How Digital Deepens Customer Relationship?

It’s the age-old marketing question:

how do consumers want to communicate with a brand?

They’re used to be three main ways: phone, letter (as in landline and snail mail), or in-person. But that’s not the case anymore, thanks to technology and the Internet.

Think about social media platforms, marketers may feel like there are thousands of different ways consumers communicate with their brand, but which one is the best? Phone, email, chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, the list goes on and on and on. Of course communication is great, but which channel is best for your customers?

A recent survey of over 1,000 consumers set out to learn just that and unveiled that 77% say it’s easy to communicate digitally with a brand. In fact, 84% communicate via social media, email or chat; only 10% always use a phone.

Furthermore, four out of five consumers have received good customer service using social media to communicate with a brand. It’s clear that digital communication dominates customer engagement, but what channel should your brand focus on?

For marketers to know how their customers prefer communicating with their brand let’s take a step back and first understand why. The survey revealed that the majority (80%) say they contact a company to fix a problem or ask a question.

Understanding how and why consumers want to interact will help brands develop a successful communication strategy to meet their customer’s expectations.

Here are best ways brands can use digital communication to deepen their customer relationship, build brand advocates and reach new audiences.

1. Knowledge
All marketers are also consumers, but not all consumers are marketers.  Marketers must first know who their customers are, then they’ll be able to determine how to best communicate with them. For instance, if you’re a large retail brand that sells to consumers of every generation, be prepared to communicate over traditional channels as well as digital platforms.

But, if you’re a skateboard lifestyle brand, your company should have a huge social media presence and make your consumers aware that your brand is everywhere they are.

If your company is unsure which is most suitable for your audience, just ask!

2. Consistency
As mentioned, today’s consumers prefer to communicate digitally, but how can marketers make digital communication consistent? It leads back to internal communication and training. Whether your brand is reaching consumers through an email blast or on social media, every promotion and every response needs to be consistent.

To avoid poor customer service experiences, train your staff to respond the same way, every time and to feel confident bringing in management before the situation escalates.

3. Empathy
Brand honesty goes a long way, but how long? Longer than you think, especially if you’re brand is dishonest. There’s always going to be a time when your customers are unhappy, but the best marketers create a memorable and authentic experience from the start and acknowledge instances that didn’t live up to the brand’s expectations. Show your customers empathy, and let them know that you understand how they feel.

Today’s consumers are in the driver’s seat and they determine how to communicate with a brand. From the survey we learned that a small amount of consumers use the phone, and majority prefer to use digital platforms.

Brands must take notice to how their customers want to engage with them, create consistent communication across all platforms and be honest throughout the interaction.

Marketers who understand their customers and how they want to communicate will ultimately strengthen their customer relationships, build brand advocates and reach new audiences.