There’s a deli down the street from my office. It’s one of numerous restaurants within walking distance of where I work. Today I went for my usual order – roasted turkey, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and honey-mustard dressing on freshly baked, whole grain flatbread.
It had been several weeks since my last visit. But as I walked up to the register to place my order, the woman behind the counter says “Hi John, it’s good to see you again. Having your usual today? I realized then why I’m stuck on this deli.
I hadn't been there in weeks. But the woman behind the counter, knew my name from previous visits, and remembered exactly how I liked my sandwiches prepared. Other restaurants in the area are less expensive. Some feature more menu options. But there’s something engaging about doing business with a merchant that doesn’t treat you like a drive-thru customer they’ll never see again.
The same is true in any business. Figuring out how to engage people is what customer loyalty demands. And making people feel like their business is valued is a key part of doing that.
With the new mobile lifestyle, the notion of engagement is hotter than ever. And, it’s not just a buzzword. It’s not optional. Nope, it can be the difference between life and death for your brand. And don’t think for a minute that today’s consumer expects personal attention in a store, but is willing to let it slide when they interact with you digitally.
What if your fav bank, cell phone provider, online retailer, whatever, gave you a special device, and whenever you needed assistance, you could push a button on the device and instantly be connected with a helpful and caring customer engagement representative?
What are the chances you'd ever switch to another brand that didn't offer a similar level of service, just to save a few bucks?
The notion of providing on-demand engagement in tech support isn’t new. Amazon does it with something called Mayday, which offers on-demand tech support for the company’s Kindle Fire tablet and mobile phone, via live video chat.
But what about interacting with brands at other points in the customer journey, like the frustrating wait times, and the back and forth that happens in chat sessions, when you’re booking travel, returning online purchases, disputing unauthorized charges on your credit card, and the like?
The thing is, customer relationships have never been more vulnerable. Think Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Uber, and how they’ve disrupted their respective markets. To survive that kind of digital disruption means providing highly personalized customer experiences that stick with people, and make them feel respected -- like their time and business are valued.
If technology helps you do that better, why not take advantage of it? If personalization makes digital customers happier, why not capitalize on that as well?
With the explosion of the mobile lifestyle, digital consumers have more opportunities than ever to interact with your brand. Gartner is forecasting that mobile commerce will generate half of all revenues from digital commerce by 2017. In other words, if you make digital consumers feel like you’re blowing them off, like you don’t value their time, like you’re telling them to kick rocks, you could lose a bundle in customer defections, long-term revenue, not to mention throw major shade on your brand.
Here’s a better alternative. As an organization, a business, a brand, whenever you have the opportunity to interact with digital consumers, aim for the heart. It’s how you build digital customer engagement that sticks.