As 2018 comes to a close we are all turning our attention to 2019. As with every year, we set our plans and goals for the year and most business have growth in mind. We look at what we have done and what we think we can achieve. With this in mind I thought I would share some of my learnings from 2018 that can help when you look ahead.
We have seen a change in the way customers are engaging and becoming more empowered with all things digital. Technology is no longer the domain of the youth. We are all more connected and have more access to information than ever before. Customers are more informed and do more research than ever before. We have seen this with some of our clients including Toyota, who changed their business model in 2018 to embrace this trend. They know that by the time you walk onto the dealership or engage with a sales person, you probably already know what you want to buy. You have checked out multiple brands, compared models and know what features it has, you have read the reviews from other customers and know what it costs. So when you do engage with the company, you are more likely to do a deal to buy the car.
Then there is Tesla who enables you to fully customise your vehicle in the showroom from the ground up. A totally different experience but very engaging and very personalised.
We have also seen the rise in the impact of the companies online reputation. Some industries such as tourism have been exposed to review sites for some time and it’s part of the fabric of how they operate. For other industries it is more recent. When was the last time you last searched your own company name on Google to see what ratings came up? I suggest you give it a go.
Often what we find is that companies who don’t have the tools to manage their online reputation are flying blind. If you only have a few reviews on Google and they are from a bunch of unhappy customers, it can really damage your reputation and impact your marketing efforts. Have you thought about your online reputation as part of your business goodwill when you go to sell? In the most extreme case we have heard this year, a couple brought a tourism business without understanding the impact the trip advisor rating would have. It was rated 3.5 stars from thousands of reviews. This is really bad and makes growth and attracting new customers very difficult. The only solution was for them to change the company name and start again.
The common ground is that the customer is empowered to engage with your company when they want. The experience you provide the customer throughout the buyer journey starts before they walk in your door and doesn’t stop. Every customer is an opportunity to create an advocate who will enhance your business reputation long after they have left. They can play a key role in future growth and can also be part of that growth as they come back and buy from you again and again.
So why not commit to make 2019 the year of the Customer in your business.
Have great Christmas and we look forward to an exciting year of happiness and prosperity ahead.
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