problem with your product or service, customers don't understand some features of your product or service, customers expect you to simplify some aspects of your product for them, and so on.
However, a larger and less apparent reason is that the customers are unaware or unclear of their needs. You have to help them discover it. There are several stories where companies launched a product ahead of their competition – something new in the market that caught customers' attention like wildfire. Steve Jobs once said, "People don't know what they need until you show it to them". It's an accurate assessment of the consumer psyche when it comes to new products since they haven't seen or used them.
During your customers' journey, you must help customers discover themselves better. You are the expert of your domain, who knows what they are doing and to guide customers to the right path. Helping customers discover the right product for them is a fantastic way of improving customer loyalty and brand image.
Companies must think beyond products. Brands outlive products. Focus on establishing an immaculate brand image through superb customer experiences and the rest will follow. Customer experience goes a long way in establishing that. Delivering fantastic customer experiences consistently generates customer goodwill and is probably the best business strategy out there.
At Wolken, we have helped our customers do exactly that. Our mission is to enable our clients to deliver excellent customer experiences through IT products that help achieve business goals. Get in touch with our team to explore how we can help your business.