‘It is all about the business’ said the owner of a typical mid-sized company with an international focus to me. He was talking about his customer engagement, he told me about his latest product updates, his new services he offers to his clients, and so on. I felt he was proud of what he and his company were getting done.
I thought I’d just asked a simple question but this simple question started a longer discussion about how to deal with customers today.
The question was: ‘Do you really know your customer?’
His answer was as simple as the question was: ‘Yes, for sure.’
‘Perfect’, I replied, ‘you stopped the one-way communication with your customers and partners, you offer information in different formats, personalized and target orientated, designed for different devices, multi-lingual with the possibility to get in direct contact with you?’
This time his answer was not as simple as before. ‘Mmhhh … no’ he replied after a while.
The communication with partners (B2B) and customers (B2C) is changing dramatically. While in the past information was ‘just’ shared, today a customer or partner expect the right information without searching and – in the best case – with the possibility to interact or communicate with the vendor. He is also looking for additional collaterals, like brochures, technical documents, etc., and he is keen to learn more about the opinion of other buyers.
Right Information – Right Location & Device
The information delivery should be based on tracking data and/or user profiles. You need to make sure that the information fits to the demand, is immersive, actual, and interesting.
There are too much information and too many competitors in the Web, you should not give other vendors the chance to get in contact with your customers. And further on, you need to make the offering available on different devices like Mobile Phones or Tablet PC’s. We are seeing a growing demand for alternative content consumption. Customers are often using different options to consume content than only the desktop pc.
If you would like to expand your business, you need to think about translated content as well. English is the most widely spoken language in the internet, followed by Chinese and Spanish (German is the sixth important one). With a multi-lingual offering you will bring your Web presence to the next level. Not just translated but localized content is the key. You should reflect the culture and needs as well – this will help you entering foreign markets.
Markets are becoming communities, buyers and prospects are meeting within virtual spaces, starting to talk about products, services, their experiences, and knowledge. You cannot prevent it. You need to offer an alternative communication channel. Support your customers and partners with social applications, allow them to rate and rank, to ask questions directly, and make sure that your organization is built to deal with these.