1. Build seamless customer experience – based on feedback
Today’s consumer expects to be able to interact with businesses via the channel of their choice at their moment of need. Whether that’s using their smartphone to research products while travelling, on the high street, or chatting to a customer service rep over the weekend. The key to success is placing them at the heart of everything you do. Talk to them, get their feedback. Use social listening tools like Hootsuite or Klout to hear conversations first-hand, and online qualitative research or customer service surveys – to gain a deeper understanding of their behaviour. From here you can develop an engagement strategy that delivers a seamless journey and experience across all channels.
2. Personalising customer interactions with data
The physical and digital worlds are converging as a result of increased penetration of mobile devices and more mainstream use of technologies like beacons or augmented reality. At House of Fraser, for example, mannequins send shoppers alerts about the clothes they’re wearing and provide the option of purchasing via mobile. Each interaction is also a source of data which, once analysed, can enable enhanced customer experiences – offering new levels of quality, personalisation, customisation and immediacy. All businesses, big and small, need a strategy for how they capitalise on the new opportunities that this creates.
3. Evolve company culture to enable connected employees
Business leaders need to understand that employees who prosper in a chaotic, fast changing world may have a different profile to those they’re used to hiring. They certainly have different expectations. You’ll need people who are able to thrive with complexity, are excited by change and are continually developing a varied skill set. In return for their efforts, they expect greater recognition, more transparency and involvement in driving processes and results. Leaders will have to develop deeper relationships with their connected employees, and create a culture that enables ongoing learning, entrepreneurship and offers new challenges to keep people motivated.
4. SMEs need to connect
Two thirds of SMEs don’t have a website, and only 1 in 3 sell or market online. Getting connected themselves is an imperative for SMEs to succeed with increasingly connected consumers. There are lots of resources out there to help. The Government has recently announced a £3k broadband voucher scheme. Moreover, charities like the Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK provide help and training.
5. Don’t leave the unconnected behind
While the vast majority of consumers are online, almost 10 million people in the UK remain unconnected. This is a significant proportion of the population which brands need to address; requiring a balanced omni-channel strategy. The private sector, working with Government and not-for-profits, can also help them to get connected by providing education about the benefits, delivering digital skills training and helping provide affordable access. Increasing digital inclusion can be a win-win for business – as getting connected can increase a person’s purchasing power & employability.