My, how times have changed. Back in the days our when our grandparents walked 10 miles to school in the snow with no shoes, uphill – both ways, they didn’t have Facebook to vent their frustration. Now, if you have a bad meal or a bad airline experience – you tell everyone on social media. You tag the company, and let the world know that you were put on hold with a cable service provider rep for 43 minutes before they told you they couldn’t help with your issue. Is this a bad thing? No, on the contrary, it’s a way for companies to be held accountable to their customers in real time. Can it be bad for YOUR company if you don’t understand the societal shifts and manage them correctly? Absolutely.
The Digital Revolution has changed consumer behavior in a myriad of ways. It has given them the ability to do real research on their own terms: in their own homes, on PCs with the help of the internet. The new digital frontier has also given consumers a voice in the form of social media. Let’s not forget the advances in online shopping! These societal shifts have altered how people choose merchants and make buying decisions.
Here are just a few of the many ways consumer behavior has shifted:
1. Opinions have gone viral! Consumers talk and listen to each other. Reviews and online chatter make a difference. A company’s credibility is now determined in a matter of minutes by what HappyMom098 says about your company on Angie’s List.
2. Information overload. If a consumer wants to know about a specific product or service, they can instantly search the internet. Knowledge is power, especially buying power.
3. Loyalty is dead. With the abundance of knowledge that consumers now have, they don’t feel loyalty to specific brands anymore. If they have a bad experience, they are on to the next one.
4. They’re not gonna take it! If loyalty is dead, so is tolerance. Social media makes it so easy and fast for a customer to complain, and customer satisfaction levels corroborate this.
5. The playing field has widened. Customers are no longer just comparing apples to apples. They’ll compare the service they received from Amazon with the service from their car dealership or supermarket.
So what can you do to maximize these changes, and not let the Digital Revolution bulldoze you? It’s simple – focus on the customer. Here at Billtrust, one of our core beliefs is “What would the client want?” We think about them individually, and try to create a great customer service experience. By providing as much information as possible and maintaining transparency – we hope to leverage their voices to our advantage in social media forums. We want them to recommend us to their partners, give us great online reviews, and stick with us for the long haul.
It's time to ask yourself, how do you make the Digital Revolution work for your company?