Customer-centric innovation puts customers and their needs at the heart of everything a business does. It aims to create a positive customer experience before and after the sale to drive repeat business, brand loyalty, and revenue.
For many companies, customer-centric innovation is a key focus. Customers, who have so many choices and unprecedented access to information, now control the buying process. To be successful, organizations must make their customers an integral part of product and service development.
The first step to customer-centric innovation is understanding your customers. And, the best way to understand them is to talk to them.
If you could talk to each of your customers and build a brand experience around them, how powerful would your business be?
For many companies, chatbots and conversational apps are answering that question.
The importance of conversations in customer-centric innovation
People need to interact before they transact. They want to ask questions, get personalized recommendations, and read reviews before making a purchase. Technology is powering highly relevant customer experiences, and the expectations of customers are rising as a result.
These conversations aren't just taking place when there's a support issue. In the past, customer service was seen as more of a reactive approach to ensuring customer satisfaction. But now, the roles of customer service, marketing, and sales are merging.
Conversational apps have made it possible for companies to provide value before, during, and after a sale in an approachable way.
Connecting with people through everyday conversation is a gold standard for customer centricity. Having one-on-one conversations with people on the apps they use every day? Jackpot. Conversational apps and chatbots are making this seemingly lofty goal a reality.
Where important conversations happen
We know that conversations are crucial for customer-centric innovation. But, where they take place matters too. To be truly customer centric, we must meet our customers when, where and how they prefer. Today, messaging is the most efficient and preferred way to communicate.
WhatsApp and Facebook are two of the leading platforms where companies engage with customers. With a combined user base of 2.8 billion people, it's apparent why.
Through social apps and messaging, brands are blurring the lines of where and how purchases take place. And, they're creating meaningful relationships with customers while they're at it.
Chatbots help bridge the gaps
Chatbots are helping companies tackle the issue of scale. They're bridging any gaps in customer service that appear after opening up a new communication channel. What's more, they're doing it in a way that adds real value.
They're using data to power product suggestions and personalized experiences. The result is one that actually improves the experience for customers while saving the company money. That's what we call a win-win.
As chatbots evolve, so do the conversations
Chatbots have evolved to hold media-rich conversations. They're serving up content that would otherwise need to be found on a website. Product photos, web views, buttons, and calls to action - they're simplifying the shopping experience in an interactive way.
Anyone who has used a chatbot for shopping knows they have the power to truly disrupt ecommerce and shopping in general.
In short, chatbots are no longer simply autoresponders. They're personal assistants. The interface has evolved in a way that makes it engaging and fun. This is a real opportunity for customers to differentiate themselves and increase the lifetime value of their customers.
Measuring success in customer-centric innovation
To wrap things up, let's talk about how companies measure success in customer-centric innovation. The two main success metrics are churn rate and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Conversational apps and chatbots improve both.
Conversational apps and chatbots reduce churn by reducing friction. This is important, especially considering that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent could increase profits from 25 percent to 95 percent. They also help companies stay competitive and deliver better brand experiences, which increases Customer Lifetime Value.
Simply put, serving customers on messaging, chat, and social media is a necessity for a customer-centric business. Companies that don't pursue customer-centric innovation will soon struggle to catch up.