Content creator and digital strategist, Shaheer Lala, states that social media has significantly shifted the power of influence and control of the narrative towards customers, who can now consume and produce content simultaneously for brands. Trust has shifted, and while brick-and-mortar stores benefit from the physical practicability, word-of-mouth has never been more vital. 

Given the massive insurgence towards creating a digitally sustainable platform to ensure brand longevity, companies have had to rapidly adapt and scale their online proficiencies. This was in large part due to the evolving consumer who prioritised safety over price and choice. With more than two billion individuals expected to make an online purchase this year, what can one expect from the everyday customer? 

Customers Now Influence And Control The Narrative
Shaheer Lala, content creator and digital strategist.

Powerful prosumers 

A few Facebook reviews from real people can influence potential customers on an actionable purchase. Given the greater risk with any e-commerce transaction, customers are more reliant on research and the reviews that this uncovers. Social communities are connected via shared or similar experiences, and one bad review posted online could have hundreds of comments validating this due to their personal brand encounter. 

Nike developed @teamnike on Twitter, which is a dedicated team that services customer queries in seven languages seven days a week, with record response times. This is due to primed responses for potential complaints and effectively moving the conversation offline into direct messages for a more human experience. 

AX vs CX 

While most strategies are developed towards being customer-centric and the customer experience (CX), a grass roots approach must be considered. AX, described as the agent experience, is a prerequisite to create positive customer interactions. 

Ensure that front-line and support staff are effectively trained and that customer feedback is integrated via practiced channels of communication. Move away from ‘the customer is always right’, to a happy employee leads to a satisfied customer. 

Zoom, which saw an increase from 10 million meeting participants per day in December of 2019 to 300 million by March of 2020, can boast about having the happiest employees of last year, proving that AX is imperative despite their exponential customer growth. 

Convenience and customisation 

With safety being a determining factor towards an online purchase, consumers have become accustomed to the convenience available in a few taps and clicks. Uber Eats highlights the successful integration of both by having orders arrive in under 30 minutes via contactless delivery. 

Customers appreciate and prioritise a personalised experience even when online. To achieve this, customer data must be effectively mined, segmented and analysed continuously, to understand the ever-developing needs of the target base. Using technology, like Dixa, allows for effective data management that makes finding insights and implementing this into a strategy easier. 

User experience (UX) is an imperative component of any business success and can be a C-level threat. Customers want a CEO that is more active online, engaging with customers, and a brand that understands its purpose and its customers’ position. With the power in the hands of the buyer, the greatest asset to invest in is not what is sold, but how it is sold, placing UX upfront.

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