This episode was inspired by a recent TV interview that Yanique Grant completed. Yanique will be speaking about the growing power of the consumer which important in customer service. In the interview, one of the main things that the interviewer asked her was, “The conscious customer, why is the customer so conscious and how is that the consumer holds the power in this whole buying process of customer service?” The customer holds the power in the market place probably for the first time and it’s all because of the internet, consumers are very well informed before they do business or they buy from you, they engage in extensive research from your website, to your social media pages where products and services are available for them to get a temperature of what it’s like to be your customer and how the product may or may not work. They’re going to ask questions from their friends, their family members and of course the feedback they get from those persons will determine whether or not they will continue to do business with you or if they’ll even become a customer for you. It is so important to ensure that the experience that the customer has with you is one which is positive and that the reputation that your brand has in the market place is one that is positive. Consumers are so aware and conscious of trends, for example in the health care industry, many businesses such as restaurants and even fast foods chains have had to modify their menus and have an option that has less calories or is gluten free or promote eco friendliness and protecting the environment because consumers are looking for businesses that are aligned with the things that they value the most. It’s also important for the brands and the companies to ensure that they are very transparent in their interactions and their activities, according to a Deloitte study, “The way how the shift has occurred is consumers prefer to pull information rather than have business push it to them.” so consumers and very conscious these days, they’re aware of what’s happening and as the business you have to be aware of this and be very knowledgeable. One of the challenges business face, is how are they going to close the gap when they are dealing with millions of individual expectations, so the business needs to invest in developing capabilities to integrate and track every individual journey and offer a targeted response in real time if they want to continue to grow revenues and profits while also improving customer satisfaction. Consumers have always had the ability to vote with their feet and their wallets, they can walk in to your business and spend lots of money and they can walk out of your business and spend money elsewhere. While the digital revolution has handed the additional power to the consumer, including more information and more choices, we are now in the information age, you can basically google, research anything on your own, there’s no need for you to try to figure out, “How am I going to know about this organization or this individual?” because the information is right there at your fingertips and it’s also a very good point or indication if you’re researching someone and you’re not able to find any information on them because that also gives you clues as to how recognized they are and what is their credibility in this particular field, the consumer has way more choice but consumers have found ways of dealing with this choice issue and many now use tools such as social media or price comparison websites to perfect their choice and exert their power, so the ability of consumers to distribute information using a variety of networks, digital media devices and platforms not only lets them connect with their peers, it also helps to enrich the information shared.
There are so many ways that you can share the information for the consumer to know what’s going on in your business, there are the social media pages, there’s Twitter, there is Facebook, there is Instagram, there is your website, you can have a blog, there is a lot of ways you can get information out there so that you can be more accessible to the consumer. Customers are very concerned about what their family and friends say, and according to Deloitte study, it shows that for the majority of consumers, families and friends consumer reviews and independent experts are the most trusted sources of information, only around 1 in 10 customers find product and manufacturers or service providers to be their most trusted source, so there is no doubt that the consumer has become a professional shopper, their confidence has grown along with a better awareness of their rights. The consumer’s ability to exercise this power has also reduced their perceived level of risk and with consumers increasingly knowing where to get the information they need, more preferred to pull information rather than have the business push that information to them. This is just to broaden your mind and open your scope in terms of how you think about your business, why the consumer has so much power and really think about how you can empower your employees so that they can handle situations, they can provide good, quality information to your customers, they can create value in the life of your customers, because the more value you create, is the more loyal customers you’ll have. People like to know when they’re doing business with you, it’s an effortless experience but in addition to it being an effortless experience, it is also one that is adding value to their business or life depending on whatever service or product you provide for them. Yanique wanted to take the time and share some of the highlights that we really got out of the whole experience and overview of the conscious consumer and consumer’s power and if you’d like to learn more about this particular study that Deloitte did and also gain some understanding of why the consumer has so much power and why you need to equip your team members with has much knowledge and power so that they can serve your customers better and that you can have more business and create greater loyalty and have a better brand image in your market and just dominate.