This week’s Success Monday comes to us from the founder of Combat to Corporate.com, a business consulting firm that applies military principles to the corporate world. Chad Storlie is a retired Green Beret with more than 20 years of service to his country.
In this column he addresses the benefits of using technology to successfully engage your customers and boost your own bottom line.
“How can a business be more customer friendly, more in touch with customers, and more focused on prompt solutions to each unique customer in a cost-effective manner? Digital interaction with customers via web, mobile, social media and text is the only manner for a company to have personalized, prompt, and value-rich engagements at scale. Digital interactions can be a gold mine or become a literal trap if they are not executed with the specific needs and preferences of the customer in mind.
The Seven P’s of customer-focused digital interactions provide a workable, scalable, and useful framework to make digital interactions work the best for any business and customer segment.
Provide. The driver of customer-focused digital transformations is to supply new, constantly-refreshed, and high-value information to customers. The overarching purpose of customer-focused digital interactions is to provide customers with information, solutions, and insight about how they can make their lives, roles and businesses better. Digital interactions must focus on how to create a customer experience that is personalized, prompt, simple, information-rich, and, most importantly, one that helps a customer understand and solve their pressing need. Business leaders need to be guided by what your business can do proactively for the customer, not only what your customer can buy from you.
Pageviews. Understanding individual customer digital activity is critical to developing customer preferences and digital engagement strategies. Pageviews need to be categorized and understood to create different customer themes to identify customer need areas involving improved product information, improved customer service channels, or different products to satisfy an emerging customer need. Your customers are describing their interests and needs through their pageviews. Use their activity to dynamically tailor the company’s response back to them.
Preferences. Customers can be asked directly and indirectly how often and in what manner they wish to have a digital interaction. Digital interactions can be web reminders, direct email, white papers, text messages, chatbot contacts or some combination of all digital methods. The critical element of customer digital interaction preferences is to digitally interact with the customer in a manner that they want the interaction to follow. Too few interactions and you lose the customer’s interest. Too many unwanted interactions and you lose the customers goodwill.
Profile. Understanding pageviews, preferences and supplying unique customer value allows customer profiles to be developed that guide a personalized customer digital interaction. Profiles or digital customer segmentation categories, can help classify sales leads, provide customers ways to use their existing products better, or help self-resolve customer service issues. Customer digital profiles need to be precise and simple to deliver information on the expressed customer need that makes the company message valuable to the customer at the time the customer requires.
Push. Customers should not have to seek out their relevant information on the company website. As much as possible, digital interactions need to be “push”-delivered in a way that meets the most pressing customer needs presented in their digital profile. A push can be a social media message, a text, and email, or a personalized website for each customer. Push interactions are vital because they create a personalized digital interaction based on unique customer needs personalized for customer preferences. Furthermore, personalized messages create customer loyalty and brand preference because a customer who receives a personalized push message believes the company is truly listening to their needs through a prompt interaction.
Pricing. Hidden, unclear, or missing pricing information is an enormous source of customer pain during the information-seeking part of the customer purchase process. Pricing information needs to be provided to the customer directly, so they have all the relevant information to make a purchase decision. Pushing price information to the customer as part of their digital interaction profile helps a customer make a purchase decision as well as reduce the timeline of the purchase process for the company. Price information is a vital need in the customer purchase process. Ensure that digital interactions supply clear pricing and ordering information.
Polite. Politeness is the forgotten element of customer digital interactions. At their worst, digital interactions can be misleading, ill-timed, impersonalized, too frequent, lacking information, and confusing. Digital interaction that focus on digital politeness deliver well-timed, clear, simple, personalized, and unique messages to customers on the platform that the customer prefers for digital interaction that specifically addresses their understood need.
The purpose of digital interactions is for the company to uniquely understand customer needs and to constantly and dynamically tailor digital interactions that supply information to customers to solve those needs. Digital interactions that are polite, personalized, pushed, and provide high value information to customers are those that win the business and build long term customer loyalty.”
–Chad Storlie is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Flagler College. He is a mid-level B2B marketing executive and a widely published author on leadership, business, military and technology topics, as well as the founder of Combat to Corporate.com. He is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer (Green Beret) with 20-plus years of military experience, including combat in Iraq. His focus is helping businesses grow by applying many of the principles and practices he learned in the military.