THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP IN THE TIME OF DIGITAL AND DISRUPTION

Par : HUB Institute
1 septembre 2015
Temps de lecture : 5 min
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Digital is a revolution, this cannot be denied. It has enabled consumers to be actors in their relationships with brands. With the speed of information transmission and the availability of content, brands are evolving their customer relationships. How can a brand reinforce its link with its clients and create customer loyalty? How does one entertain a lasting relationship with a “digital me” whose expectations have profoundly evolved? In these times of social media and hyper-connectivity, brands have never been so solicited by their clients. The simplicity of exchanges offers Internet users a democratized voice. They have opinions and put them out there. They expect reactivity and utility but also quality in brands’ responses. Out of mistrust or in the search for truth, more and more consumers are turning towards the opinions of their peers in their final purchase decision. A brand now has to integrate the “many-to-many” phenomenon in its customer relationship strategy and learn to manage the conversations generated by earned media. Thus, the customer relationship has experienced profound changes these past years thanks to “digital”. As part of her intervention at the upcoming HUBFORUM in Paris, October 5th and 6th, Vanessa Boudin-Lestienne, co-founder and deputy executive director of The Social Client, shares her vision of the transformation of the customer relationship in the digital age with us.

1- SETTING UP A PERSONALISED CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP ADAPTED TO CLIENTS’ DIGITAL USES

The customer relationship has experienced significant changes these past five years. In spite of the industrialization constraints of the relationship, brands are developing a more personalized approach, looking to gain in simplicity and transparency. The development of these so-called “selfcare” spaces is one example of this. Brands are adapting to the navigation needs of clients by enriching their tools such as their customer spaces, FAQs, to bring out a relationship with a high added value. Beyond these technical tools, it is of course the human dimension that finds itself at the heart of the digital customer relationship. Chats are a good illustration of this second issue of the digitalization of touch points and are already establishing themselves as the third preferred mode of contact for consumers. Finally, social networks have redistributed the customer relationship cards so to speak, by positioning themselves as interfaces of transparency between brands and their clients, and by favouring exchanges between users.

2- THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP AT THE TIME OF TOUCHPOINT MARKETING

With digital, brands have had to show great adaptability, regardless of the channel, in response to new uses and consumer expectations. A development in agility that requires deciphering new trends both in terms of usages and of associated technologies to adapt one’s customer relationship. If brands are constantly learning to evolve, it is also through Test & Learn practices that they build and deploy new relational models. The digital customer relationship has become a competitive axis that is both differentiating and supporting innovation. It has become transversal in organisations and strategic: touchpoint marketing is a key point in advertisers’ strategy today.

3- AN INCREASINGLY CONVERSATIONAL AND ASYNCHRONOUS CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP

The digital customer relationship bears a logical continuity in terms of relationship and content. Social networks have enabled the highlighting of a new format adapted to this need, much more conversational. The advent of Instant Messaging applications favour the emergence of a conversational and relational monitoring between the brand and its client that evolves over time and reveals itself much more adapted to mobile uses. Applications like Facebook Messenger allow for the development of an asynchronous and conversational relationship. Instant messaging raises obstacles found on the chat channel (a contact treated in sessions, not adapted to mobile) while retaining the benefits of proximity and client satisfaction. [text_box title="Instant Messaging at the heart of the customer relationship" text="Instant Messaging (IM) applications are under the spotlight nowadays. These conversational applications between users find themselves at the heart of the strategies of the biggest social networks. In Asia, IM applications like Line or WeChat are experiencing an explosion in use thanks to their“free” offer of a multitude of financial services to its millions of users. Uses are simplified for users who concentrate in a single application all the answers to their needs. But beyond payment, it’s the customer relationship that is at the heart of these platforms’ innovations. In fact, Facebook recently positioned itself on the segment with its upcoming “Business on Messenger”launch. The IM application of the social giant paints the contours of a revolution in customer experience. New channels of communication between a brand and client, Messenger will offer a new perspective of Social CRM through the development of a one-to-one relationship. Clients will find themselves in a unique and open conversation with brands. The history of the relationship will be at the heart of the device to encourage adapted and personalized interactions, beyond the speed and the quality of responses that are a prerequisite today." margined="yes" no_bgr="no"][/text_box]

4- SOCIAL CRM AT THE HEART OF THE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP

The increasingly important uses of social networks today are clearly attributable to the penetration rate of smartphones. They are media consumed on the go and are particularly tailored to customers’ uses. Thus, consumers can stay connected at all times with brands and their content. They are therefore the premier interface of choice to develop relationships between brands and their customers… but not only. Social networks were initially created to favour exchanges between users. This translates itself today by the importance of peer reviews in consumers’ choices and decisions, which structure the customer relationship. Peer recommendations now weigh between 50 and 90% in the purchase decision, depending on the sector of activity.   Thus, to reinforce the relationship and increase customer loyalty today, brands owe it to themselves to pay special attention to developing a connected and proximity-oriented relationship, a more playful and simple approach. Each client is unique and is looking for an enhancement and value of this uniqueness from brands: brands must be able to offer an adapted and personalized service depending on the history of the relationship. Social networks and instant messaging represent, among others, media on which brands will have to lean on in years to come to adapt to the relational expectations of their clients and to make a difference. But that is not counting the importance of influence and content marketing that will structure the daily exchanges between brands and their clients.
 
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