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Customer Engagement: Key Trends for 2017

February 2017 – The UK is now preparing for upcoming Brexit negotiations & the United States of America has witnessed the inauguration of Donald Trump as President.

Rewind a year and many would have sniggered at the likelihood of this outcome. But how does this relate to customer engagement?

Similarities that have contributed to the Brexit vote & Trump as President can be found within the dissatisfaction held by voters that their alternatives provide no immediate solution. Here, Trump in particular set himself apart from the usual campaigning agenda and rhetoric to set about targeting voters through real, personal and emotive connections.

Ultimately, people buy into ideas, services and products that stir their emotions, provide convenience and provide solutions. So long as this is backed by logic, this provides the confidence for conversion and succinctly meets the requirements of the human dynamic. In favour of such outcomes or not, these recent political aftermaths have been driven by ENGAGEMENT.

Love or despise Trump, his current political power cannot be denied. So, what lessons can be learnt within the context of marketing?

In consideration of the significance of the emotional connection associated between a brand and its target market, this year’s key customer engagement trend shall centre largely on one specific element, Customer Experience.

Today, meaningful customer experiences are based upon two way, interactive journeys. Consumers are no longer willing to be sold to via passive, one-way messaging. Instead they are consistently demanding the need for flexibility, participation, value and personalisation. All of which, being real emotive drivers for the key requirements of brand engagement.

To provide a little substance, the stats backing up these claims cannot be ignored!

Why Customer Experience?

  • According to Gartner Research: 42% of CEOs identified improved Customer Experience was “the key change that has driven more wins”
  • 80% of B2B customers, stated Customer Experience as the biggest influencer in the decision to work with a certain vendor 
  • Walker Insights: By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiators

 2017 Trends to Improve the Customer Experience Offering

  1. Customer Relationship Management

Despite the growth and intelligent advancements of digital technologies, the significance of CRM has gone back to its roots, if the customer relationship isn’t central to a brands/organisations values then customer relationships will perish. Instead, individuals will seek those competitor alternatives who are willing to provide added value to the customer experience

The brands set to reap the rewards in 2017 are those who have adopted a seamless, transparent and relationship driven approach across all silos and touch points of the customer journey. This is particularly true regarding the collaboration between marketing and sales departments!

  1. Service Businesses

Every business should now carefully consider the service element provided within their customer offering. Selling a product is no longer enough! Customers want the whole process of the transaction to be as convenient, relevant and personalised as possible. Whether this relates back to delivery or customer care, brands must understand their customers via their unique purchase habits, attitudes and motivational drivers.

  1. Management of Consumer Data

As noted by Communisis (2017), recent studies by McKinsey & Forbes all concur data-driven marketing to be a critical practice in the increasingly global economy. And furthermore, those organisations who embrace such practices deemed  three times more likely than others to achieve competitor advantage in the context of Customer Engagement.

Through vigilantly analysing and interpreting customer data, brands and organisations are able to tailor products and services to better meet the demand of customer needs. By using profiling and automated tools to generate greater insight, this shall improve the customer’s brand experience by providing the right solution at the right time.

Ultimately, the days of selling products via one-way marketing strategies have gone. Brands now need to serve customers via a two way, mutually beneficial interaction. Customers now want to be served, not sold to.



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