In one of the afternoon breakout sessions, Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane talked about the customer-brand relationship. It was a quotable 45 minutes that started off with what will surely be one of the definitive statements of the week.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the original inbound
With that thought as a springboard, Svane spoke about the shift from customer service to customer relationships for B2C companies and the expectation of a customized experience for the consumer. The bulk of Svane’s presentation was built around his 7 Ways to Build Relationships With Your Customers. Here’s what we took from the presentation:
- Don’t overestimate your importance in the customer’s life: Svane said it best when he said, “It’s a privilege as a provider of a product or service to be in the life of a customer. It’s not the other way around. We need to work hard every single day to earn the trust and the business of our customers.”
- Consider the entire customer experience: Using rental car companies as an example, Svane emphasized the importance of considering every aspect of the customer experience. Optimizing on digital channels at the first touch doesn’t help if customer service comes up short when the consumer has an issue. Companies must move to a fluent, holistic experience for the customer if they want to succeed.
- Recognize the right relationship and adapt to it: At Crowdly, we use this as the first step for brands when identifying their brand advocates. Understanding why customers love or hate a brand is essential to that brand’s marketing strategy and ultimately, growth.
- Be something actual humans can relate to: Svane explained that, “When there’s an incredible amount of choice in the market, personality helps people identify with the organizations they interact with.” People listen to other people. All the time, in fact. So much so that 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising.
- Be transparent: “The only way to establish trust and loyalty is to lay out the cards. Show your cards to your customers.” We love that quote from Svane. Customers will learn to forgive, but once it’s lost, they can’t learn to trust again. Transparency is essential to building trust and loyalty and that is something that should exist in the fabric of everything a good company does.
- Empower your people to do what’s best: Giving employees the ability to engage with customers as the actual human beings they are is an important differentiator between companies looking to provide customer service and companies that prioritize building customer relationships.
- Put a face to your customers: “Customers are easy to ignore when they are just data.” Svane highlighted the importance of empathy when engaging with customers, even down to the simple shift to include customer photos in sales and service databases. Inspiring employees to consider customers as someone they can encounter in daily life.
Top Tweets From the Session: