With the emerge of new the concepts surrounding the customers’ needs, meeting their expectations then exceeding their expectations, enterprises started hiring people to gather intelligence to better understand the customers’ behaviors, demographics…etc. Then a new direction surfaced talking about the customer journey, for the purpose of discovering the customers’ needs throughout their journey. What is the customer journey? The customer journey starts from the minute the customer decides to interact with an organization until this interaction/transaction ends yet continues. The journey includes all touch points whether it’s verbal, nonverbal and/or nonphysical, and that was what customer experience was all about. The emerge of digitalization and AI solutions were the tools that enabled the enhancement of this journey, customize the experiences and touch point on the needs of the customers, provide them with needs that match their likings and preferences before they ask for them. With all the above being said, what else should organizations do? How can they maintain their customers?
If we focus on Retail Shops & Shopping Malls, and ask:
“What happened to Brick & Mortar in the past three years?
- Shopping malls got affected by the pandemic.
- Customers’ behaviors shifted and started accepting digital solutions.
- Brick & Mortal received a hit!
What are the next steps that should be taken? Begin by asking these questions:
- Should we close?
- Should we change our line of business?
- Should we remain the same, “it’s a temporary phase”
- Should we shift to e-commerce
THE 4-STEP MODEL
STEP 1 – Identify
- Re-identify your customers: Who are your customers now? And not who were your customers?
- Re-define your tenants mix: Does the mix provide the correct balance?
- Re-identify your objective: Where do you want to position yourselves? Should you settle?
Should you be innovators? Should you wait for others first and do the same?
STEP 2 – Plan
- Put an action plan
- Stick to the action plan
- Do it fast
STEP 3 – Implement
- Explore, implement, measure & assess
- Allow yourself to do mistakes
STEP 4 – Repeat
- Repeat exercise until we do it right
- Keep up with the changing reality
Moments of Truth
People go online to buy, go to store to shop
- Elevate Retail
- Showcase the products
- Connect both worlds
- Offer Seamless experiences
People who feel they matter buy more
- Train people more
- Use AI
- Go digital by identifying your customers
- Build the emotional bond
- Customize the experience
Stay connected through digital experiences
Build an emotional bond through physical experiences
Connect & Bond!
BONNECT….. And integrate the physical with the digital
Complement each other and give the customer the choice……
Respect the customer’s CHOICE!
How to Bonnect?
Personally, I would love to go somewhere and find the attention, yet if I feel the attention is fake, I would immediately appreciate a more genuine attention. Service is always measured by the level of satisfaction, understanding customers’ behaviors nowadays are measured by the emerged technologies of AI and digitalization. But we are depending on machines, and missing the “human element”.
The human side is always key, we have all learned the basic of communication that comprises of:
Sender > Message > Receiver (with feedback relation between sender and receiver)
And the message being (Verbal, Body Language, and Tone).
We need not forget the above important basics, we are acquiring all the above through our digital channels, connecting with customers, understanding their needs, and again connecting with them until customers feel that you understand them better than their own selves.
YES! YOU are connecting! But are you maintaining? Are you building loyalty?
Some experts would agree that this is how you build loyalty. I would disagree to a certain level.
I would call this temporary loyalty? Are we after temporary loyalty?
What does Temporary loyalty mean?
As long as an organization is able to identify the customers’ needs, customize their experiences, it will definitely maintain the customers’ loyalty. But what happens next, the minute a competitor was able to identify those needs and provide customized experiences, customers will shift their loyalty to the place where they find better options, preferences that match their likings. Again, you are connecting, but the question is: ARE YOU BONDING?
Are you bonding enough? What bond should you build?
The strongest bond one person can have with another person, is a bond that is based on emotions?
How many of us have had friends for a very long period of time, but when we think deeply about our relation with some friends, we would say? Do I really have things in common with my friend? Why are we friends? Haven’t our habits, preferences changed over the years? Yet how come we are still friends? This is a very simple example… The answer lies in the “Bond” between those two friends, what is the bond that is so intact and keeps them friends although they have different interests?
The bond is purely emotional that was being built over the years and no one was able to break it. It was built on deep feelings that neither interests, nor differences in perspectives could break it.
Touching the emotional side, and building an emotional bond should be the new direction.
How can you build an emotional bond with your customers?
- Start by utilizing your data in a different way, you already have the digital tools that enable you to connect with your customers and understand their needs?
- Start looking at the data from a different angle, focus on understanding your customers’ trend.
- Focus on the reasons behind their choices. Are their reasons cost-based, quality-based, service-based, experience-based, needs-based…etc.?
- Explore these choices and start to connect with the emotions behind these choices.
- Then tackle topics, events, campaigns, experiences that would touch the emotional side of these choices.
- Open up with your customers, be transparent, show them your weaknesses, and share your story so that they can share theirs.