It’s been said that we’ve entered the Age of the Customer. Consumers know what they want and they know how to get it. Furthermore, successful companies know how to give their customers exactly what they want.
Unfortunately, not every company believes that connectedness with customers is important for business. In fact, according to our first-ever State of the Virtuous Cycle report, 47 percent of researched companies say that responding to individual customers based on feedback about an experience is an effective customer service strategy. But if a company doesn’t leverage the strength of their customer base, they’ll lose the opportunity to connect and retain them.
Our State of the VC highlights a lack of customer loyalty programs, referral programs, and consistent customer advisors. Because of this dearth, it's difficult for businesses to secure brand advocates. In an effort to gain back a customer following, disconnected companies should create and provide enriching customer-focused programs on channels that both customers and prospects use.
Create an ongoing relationship
Stay relevant and make a lasting impact with customers by building a strong relationship with them. There are countless ways to fail at connecting with customers, but a few include:
Limiting communication to basic elements (like only offering a phone number or a less-than-impressive web contact form). This turns into a problem when customers reach out and get no response, making it seem like the business doesn’t want — or care — to stay connected.
Offering restricted resources on a social media platform. This usually appears as one-way communication — the customer follows the brand on social, but there is little to no interaction afterward. Although this gives customers another option to communicate with the brand, it’s only meeting the bare minimum.
Instead, successful companies enable a strong Customer Experience (CX) by offering more options for customers to communicate and stay involved, for example:
Building a robust community for employee-customer and customer-customer interactions. These communities give customers and employees alike a place to discuss products and issues.
Provide an in-application, real-time opportunity for interactive feedback for both the customer and the organization. This means giving customers the option to reach out via instant messenger, social feeds, and in-application forums.
Salesforce Community enables customer connection
The most proactive way to connect with your customers is through Salesforce Community Cloud. This solution gives companies the power to reach out to their customers on any channel.
Salesforce has stated that “this next-generation portal combines the real-time collaboration of Chatter with the ability to share files, data, or records anywhere and on any mobile device.” Even more, Community Cloud streamlines and extends organizational processes across office siloes, giving everyone the ability to help customers.
To further support SFDC Communities, Appirio built a Community Cloud Lightning Bolt solution that offers three key elements to boost the Virtuous Cycle — tools, knowledge, and people. This Lightning Bolt gives users a first-class and consumer-grade experience within Communities. And the best part is, it’s built on the Salesforce platform, which makes integrations into existing systems simple.
State of the Virtuous Cycle: CX
The State of the Virtuous Cycle reports that an engaged customer community is key to capturing and growing the market share.
These strategies, and the tools that support them, are critical for companies to embrace in order to compete in today’s Experience Economy. But more importantly, you've got to engage and enable workers to connect with the customers they interact with.