The Rising Importance of Digital Channels
As a consumer, digital channels play a big part of any decision I’m making. Digital channels, in particular online communities, enable me to:
- Take less risk in my choices and decisions, as I can learn from those that have gone before me.
- Preview how I will be treated as a future customer.
In fact, I expect the businesses that I interact with to offer numerous digital channels. I don’t necessarily care if they are on Facebook—as that isn’t where I want to interact with them—but I do want them to be on Twitter, and I do want to have a place where I can interact on a more personal level with that brand.
For example, if I’m buying a new triathlon bike: I’ll look for the brand on Twitter, I’ll read reviews on Amazon, and then I’ll visit their community to ask product-specific questions from existing customers. From this collective set of interactions, I’ll form a buying decision.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise when analysts routinely report that upwards of 70% of today’s sales start online.
3 Challenges Organizations Must Overcome
There are three specific challenges that organizations must overcome as they shift away from the traditional marketing funnel and toward the customer’s experience:
- Embrace Digital Channels
Today’s consumer is better educated than ever—with information readily available on our phones. All of this rich data originates from digital channels: Twitter, online communities, ratings and reviews all continue to feed the wealth of product knowledge immediately available at your fingertips.
- Everyone Is in Customer Service
Customer service is the front-line leader for helping to ensure a great customer experience. Organizations must recognize that everyone is in customer service, not just the customer service department.
We’ve seen this with some of our customers who now lead internal training sessions for everyone in their company to instruct them how to interact with customers on Twitter and the company’s online community.
- Empower Me
As a consumer, I want the ability to interact with your brand. I want to give feedback. I want to read reviews—both positive and negative—and have the ability to provide my own commentary. Give me the opportunity to share my experiences and embrace my feedback. When you do, you’ll find it is yet another way to impact my experience as a customer.
Understanding and embracing digital channels are no longer optional—digital is simply table stakes for today’s successful organizations.