Paul Warburg is President and CEO at Xenon arcan innovative technology company that aims to revolutionize distribution in the chemical industry.
The countdown to the end of the year has begun. It’s a good time to focus on the future as we review what the past year has taught us. What can we learn from our successes and failures? What determines how we continue to grow in 2023?
Forward-thinking thinkers have looked around the corner and adapted accordingly to ensure success – now is the time to turn the corner, and it’s time to accept the high probability of an economic slowdown and make 2023 a year of growth by winning at the customer level.
Supply chain constraints and product availability created significant uncertainty and stress for both manufacturers and customers. While the remnants of these impediments and shortages are likely to continue into 2023, inventory levels — whether they’re right or wrong — are at or near peak levels. More indications that the recession signals are no longer red hot, but red hot. The tables change rapidly in growth, driven by demand generation versus product availability.
The shift from supply chain shortages means that the pie is no longer growing, but stagnant or shrinking. How can we win with rising interest rates and a looming recession?
Taking the customer experience to the next level
The competitive edge opportunities will be rampant, and those with already established customer intimacy will find the arena ripe with prospects to capture market share.
Outperformers will displace competitors by focusing on leveraging information and communicating about/or meeting customer needs, in other words, establishing intimacy with the customer.
It is customer intimacy that will differentiate one company and one brand from another in times of turmoil.
You ask and they receive
Think of it like customer service on steroids. Customers get what they want, when and how they need it, and with a personalized buying experience that keeps them loyal.
So how do you know what they want and give them what they need? You ask. You communicate.
Customer intimacy is a strong relationship – and the key to maintaining a healthy and strong relationship is two-way communication.
McKinsey Research shows that 70% of the customer journey is based on how the customer feels being treated. Businesses must connect and communicate to achieve the customer intimacy necessary for loyalty and growth.
Start by asking current customers what you can do to solve their problems and meet their needs. Think of it almost like Maslow’s business hierarchy:
• How can we help you achieve stability?
• How can we help you feel more connected?
• How can we make you feel valued?
Their answers will indicate the direction you need to take to grow. Their pain points become your goals to solve.
And when you personalize these interactions, customers feel they belong and that you are partners working towards the same goal.
The takeaway: If you don’t ask them what they need, someone else will—and if that other person is smart, they’ll provide it. It’s competitive relocation with customer service at its best.
Customer intimacy is important
Our Voice of the Customer research shows that above operational reliability, merchants and omnichannel offerings, personalized customer service ranks top as the most important factor in attracting and retaining customer loyalty.
They need to be seen, heard, appreciated and remembered – and we’re here to help.
We use customer intimacy models to build strong relationships with customers through open communication and personalized experiences by leveraging actionable data. Every customer-facing team member is supported and trained to provide outstanding customer service – and the investment pays off for both our business and those we serve.
Communicating the highs and lows
Open communication builds holistic customer intimacy – and that means delivering bad news with the same effort as good news. It’s easy to celebrate successes quickly. It also feels easier to avoid being the bearer of bad news. But if we avoid giving bad news early on, we’re getting ready to have even worse news later on.
Balancing the amount of good versus bad news in communication can be a challenge, even in times not faced with the turbulence of natural, political and economic hardships. Too much positivity will be perceived as tone deaf. Too much negativity leads to avoidance.
The key is to show that you care – and prove it.
Our customer service means showing our excitement about our customers’ successes and doing everything we can to help them achieve their goals as part of their team. It also means delivering immediate and fast news that we know will be hard to hear. We care, and we prove it with honest and timely communication, whether good or bad.
Because in business, silence is not gold for customers waiting for answers. They won’t wait long to find someone else who listens, is involved, and makes them feel valued.
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.