"To the customer, you are the company," reads the title of an article on Shep Hyken's website. In many ways, this statement rings true. What better way to stand out from the competition than making a connection with the customers?
As cliche as it sounds, what really makes a successful business is not the cost of the product or service. It is not the marketing or advertising budget or even the gross margin. What truly sets a company apart from its competition is how well its target customers receive its products or services.
On that note, lend me the leverage to quote the father of management thinking, Peter Drucker — "Quality in a service or product is not what you put into in. It is what the customer gets out of it."
It is worth noting, however, that the relationship between a company and its customer is not always as clear-cut or straightforward as the aforementioned quote suggests.
For example, while a customer may demand certain specifications or performance levels from a product, it is naïve to assume that those are the features that will explicitly catch their eye. Most of the time, it is an emotional connection with the product or service that delivers impact and generates leads.
And what lies at the center of this connection? The answer to that question is a mix of brand, story, and technology. In one word: "reach."
To the customer, you are the company.
Reach is what generates sales. More specifically, it is what makes a sale. It is what gets customers to your business. It is what keeps them coming back. And it is what persuades them to buy the product or service you offer, even if your competitors are offering a similar product or service at a lower price.
Favorably, modern-day technology has made it easier to expand your company's reach. And that's precisely what we're going to discuss in this article.
The Challenge of Expanding Reach to Your Customers
A Google-commissioned BCG survey revealed that customers were 40% more likely to spend more than they had previously envisioned when personalization was a core component across the buying journey.
A PwC study sheds light on the fact that service efficiency, convenience, knowledgeable service, and easy transactions are the key factors that customers value — with each of these surpassing the 70% mark on the "Level of importance for customer experience" scale.
Notice the similarity in the marketing value of these findings?
Customers do not buy a product or service; they buy an experience. And as enterprises tap into optimizing their interactions, they must define customized experiences to round out the buying decision process in its entirety.
In other words, you’re looking at something like "total experience" — well, if you'd want to brand it that way. But if this is known to you, what is holding you back from expanding your reach to your customers?
Apparently, a host of shortcomings surface when you dive deep into the CX measurement methods. Consultants at McKinsey label these as "Limited, Reactive, Ambiguous, and Unfocused."
Limited corresponds to an incomplete understanding of the customer's buying criteria and perceptions.
Reactive is a misinterpretation and miscalculation of services that adhere to the customers' requirements.
Ambiguous design results from a mismatch between what the company thinks its customers want and what they genuinely need.
Unfocused experience is a misunderstanding of the correlation between business goals and customer needs.
To complicate matters, these pitfalls appear in varying degrees and act as the basis for a company's inability to expand its reach. Not only are you missing out on opportunities, but your customers might be getting the short end of the stick.
What's more, not all of these shortcomings are avoidable. In fact, many of them fall in line with the challenges that enterprises face every day as they pursue a unique path to success. The CX leaders often find themselves aloof of the ground reality, mistaking a downturn in their performance for a setback in the metrics they are tracking.
For example, agile delivery models have their fair share of benefits and downsides. They encourage adaptability to change market conditions and reward a more customer-centric way of thinking. However, they also involve a leap of faith on the customer's part.
How to Expand Reach to Customers?
It's established that some challenges are intrinsic to a process or product, while others tend to result from the overall way you conduct business. With that in mind, let's take a look at some practical ways to expand your reach to the customers without losing focus on the customer experience.
Facilitating Omnichannel Interactions
Research released by PwC reveals that most customers are willing to pay a premium (as much as 16%) for an experience that gives them a sense of emotional attachment. Therefore, when it comes to creating this sense of attachment, the holy grail is to foster omnichannel interactions.
Omnichannel communication refers to a brand's ability to expedite user engagement across different channels, devices, and touchpoints. While this might seem like a tall order for most businesses, it is one that can be accomplished with the right tools and strategies in place. Unlike multichannel experiences that remain fragmented at best, omnichannel interactions offer a sense of connection and consistency that engenders trust and loyalty.
It is not uncommon for companies to carve their omnichannel offerings into different disciplines — marketing, sales, product development, IT, etc. The CX leaders must identify which channel, device, and touchpoint has the most room for growth.
Moreover, they must also determine whether their current strategy is specific and targeted enough to provide an unparalleled customer experience. And if not… well then, that's an area fit for investment.
Increasing Product Visibility Through Effective Marketing
Many businesses subscribe to the belief that a brand must achieve scale before it can gain any kind of visibility in the market. Upon this premise, they fail to create a product that is grounded in the customer's needs. Instead, they produce a high-quality product (or service) that may not fit their customer's requirements.
As a result, they fail to expand their reach to the customers. To succeed, they must first delineate the product's qualities to their customers and then focus on generating awareness.
To do this effectively, they should determine the factors that make the product appealing and then unveil those qualities in an effective manner.
For example, if a business is looking to establish itself as a niche player in the eCommerce industry, it is advisable that they focus their marketing efforts on programmable spaces.
They can do this by enlisting the help of experts and strategic partners in other industries that can assist them in creating the right message. Undoubtedly, this strategy will pay off when it comes to market recognition and customer reach.
Making the Most of Product Data
"It's unusual to think about analytics as anything other than massive spreadsheets and incomprehensible algorithms, but true productization involves taking the target end-users into account." — Jedd Davis, Harvard Business Review
Akin to what we covered in the previous heading, the CX leaders should look at product data as a means to an end. In other words, they can further their reach to customers by taking a comprehensive look at their product and then determining how it performs for the audience.
