Often a company leadership faces unending challenges especially when it comes to the rapid technological changes. Since the emergence of information technology, company communication with its customers took a turn to an unknown destination.
Just think back ten years ago or even 5 years, how were businesses reaching their customers? How were customers reaching them? Compare that to how communication is passing between the two parties now and who is driving it. Technology has placed the power in the customers’ hands literally with the internet enabled smart phone and tablets. Note, that these devices are always being improved such that the newest version offers more to the consumers, making the previous one obsolete in as little as six months’ time.
How and why has technology changed the way consumers behave? Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind as you reinvent your strategies to keep up with the consumers.
Customers are connected
Almost everybody is living two lives, a vibrant online life and a somewhat boring offline one. We are all connected in one platform or another through our network of friends. We also own more than one device that keeps us updated. This means that we thrive on being active and informed online, and ExactTarget Marketing content verified this from a study they did, whereby 91% of consumers indicated that access to content across all devices was important.
Information technology advancements fuel the connectivity that brings together the world as one big community, from the smart phones to super-fast data. This trend is not about to change because now kids as young as 5 years know how to operate a smart phone, LinkedIn even lowered its age limit to 13years to capitalize on the technology adoption rate.
Companies need to meet the consumers where they are and satisfy their sophisticated needs. If your target market spends more time on Instagram or Twitter, be present and respond to them on the same platform. Are you doing enough to leverage technology and handle the informed consumer?
Consumer expectations have changed
In the past, as a company you set the times that you were open for business, and customers had to put up with it or stay without that particular product. Technology has totally changed that, with the introduction of e-commerce and mobile phones, customers can access products at anytime. They have raised expectations on what is acceptable customer service and what is not. As a business, you have to keep up with the changed consumer behavior or be out of business.
For example, if a customer wants to purchase something online at night and has a query, they expect to get instant answers. If they do not they choose another supplier from the myriad available online who can meet their immediate need.
Consumers now understand the power they have and will use it when not satisfied with a service. A simple expression of their dissatisfaction on your social media that is not responded to immediately will ignite uproar from other customers who were OK with your products and service.
New communication channels
In the past, a company provided customer service through emails –that did not get prompt responses – and phone calls. These two communication tools had their own challenges and favored the company more; it was at their discretion what information to give out.
This age however, is very refreshed. Social media platforms and live chat place you right in front of your customer; you cannot sacrifice your customer to maintain your brand position. Actually, when you do not respond to a query, you damage your brand reputation because that information is accessible to millions of people.
The upside of these new tools is that you have a wider data collection pool; you can fast track your research and development by utilizing the big data.
In conclusion, we have seen the growth of technology and its impact on consumer behavior. We have looked at three ways that consumer behavior has changed, from connected consumers to changed expectations and new communication tools use. I believe the statement “Customer is King” has never been experienced by companies like in this information technology era.
Customers now know they are powerful, what are you doing to quench their instant information thirst?
This blog was written by Jim Iyoob, Executive Vice President of Global Development for Etech Global Services. If you would like to learn more about Etech, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.