two men shaking hands - customer relationship concept
PHOTO: Adobe

These days, customers have more choices than ever before when it comes to what, where and how they make purchases. Interacting with a brand isn’t just confined to a simple space and point in time. Today’s customers interact with brands from all over the world at all hours of the day and from wherever the customers are, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and 24/7 customer service.

The rise of big online retailers means that the relationship between brand and individual is more separated than it has been in the past. However, with the right digital tools and strategy, your business can reinstate that relationship and get potential customers more closely associating your brand with your products.

The stakes are high but the payoffs can be just as beneficial. According to research, more than 60 billion is lost annually due to poor customer service. However, nearly 70% of customers would spend more at a company with better customer service. (1) For those businesses that focus on developing relationships with customers, the opportunities are almost endless for developing loyal customers who will return to your brand again and again.

Take Control of the Narrative

The tools you use to interact with your customers (both potential and loyal customers) will help you reclaim the narrative about your brand. Social media, digital tools, your website, other marketing and customer service channels. All these things come together in customers’ minds to paint a complete picture of your brand. It’s up to you to ensure what they’re envisioning aligns with your narrative.

Think of your store as the vehicle to sell your product. Customers develop relationships with products and brands more so than the places where they purchase the product. Nurturing that relationship between your customer and your brand can have powerful trade-offs that affect your bottom line. When customers feel connected to brands, 57 percent report increasing their spending with that brand. Also, 76 percent will buy from the brand they feel connected to over a competitor. (2)

Avoid the Sea of Sameness

What do you want your brand to be known for? When customers think of your brand, how do they feel? How should they feel? These days, customers aren’t as loyal to brands as they might have been in the past. You need to give customers something to latch onto to ensure their loyalty and get your brand standing apart from your competitors.

Unique to your brand are your employees, who can provide genuine interactions with your customers. This is essential to delivering superior customer experience and can also have a positive impact on the bottom line. According to research, 72 percent of customers feel more connected to a brand when employees share information online. (3) By encouraging your employees to make meaningful connections with customers, you leverage their unique experience, which avoids the trap of sameness companies can fall into when it comes to delivering on customer experience.

CX: The Not-So-Secret Weapon

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, how do you compete with online retailers? In this digital-first environment it may seem that B&M retailers are at a disadvantage over online-only businesses. However, B&M retailers have the advantage of customer experience on their side.

How can B&M retailers leverage CX technology to level the playing field? First, stores have the natural advantage of their physical presence; a recent survey found that 70 percent of digital natives do most of their shopping in stores. (4)

Second, retailers need to meet the customer where they are, which is no longer limited to the physical location. Online retailers have been doing this for years, but advances in CX tools now give that same power to B&M retailers.

Third, B&M retailers can leverage their personal touch with CX tools. Customers have historically preferred to shop at and support local businesses. B&M retailers’ ability to offer unique products and innovative shopping experiences are just some of the reasons 93 percent prefer small and local retailers. (5) Using CX tools can help B&M retailers leverage their uniqueness and personality.

Conclusion

Reclaiming the relationship between individual and brand begins with an understanding of how to use your advantages. Customers use technology to aid them in purchases, but they also prefer to shop in person. They want information but want it delivered on their own terms. Above all, they want to have a positive association with your brand, which starts from having excellent customer experiences.

Learn how TABLE can help turbocharge your CX at table.co.