Us, marketers, we love buzz words.
Omni-channel. Real-time marketing. Retargeting. The list goes on.
Each one of us wants to show off how cool, cutting-edge, and tuned-in with modern times our brand is. We listen on the web. We entertain on social. We crank out a ton of content every day, hoping for virality. We measure the amount of conversations, likes, and shares. If we are really good, we analyze purchase intent and actual purchase data and correlate it back to all of our busy social efforts.
And all the while we are missing the most important measure of all – relationship capital.
Here is the thing. Consumers do like to talk about brands. They do like to be entertained every now and then. But when push comes to shove, what consumers truly want the most from brands is to know that they, consumers, matter. And the only way to do that is through consistently delivering amazing experiences. If brands are not able to deliver those, they have zero chance to retain their customers (and we all know how much more expensive it is to attract a new customer vs. retaining the current one). Therein lies the rub: retaining our customers is not possible without building long-term relationships with them. And building strong relationships requires knowing and understanding your customers like never before.
Relationship capital should be the most critical measure of business success.
Instead, all we are tracking is the bottom-line.
Imagine this. You just purchased a product and are calling the company’s support line to ask a simple question. You get sales department. Someone in the sales department asks you a bunch of questions, then after listening to your inquiry informs you that this question needs to be addressed by the customer service department. They put you on hold, then finally transfer you to the customer service agent, who proceeds asking you the same questions before informing you that this inquiry is really for the marketing department. The nightmare goes on. Finally, you give up and tweet at the company. Some very helpful employee responds with a canned message that doesn’t begin to solve your request, without having a first clue about your purchase history. And you happen to be the most rabid fan of the brand and its products, you shop at their store every month and you rave about it on all of your social channels. How do you think this story ends? With you still be raving about that brand? Will you continue to recommend it to your friends? Will you continue shopping there?
Remarkable companies enable remarkable experiences!
When a company delivers great experiences, it builds relationship capital. Relationship capital leads to loyalty. And, in the world of extreme competition and unlimited choices, loyalty is the only thing that takes care of the bottom-line. Bottom-line isn’t a goal, it is a result. Enabling unforgettable experiences across every touchpoint – that is a goal.
We live in the world where empowered consumers expect speed, care, and excellence. They expect you to listen to them, to know their preferences, deliver the best experience at every touchpoint, and to do it seamlessly and quickly. So using clever marketing tricks and sharing funny content is great, but all it will get you is eyeballs and no brand affinity. To get brand affinity you need to show others that you care.
But to enable smooth, meaningful experiences marketers need tools that would allow them to seamlessly manage customer experiences in an agile manner, at every touchpoint, at every step of the relationship. To date, all the tools have been disconnected. Even in the larger enterprise stacks there is rarely little integration. Why? Because every company wants to sell their own disparate tools or “clouds” and they rarely integrate with other, already existing, legacy systems that are run by other vendors and are already well ingrained into the brands’ operational fabric. All the while, marketers desperately need all of their systems they already have in place to talk to each other. This will not only provide cost savings (of money, time, and human resources), but, most importantly, will ensure customer satisfaction, and with that, long-term advocacy.
What social practitioners need is the social enterprise solution that is willing to reimagine the front office and connect the dots. Because, at the end of the day, you only have one shot (two, if you are lucky) to show consumers how much you value them. They won’t care about your behind-the-scenes problems and your lack of the integrated infrastructure, all they care about is that you are delivering the relevant information at the right time in the right place in the right way…
… And that you are making their day just a bit easier, just a bit brighter, every single time.