It’s an obvious statement to make, but digital is shifting at a rapid pace. It’s incredible to think that just ten years ago smartphones and tablets didn’t really exist. Now these devices are at the heart of how we communicate and access information as part of our daily lives.
I have conversations with business leaders and managers all the time. Meetings often start with the compulsory (and much welcomed) cup of coffee and then, more often than not, the person will reach for their phone, have a quick scan of their emails, then put the device on the table – hopefully in silent mode!
We have become so connected to information and devices that it’s just second nature. Whether it’s checking emails or social networks, or using apps to read the news or look up the location of somewhere we’re going - we are increasingly connected consumers. And this doesn’t look set to change anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to increase. Yet, I still see a contrast in how business leaders and owners use digital as consumers compared to how they use it in their own organisations.
As consumers, we’re fully embracing the wonders of digital and we expect information at our fingertips. We expect the apps and websites we use to work seamlessly, to deliver the information we want quickly and to offer a great user experience.
But when I chat with business owners and talk about how digital is used in their own business, it’s often much less ambitious. Yes, they’ll have email and they’ll have a website. They may have some social networking accounts too. But often, digital is used to a fraction of its full potential.
To illustrate the point, here are some fantastic examples of how digital can be used to better serve customers and employees. Not all of these are suitable for every business, but they all have a common theme.
Create a hub of useful and interactive content on your website, which is updated regularly, that provides customers with a wide range of answers to almost any of their questions. You’ll benefit from enhanced Google search visibility, happier customers, a growing email list and more sales enquiries.
Use social media as a way to have a real conversation with customers and business partners. You’ll create new opportunities and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction as customers will be able to get the answers to their questions faster and perceive you as a friendly and helpful business.
Integrate your email marketing with your CRM, so you can send timely and relevant emails to the right customers. Your emails will be more useful to your customers, so generate better open and click through rates, thereby providing a better return on your time and spend
Use cloud-based apps and tablets to process your forms and remove paper. Information can be quickly processed and backed up automatically, saving on employee time and enhancing your business efficiency. Your customers will be impressed too.
Use video to create informative content that helps your customers to improve their lives or save time. Customers will feel positive towards your brand and share your content, thereby improving your search visibility, customer retention and helping you to attract new business. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, so is a real opportunity.
Now as I said, not every one of these ideas is right for every business, but that’s fine. Each business should have its own digital strategy so the right innovations can be applied; those that will best serve the customer according to their industry and specific needs.
The point is that by being ambitious with digital, by really using it to better serve your customers and employees, you can really achieve a competitive advantage. And it’s actually linked to your approach to customer service.
Think about how many times you truly receive amazing customer service; the level of service where you just can’t help to tell your friends and family how impressed you are. Now imagine applying this to your digital strategy.
Use digital to impress your customers, to deliver a supreme user experience and facilitate amazing service and you’ll start to acquire both customer loyalty and advocacy, something which is highly valuable and a true point of difference.