A good way to do this is to segment users by characteristics, usage patterns, and demographics. This can help them better understand their audience and align the product with the right users. The next step involves implementing a set of KPIs that is relevant to their needs.
For instance, a retail business might want to determine the type of clothing that needs to be sold in order to achieve a specific sales volume. They could then choose the optimal merchandising strategies that would allow them to cinch the deal.
At this stage, they can use their product data to devise a plan to expand their reach. A good starting point would be to determine what metrics matter most (e.g., conversion rate, cost per click, revenue potential, etc.) and then draw up a plan that leads to success.
Technologies That Help Facilitate Omnichannel Interactions
Roboticized Customer Service aka Chatbots
According to the 2021 Q4 projections by Global News Wire, chatbots are all set to constitute a market value of $1.9 billion by the end of 2027, soaring through the ranks at a CAGR of 22.5%. This projection points at two major trends:
- The growing use of chatbots in customer service
- The ability of chatbot technology to adapt to an ever-transforming customer base
As far as the notion for reaching customers is concerned, chatbots can be employed in a variety of departments, most notably customer service and sales. Here's how they help expand the reach:
- Chatbots assist in case management and compliance
- They streamline the authentication process
- They display a neutral tone of voice that helps keep users engaged
- They encourage interaction by eliminating the need for multiple forms and extensive paperwork
- They facilitate conversations in a plethora of channels
- They eliminate user-to-user variance, thus improving the overall customer experience
The rise of Augmented Reality (AR) is nothing short of phenomenal. Just a few years ago, Harvard Business Review was using the example of Pokémon Go to tout the extension of the technology to the retail, marketing, and other commercial spaces.
It's literally transforming every aspect of retail, from product placement to in-store interactivity and customer engagement. However, it can go beyond this by breaking down the silos in order for businesses to deliver a seamless experience.
In fact, at Support Genie, we're using AR to change the look and feel of the otherwise tedious, black-and-white instruction manuals. From device installation to maintenance and troubleshooting, we're turning a mundane task into an immersive experience — all thanks to easy-to-use AR manuals.
So, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that AR is the future of product data and customer experience. Here's how businesses can use it to expand their product reach:
- Creating an engaging shopping experience by creating a visual-guided tour of their product
- Unveiling product features and functionality in a more interesting manner
- Onboard new users by offering product guides in a seamless manner
- Helping resolve device-related customer issues by offering in-app tutorials
- Promoting a product through different media channels and using a targeted strategy
- Displaying a streamlined inventory of products
- Displaying products in different environments
Live Visual Assistance
Speed, personalization, cost-efficiency, scalability — you name it, live visual assistance has it all. This is precisely what enables businesses to cater to an ever-changing customer base. For starters, visual assistance allows businesses the opportunity to magnify their reach by tapping into the smartphone-savvy millennial market.
Most importantly, live visual assistance helps businesses fine-tune their product data for the benefit of their audience. This is done via a variety of features that are both functional and aesthetic. An example could be a dedicated customer rep providing troubleshooting assistance by holding the product in front of the camera and guiding the user through a series of steps.
More so, live visual assistant offers a more memorable experience for customers when it comes to resolving device-related issues. It is a seamless, non-intrusive, and interactive solution that can be deployed across different channels.
Technologies That Help Increase Product Visibility
Automation is no doubt one of the best technologies that drive product visibility. It goes way beyond simple ROI optimization and helps to reduce redundant work by eliminating tedious manual interventions. In fact, for the aforementioned technologies to tap into the potential of omnichannel experiences, automation must be realized as the functional component.
Besides, with the growing number of connected devices, automation is a must-have tool for improving product visibility. More profoundly, it:
· Helps make sense of the plethora of data inputs
· Reduces the need for human-based surveillance
· Automates the pace of product reviews
· Gives a systematic approach to product data analysis
· Enhances the accuracy of product reviews
· Reduces the time required to execute reviews and research
· Helps uncover hidden gems in data by conducting thorough research
All these factors combine to propel the interactional efforts and make the customer-facing initiatives successful.
As per Grand View Research, the recommendation engines market will be soaring through the ranks at a CAGR of 33.0% and will be constituting a market value of $17.3 billion by 2028. Even with the current market at a rather nascent stage, you're already seeing the capabilities of these engines being used to create a more frictionless experience.
The reason behind this is simple. When it comes to customer-facing initiatives, recommendation engines can do wonders by providing a targeted approach to product awareness and engagement. In fact, with AI-powered recommendation engines, one can channel product exposure through tailored recommendations.
While there's a lot that each technology can do by itself, the true power lies in using them in tandem. Interoperability plays a critical role in bringing this potential to fruition because the notion for expanding reach to customers far removed from the physical store is to ensure that they receive a seamless experience across all digital touchpoints.
In doing so, businesses need to keep in mind the role of data. It must be at the heart of all product-facing initiatives and be leveraged to build, engage, and retain customers.
So, while you prepare the meal for your customers, remember to put some of the ingredients in the kitchen. We're talking AR, chatbots, live video, live chat, and whatnot.
To know more about how your business can engage with customers across different channels and platforms, get in touch with Support Genie. We're an ideal partner for product visibility, product reviews, and device-related customer service issues.
To know more, get in touch with us today.