Last week I spoke with a group of CEOs in Toronto on some of the critical points in my upcoming book from McGraw Hill – Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate, and Engage to Beat the Competition.
Specifically I asked them about the challenges they were experiencing relative to continuously improving the performance of their business. Hands down the number one challenge (regardless of industry or sector) was how to consistently capitalize on shifting customer and client needs in order to grow profitably.
What was most disturbing was that there wasn’t one individual in the room that was confident as to whether their approach to creating stronger customer bonds was truly effective or not. I find this is a consistent concern amongst CEOs from across North America however the answer is quite simple. Omnipresence.
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Despite lengthy discussions on building stronger customer connections, there were three predominant areas that we discussed in depth, all of which apply to any business. I call these the 3 “C’s” to Omnipresence, specifically:
1. Channels: Customers today have the desire to connect with a business (and it’s employees) on multiple channels. It’s simply irresponsible to think that directing customers to one or two channels (i.e. email or telephone) is sufficient. Being omnipresent means that you have to be willing to connect online, in person, at events, in stores, via email, through online forums, via telephone and in focus groups. Opening and managing multiple communication channels is the key to stronger customer connections and heightened brand awareness.
2. Customization: I still think that Burger King was onto something when they first introduced their slogan “Have it Your Way.” As a culture we’ve become accustomed to having what we want, when we want it. Providing customers with a “take it or leave it” approach is the easiest way to destroy customer connections. Those organizations who are omnipresent provide customers with multiple means of customization to ensure that what they are investing in is exactly what they want.
3. Creativity: The first time I received a birthday card from a car dealer I thought “Wow, what a creative idea.” Today, what was once creative is all too common. Omnipresent businesses continuously introduce new means to put their product or service in front of their ideal customers. From hand written “thank-you” cards to alliances with complimentary products or services.
The only sure thing in life other than death and taxes is that customers needs will continue to evolve.
Question: How are you positioning your business, your employees and your products and services in order to satisfy your customers and set yourself apart from the competition?
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.