2020 The Year of the Customer

2020 will be the year of the customer. In fact, for several years now we have been seeing a shift in this direction. A shift in beliefs about what marketing actually is, what it can actually do, and also a shift in priorities. With the new decade here it only seems appropriate that we abandon past notions of trying to convince people to buy from or work with your business, and instead prioritize exceptional experiences that will keep them coming back.

We do a lot of strategy work with our clients, and a central focus is always on building a positive business culture. Our CEO has a closely held belief that if you take care of your people, and create an environment for them to thrive and grow, that will in turn foster a culture where they take care of customers in the same manner.

It is no secret that efficiency, convenience, and friendly service are the basics when it comes to customer service, but there are key elements often found in the marketing toolbox that are actually the ones making a difference when it comes to customer experience. Most notably:

  • Up-to-date website, that is clean, and easy to navigate;
  • An easy and seamless mobile experience;
  • A brand image that aligns with their personal values;

Those are the three most important elements when looking at the customer experience from a purely marketing and communications perspective.

If you haven’t updated your website in the last 12 months, you are overdue. A website is no longer something you can update and then put on the shelf for 5 years. Your website is the digital representation of your organization. If it feels dated, tired, or clunky to customers, that is how they will in turn view your brand, and they will find someone else who more closely aligns to the values and brand image they are looking for.

We have been preaching mobile experience to our clients for the better part of the last decade. If you still don’t have a solid mobile optimized experience, it means that your business doesn’t really exist, at least not in the world we live in today. The CRTC reported that 86% of Canadians (2018 data) use a mobile device to search the internet. If you aren’t there, or your site isn’t optimized you are missing out on a significant portion of potential business. In fact, lack of awareness, remains one of the top reasons why small businesses fail in their first year. If customers don’t know you exist, they can’t support you.

When it comes to brand image, we aren’t just referring to your logo, or colours, we are looking at how you actually represent your organization. From the fonts you use, to the images, each element of your brand tells your customers a story about who you are as a business, and informs the customers about whether or not they should care. In the marketplace today, if your brand isn’t clear, with a compelling message to cut through the noise, it could mean no one is listening.

In addition to having a great culture, and focusing on the three elements we just touched on, the last piece that is truly separating the leaders from the rest, is personalization. When it comes to customer service and creating an exceptional experience, nothing works quite like having a personalized touch. Recognizing a customer by name, remembering their order, recalling a detail about their family or personal life, building a genuine relationship that allows you to connect on that personal level.

Take the time this year to invest in getting to know your customers. It is one of the best things you can do in terms of return for your business.