Re-thinking how to engage customers

Author

Sanjay Shitole

July 31, 2015

More than ever, importance of customer engagement has become critical for every business to succeed in the current disruptive & rapidly changing business environment. If one measures value of enterprise in non-financial terms, certainly quality of customer engagement would be right up there along with organization culture and brand. Here are three good reasons that make customer engagement critical:

  1. The Connected Customer: Thanks to Smartphone’s/Tablets and 24×7 Wi-Fi connectivity, customer’s have become very savvy in their buying process and decision making, they do lot more research and home-work, know which reviews are true reflective of product/service performance versus others that clutter the postings, know when they are being deliberately targeted by advertisements based on searches and lookups and conduct a thorough comparison of product/features/availability/price before placing the order. Treating customer as if it is only visiting your site/store or reaching out to sales representative without any prior research can lead to a shallow and unfulfilling customer engagement.  Instead knowing “customer connectedness” to drive targeted engagement can be rewarding to both, the customer and the organization.

 

  1. Pay for Use and Value: Customer’s  in the current era are accepting off giving information about themselves but in return want to pay for usage and associated value  versus pay upfront. For example Progressive Insurance’s snapshot device tracks driving pattern which is then used to determine applicable premium/discounts. In such case, customer is voluntarily giving information about their driving pattern with the expectation that they will pay premium for use, in this case, how well and safe they drive. Similarly large enterprise customers no longer want to spend significant $$ upfront on buying perpetual software licenses, rather they would prefer to pay for usage and as the business needs grow pay for increased use.  Customer engagement that is built on evolutionary understanding of customer’s use and adoption of product / service along with value derived becomes paramount in retaining and growing the customer.

 

  1. Customers Say in Product/Service Design: Product innovation cycles are shrinking from years to quarters and even months, creating new opportunity for customers to directly engage and influence feature/form/function of next generation of products. For e.g. 3-D Printing allows one to conceive and visualize a product that suits exact need/purpose. DevOpS and Agile methods are allowing organizations to build software in rapid & iterative manner with strong collaboration between product owner and developers in designing and building the product.  A  new thinking and approach is required that blends engaging customers in designing of new product/services on the merits of DevOps paradigm, visualization of product prototypes based on advances made through 3-D printing and crowd-sourcing / peer-to-peer customer inputs to prioritize and enhance product features most likely to be adopted by larger community.

 
Organizations that re-think Customer engagement by completely divorcing from yesterday’s methods and align to how customers of tomorrow would like to interact, experience and consume product and services will have a greatest chance of success in capturing new value and mindshare from truly engaged customers. For related insights check out an excellent posting at https://www.capgemini.com/beyond-the-buzz/insights-driven-customer-experience

 

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