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Blog

Oct 01, 2015

The Age of the Customer: How It Impacts Your Business

Combining the volume of customer service data now available and recognising a trend, industry experts have dubbed this ‘the age of the customer’. According to Forrester CEO, George Colony, "During this 20-year business cycle, the most successful companies will increasingly rely on providing excellent customer service as a competitive differentiator.”

Fortunately, the age of the customer is in its infancy and many companies have not yet made the conscious decision to develop a more customer-centric strategy. That leaves you with the opportunity to get ahead of the curve using just a few tools:

Mobile CRM: As Forrester explained, due in large part to advances in technology, customers are now able to get service almost anywhere at any time. Mobile CRM ensures that field agents and other employees with direct customer contact have the information they need to resolve real-time requests.

"Harness real-time conversations – engage your target audience with conversations, topics and stories that matter most to them at that moment." -The CMO Club

Survey Analytics: Surveys have long been a popular method of collecting customer feedback to improve future interactions. Traditionally, however, these questionnaires included limits to responses and exceedingly vague questions. Best-in-class survey analytics can process, analyse and comprehend both closed and open-ended questions, providing clearer insight into your customers’ thinking so you can create targeted campaigns, based on relevance.

Social Relationship Management (SRM): Social media is increasingly a critical part of a comprehensive customer service strategy. With SRM, you can track the effectiveness of social media campaigns, keep abreast of what’s trending and engage customers in real time.

"87% of CMOs say social media is the most engaging medium for serving real-time B2B content. For B2C 91% said the same." -The CMO Club

A recent survey conducted by an independent market researcher revealed that 90% of respondents indicated that positive online reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. In a time when consumers are increasingly looking to peer reviews (rather than salespeople at brick-and-mortar locations), social relationship management (SRM) has become essential to fostering positive customer relationships. In fact, MarketsandMarkets recently predicted that the SRM market will grow from $1.91 billion in 2013 to $9.08 billion in 2018.

The robust forecast for Social Relationship Management (SRM) growth is directly related to the variety of benefits it offers. By compiling and organising data, the technology provides businesses with new insight into the effectiveness of their campaigns. Perhaps more importantly, a best-in-breed solution uses language processing to pinpoint positive, negative and neutral sentiments, giving a company the opportunity to join the conversation as it’s happening, and mitigate issues before they go viral.

"Increase momentum and ROI of marketing by enabling long-term social engagement." -The CMO Club

Despite the large number of pundits touting customer engagement as critical to business success, a recent IBM study revealed that currently, just 20 percent of CMOs use social media to connect directly with consumers. Judging by the MarketsandMarkets report, however, that is likely to change over the next five years.

In other words, SRM is just now getting ready to pull out of the station…and you need to be on board.

"Amplify your brand by helping your customers talk about what they love – give them more ways to share stories and content about why they love your brand." -The CMO Club

If you intend to lead, rather than follow in the age of the customer, the time to shift your focus is now. A new era is officially upon us.

Contact Astute Solutions to learn more about how your customer engagement could benefit from a successful Social Relationship Management strategy.

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