If there’s one thing successful business owners excel at, it’s adapting.
They have an incredible ability to not only see the changes that are occurring in their industry, but also to switch their focus and operations to accommodate the ever occurring changes.
What’s most interesting is how adapting to these changes isn’t just a method to keep the best business on top, but can also help struggling brands skyrocket themselves past their competitors.
You need look no further than Nokia for the perfect example of a company that knows how to pivot.
They might be known as creating what was once the most indestructible of mobile phones, but they started out in the late 1800s as a paper and pulp company.
Before they made their first mobile phone they’d also changed their focus to include rubber manufacturing and cable production.
Today, they maintain a multi-billion dollar business by providing telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon the materials they need to keep their customers connected.
Nokia are the epitome of a company who knows how to pivot. A brand that has an almost unparalleled ability to change what they’re doing and who they’re working with to remain at the top of their financial game.
You need to channel a little bit of Nokia in your company’s overall growth plan.
The real question is, what areas should you be focusing on in 2018 and beyond? What is it you should be looking at introducing into your business to continue to dominate?
Well, I’ll get onto the specifics shortly, but first there’s one thing you need to understand about the shifting landscape of consumer expectations today. You need to understand the basics of digital transformation.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the adoption of various digital communication and operational methods to increase the impact and effectiveness of your business.
Generally speaking, the actions and effects of digital transformation fall into one of the below six categories.
However, you’re not simply limited to those six areas.
Think of things that weren’t available even 10 years ago but are now pretty prevalent and you’ve got a great idea of what digital transformation is.
Mobile phones being used as the primary shopping device has forced retail brands to transform their operations to focus on mobile first.
On a grander scale, we have the move from renting videos from Blockbuster to the modern dependence on streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Video, and even platforms like Twitch and Youtube.
Even something as physical and “non-digital” as eating out has been transformed into a digital experience with the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
The short version of this all is the way consumers interact with business is changing. Their expectations have shifted, they demand faster responses, a more self-service approach, and the ability to complete entire purchases across multiple channels in their own time.
How to Meet Your Customer’s Changing Expectations
The Nokia’s of tomorrow will be the brands that wholeheartedly embrace the idea of digital transformation today. They’ll be the businesses and leaders who understand that, in the next 5-10 years, nearly all customer relationships and sales will be made through digital means.
They’ll be the leaders of tomorrow because they’ll already have set up the processes and methods to meet the shift in customer expectations.
If you want to be counted amongst them, you’re going to have to examine the below customer expectations and implement the changes we recommend.
A Seamless, Cross-Device Customer Experience
With every passing year there seems to be more items with internet connectivity.
You can now buy fridges, bins, and even hair brushes that connect to the internet.
Whilst we’re pretty certain many of these won’t take off, the fact is people are using an increasing number of devices to browse product lines and interact with businesses online.
At its core, your business should be connecting their various channels through some form of cloud service to create a full 360-degree view of your customer.
A lot of brands have already identified the integration of cloud technology as a top priority.
And with good reason. In studying the customer journey Criteo discovered that 30% of all desktop transactions are preceded by at least 1 click on mobile.
But what does this boil down to in terms of actual usage and without all the relevant industry buzzwords?
Well, if a customer sees a product they like through their mobile device when on the bus to work and adds it to their cart without purchasing, they should be able to pick up exactly where they left off later in the day on their desktop, tablet, or any other device.
It should be a simple resumption of the journey at the point they left it at. No struggles, no friction.
You have to be storing all your customer data in the cloud yet linking it across all devices for a seamless customer journey.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to frustrate your customers it’s treating them as if they’re nothing more than another number.
One of the key expectation shifts with the growth of digital technologies is being treated as an individual.
Your customers don’t want generic email blasts and obviously templated correspondence. They want to feel as though they are valued, and the easiest way to do this is to treat them as the individual person they are.
Accenture actually report 75% of customers admit to being more likely to purchase from a brand who personalizes their responses.
Not only are people more likely to purchase from brands who personalize their correspondence, but they don’t mind sharing information with those brands if it speeds up the service.
That may not seem like a big deal, but in a world with GDPR where customer data collection has become a very contentious issue, the ability to get users on board and willing to share their information can be key in running a more effective and profitable operation.
Personalisation isn’t something you should be thinking of, it’s something you need to be doing.
A Need for Instant Answers
One of the biggest frustrations consumers have is waiting extended periods of time for a simple response.
We’ve all reached out to a brand and received something similar to the below.
An immediate response letting us know we have to wait 24 hours before a real person can look at our problem. Annoying, right?
It’s a huge missed opportunity. In fact, the faster you respond to customer queries the more sales and revenue you can expect to make.
Modern consumers are busy and impatient. The faster you can help them, the more likely they are to look favorably on your brand and return for their next purchase.
It’s for this reason so many brands are running to live chat software to meet the customer expectation of immediate responses that are personalized to their needs.
Because the customer is speaking to a real person the response is always swift. However, it’s also super personalized so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Even if you’re out of office or are struggling to handle an influx of new requests, live chat solutions like edesk will often come with some form of templates which, thanks to personalization tags, can feel more personal than the generic email blasts we’re so used to.
Live chat and conversational commerce will very soon become the go-to method for increasing sales and customer service online.
The secret to effective marketing and customer service has always been to go where your consumers are.
Make it easy for consumers to find your brand and interact with you and you’ll see engagement and sales skyrocket.
Over the past 5 years we’ve seen an expected shift to mobile devices being the most used by consumers. Not only did mobile searches outstrip desktop in 2015, but the usage of the platform is expected to continue its astronomic growth through 2020 and beyond.
This means there are more of your users who turn first to their mobile device for advice and entertainment.
If you’re still optimizing for desktop users first, you’ll struggle to make a continual impact as traffic moves to mobile devices.
Mobile first is the motto of the modern marketer. You have to optimize your site and actions to accommodate mobile users before you even think of anything else.
Do this, and you’ll be in prime position to dominate over the next decade.
Create incredible Experiences
What all of this comes down to is creating an experience the consumer cannot forget.
According to MarketingWeek;
“The majority of consumers (62%) are prepared to pay more for a simple experience, new research finds, while 61% would recommend a brand if it has a clear proposition that saves them time.”
It’s the experience you provide to users that is key.
However, you don’t have to be creating some incredibly grand, over the top experience where there are horns and trumpets for every successful sale, but rather create something that’s simple and easy to use for consumers.
That’s the key to improving the customer experience.
Make it simple but effective. Help your users achieve what they want in the shortest time possible and they will thank you for it by purchasing and returning to purchase again.
If you’re not sure where to start on providing the kind of experience modern users crave, we recommend live chat.
The world is built on the power of conversations we have with one another. Communication is key in everything we do, and streamlining that process will only serve to increase the quality of your brand in your consumer’s eyes.
eDesk is the leading helpdesk for online sellers, purpose-built to address the precise demands of e-commerce. Sign up for a no-hassle, 14-day free trial right now and see for your yourself the difference it will make to your business.