Some think 2012 is the year of destruction, but maybe the Mayans only meant that the old way of doing business would be over. In this new era, the Age of the Customer, businesses must master customer engagement in an ever more digital world.
Local businesses continue to grapple with the challenges of the continuously connected consumer. The shift to online channels has accelerated, driven by the adoption of mobile computing and the rise of social media. To remain competitive, businesses must move well beyond online advertising and recognize how to deliver exceptional experience with digital touchpoints throughout the lifecycle. Successful companies will be those that place Digital Experience Management (DXM) at the center of their strategic plans.
The Age of the Customer is forcing companies to revise their approaches to marketing andservice, and the impact to the marketplace is profound. Exceptional customer experience, which has traditionally been credited for driving loyalty and client retention, has become the hottest factor in marketing strategy. Why? Because connected customers drive brand awareness through online advocacy. These previously innocuous whispers have taken on new power: profiles for local businesses are increasingly associated with customer reviews and ratings, and these citations are critically important for effective digital presence.
So if you’re thinking about strategies for out-competing, maybe it’s time to comprehensively reexamine how your business connects with new prospects and services existing customers. Are you communicating where, how, and when they need to find you? Are you getting the right message across, based on their current needs? Do your touchpoints have the wow-factor? Are you getting the kind of new customers you want, and do those customers like you enough to evangelize? Are you monitoring your progress and optimizing for continued success?
Most likely prospects and customers are already interacting with your business through many different channels, both offline and online and throughout the lifecycle. Delivering exceptional customer service means understanding their full journey, recognizing needs ahead of time and, as often as possible, personalizing service. To connect with customers effectively and cultivate their advocacy, you will need to plan, organize, and execute a complete digital experience strategy.
The work to enable customer experience management can be substantial, but once committed you will find that reaching your objectives requires an ordered approach. The right early efforts will pay off on their own and give you a framework for success. Nowhere is this truer than on the digital front. Establishing a plan for DXM and improving online interactions with prospects and customers should be the highest priority for most companies today.
Plan with a roadmap, but execute with a GPS. While plans are great to align organizations and allocate resources, effective execution requires continual adaptation and refinement. Just as roadmaps are only as good as the information available when they are drawn and printed, planning cycles cannot foresee every challenge or opportunity.
While 2012 probably won’t end in the cataclysm, 2012 marks a new, digital world. Today, business is booming online. Americans are using online channels to conduct their daily lives, from finding what they need to managing personal and professional relationships. Successful businesses will recognize this accelerating shift to online and prioritize their strategic objectives by focusing on digital channels and improving the customer experience to drive advocacy.
R. Aaron Warnock Ph.D is Chief Scientist at G5, actively collaborating on R&D and Strategy, Aaron has been part of numerous high tech and biotech ventures, focused on strategic product development and digital marketing. Aaron’s fascination with behavioral analysis originates from his previous career in bio-medical research.
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