Customers are a key success factor of any business and the rising popularity of customer experience is now becoming an important input factor for brands while developing their strategy. Thanks to the innovation and spread in access of the internet, social media and smart devices, today’s customer is in control of when, how, where to interact and what to choose and brands have very limited opportunity t do it the right way. Today all the brands are dealing with a Modern Customer who is empowered, digital, smart, vocal and as well as in full control of what they want to purchase.
Its worth noting the words of the famous investor and visionary Mr. Warren Buffet, that “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” While dealing with Modern Customers, brands need to do things differently and it need perfect strategy. In the coming years and decades the most successful businesses will be those who quickly understand and adapt to the changing needs of this new bread of customers. In this article I have tried to compile most important characteristics of Modern Customer and points to consider while designing a product or rather your business strategy.
Characteristics of a Modern Customer
Today’s customers want a friction-less interaction with brands of their choice across the channels and now there is no escape from the Omni-Channel experience. Happy customers act as your brand ambassadors and unhappy customers can raise voice on the extremely popular social media platforms, reaching millions. Let’s understand some of the important characteristics of a Modern Customer to help your organization design an effective customer experience strategy also known as a CX Strategy.
1. The modern customer is CONNECTED and INFORMED
With increase in smartphone and internet penetration, customers are now connected 24*7 across social media, blogs, opinion polls, etc. through their computer, smartphone and even use wearable to stay informed.
Modern Customer research, explore and share their experiences on a regular basis. They compare prices, read reviews and seek out authentic information through readily available real experts as all these access are now customer’s fingertips.
Online sales are increasing and gaining popularity even across the lower income groups due to increasing internet penetration and a significant number of offline sales are moving online. Unless your digital experience, product story, pricing are great, modern customers will lookout for alternatives. Its important for the brands to engage in a right way and do it on first time right (FTR) approach. They must be crisp and to the point in the communications while targeting a specific set of customers.
2. The modern customer is highly OPINIONATED
The customer of today are smart and trust earned media more than owned media. A Nielson study showed customer confidence on television adds are declining by 24%, magazine ads are declining by 20%, newspaper ads by 25% and overall, only 47% customers trust traditional advertising. The same research also finds out that only 58% customers trust owned media such as company websites and blogs.
Digital media has gained popularity over the years as the king of earned media when it comes to word of mouth and personal recommendations. The study showed an impressive 92% of the customers trusting earned media over all other forms of advertising and 70% of customers trusting online user reviews.
To help your organisation retain modern customer trust you must focus more on user generated contents (UGC) which is more trustworthy, have a human touch and more memorable. To do so what I personally belief is to have a platform for users to write reviews openly, share sort videos and brands can incentivise the trustworthy and loyal customers on their contents.
3. The modern customer is VOCAL
Today’s customer not only research on facts but are also more vocal than ever. With multiple ways and mediums line, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and LinkedIn both retail and business consumers can voice their views anytime. It can be beneficial for the brands to generate more user contents but at the same time one bad review or post or complain can be worse.
Customers need to be heard and brands must actively engage with them in listing to them, rewarding them and resolving issues if any. Its high time for brands to understand the fact that consumer to consumer word of mouth promotion can generate more than twice sales than any paid advertising and there are many examples like Tupperware.
There is scope here for every business to utilize this empowerment of the modern customer as they voice authentic experiences. Businesses thus must focus on creating a seamless experience across platforms and explore the power of omni channel platforms.
4. The modern customers seeks HUMAN TOUCH
While we discussed increasing use of technology to engage with modern customers, human touch is still important and can do wonders for the business. Modern customer feels delighted when contacted over a scheduled call for their issue resolution, when they feel that their opinion matters. But increased calling activity for sales can be irritating and deteriorate brand value Hence brands should always have a great balance while deciding when to use human interface.
Modern customers expects everything right away and as per a research 64% of the customers expect real-time service regardless of the channel they are using. To do so adoption of AI is important. With increase in the adoption of AI am ML tools, the intelligence of human can be added to increase efficiency and create a more human like AI model.
Final thoughts on Modern Customer
While it seems to be difficult to handle modern customer’s expectations, its rather easy for brands once they create customer first approach in their business strategy. If we look at some of the most successful mobile brand like Xiaomi, Realme, One Plus, etc. they are now ruling more than 70% of the market and design their upcoming products base on real customer opinions and expectations making the new launches an instant hit. Brands need to be highly engaging with their target audience at each and every stage of customer life cycle to be successful in this connected world. The modern customer is smart, digital and vocal. You can read more on the topic at the below reference sites for detailed understanding.