Embrace the emotional connection with consumers

Multichannel, omnichannel, customer journey… What do these words have in common? They were buzzwords, trends from the recent years. While other buzzwords disappear in the marketing landscape it seems these are here to stay and claim their role in the future. During the yearly Multichannel Conference in Utrecht, I had the opportunity to see a variety of presentations and I was triggered by the way consumers were described and perceived in two opposite approaches. I will first describe these two opposite approaches and then continue with the optimal situation.

Consumers as numbers

Consumers are mostly seen as a combination of numbers and logarithms, which is based on all the information that is available out there (such as the online search behavior, databases of previous orders and returns, etc.). Of course, I don’t doubt that many companies have a lot of data available that can be used in a smart way to optimize the key touchpoints as the website, contact center where questions of the customers are answered. However, customers were only perceived as a means to an end. There was no attention paid to the fears, interests and admirations of the customers in order to build a true relationship. These are the building blocks for a true customer centricity approach and can help to answer the following questions: How can you truly surprise them? How can you strengthen your brand identity? How can you make an impact?

Authenticity to connect with others

I was blown away by the presentation Searching for Authenticity by Jimmy Nelson, the British photojournalist and photographer. He described his journey where he met remote indigenous tribes around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific, using a 50-year-old 4x5in camera. He couldn’t speak to them, as they didn’t understand English, but he tried to connect with them via his camera. Although he could choose a newer, more technical camera with many options and buttons, which would be the smart solution according to many, he stuck to this old fashion camera. For Jimmy the connection with people was the goal and the technique itself was only a means. He made the connection with these tribes with his humble and authentic attitude.

The ideal relationship with your customers

To create an optimized multichannel strategy and implementation, these strategies should be combined. Technology offers and will continue to offer many possibilities. Big data will help companies to explore customer’s behavior, but we shouldn’t forget the importance of the emotional connection and the open collaboration with your customers.
Customers can be the most effective consultants for any company. Ask their advice, help and support to show them that they matter. Moreover, when you collaborate with them, don’t forget to show them that you are listening in an authentic and emotional way.
Tweetaway redTweetaway: Consumers are the most effective consultants for companies insit.es/1zQEzqv by @sariannevdhoest via @InSites #mrx #newmr #multichannel15

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