Friday, August 16, 2013

5 Customer Characteristics That Will Change the Way You Do Business


Meet your new customer: the ever-connected, always-on, highly opinionated, on-the-move, super sophisticated customer. It’s a new world. Social, mobile, and cloud have spun a tapestry of new technologies from location services to communities to new business apps. It’s fundamentally changing how people interact with businesses and with each other.

Armed with more information - and options - than ever before, this new breed of customer operates in ways that businesses should embrace and leverage to their advantage before their competitors beat them to it. Because in this new world, customer loyalty is the currency by which companies will live or die.
But first, you first need to understand these new customers. Having a firm grasp on their habits and needs will make your job far easier. Here are five characteristics of your customers that are changing the game for your business.

1. Connected

Your customers have no “off button”. They live in the cloud, with the world’s knowledge in their pocket. Information, people, and things are at their fingertips always. They are 24/7 in real-time and assume that everyone else is too - including you.

2. Mobile

Your customer is everywhere - on the web, in your store, talking to sales associates and using local, social, and touch apps wherever they go. They expect to connect with businesses across many channels, in real-time, and make it easy for them to buy from and interact with you.

3. Social

Whether it is asking friends for a recommendation, reading a review, or getting help from a community site, social networks are the way your customer learns and talks about your company and your products. All of these interactions are opportunities to get to know customers better and understand how to delight them.

4. Demanding

Your customers have a more sophisticated set of needs than ever, and their purchase decision is based on many factors, not just price. They are expecting your best. Things happen quickly in the digital age, so when customers have a question, it needs to be answered fast. Sales and service teams need to have everything at their fingertips - even from the road.

5. In-the-Know

With a wealth of information at their fingertips, your customers use knowledge as power. From finding experts in communities to mastering comparison-shopping on the go, they learn about products from many places to find just the right match for their needs.  
Once you have a solid understanding of your customers, how do you connect to them?
The companies that rally around these customers and align their entire business - sales, service, marketing, IT - to engage customers on their terms are called “customer companies.”