Why brands must deliver added value

Customer loyalty is more important than ever. Besides good products, satisfied customers are the most important asset that determines success. The Corona crisis is all about cultivating customer relationships – so that consumers remain loyal throughout the crisis. The success formula: customer-centric thinking, improving the digital customer experience and focusing on the customer needs. Communities strengthen the digital customer experience. In order to retain customers in the corona crisis, brands must deliver added value.

Customer Centricity – Listen to your customers!

In difficult times it is important to listen to others and help them. It brings brands and consumers closer together. For this reason, a brand must understand the customer’s situation and their problems. Consumers everyday life has changed: they work in home office and look after their children at the same time. Others have time and tackle their own projects, such as a new sport or the postponed renovation of their home. Further the needs and requirements for products and services have also changed. Customers are still looking for exchange and information, but this is now happening more online and sometimes on other topics.

Customer centricity means understanding customer needs and serving them. Good knowledge of the defined target group is more important than ever!

If you manage to identify and serve consumer needs, the customer will pay back with trust. Markus Weber of Muuuh Consulting sums it up at ibusiness: “If you listen to the voice of the customer now and credibly communicate that you are a reliable partner with your own resources, you will be able to positively develop customer relationships through and beyond the crisis.”

Seek the exchange with customers and strengthen the customer experience

Find out in which everynday topics your brand can support with solutions. Content generated by customers is essential. This User Generated Content (UGC) delivers direct opinions, wishes, and needs. This is why a own interactive customer platform is the best way to generate this information and to address users. Especially in times of shop closures. It is important to have a digital interface to the customer.

A brand community is a digital feedback channel through which consumers exchange information on current topics within the brand context. This gives customers a voice and allows you to listen to them. For example, to the father who gives feedback on learning material in a community of a teaching materials provider. Or the home worker who wants to fix his bike and is looking for tips in a community of a bike manufacturer. Use UGC to understand these customer needs.

Owned Media – Give customers a home!

The basis for building such a community or “world of digital experience” is your website. A brand has full data sovereignty only here. Therefore, they can determine user flows and collect valuable information about their target group. This is where they can communicate with their customers. In addition, the exchange via the brand website has a positive effect on customer loyalty. The interaction takes place in your brand environment. Not in the confusing timeline of a social network.

This increases consumers’ brand identification and intensifies the impact of brand messages. Here you are not competing with the digital offers of your competitors. It is all about the issues of your customers and your brand. Our Customer Experience Report 2019 shows that the topic of interaction is becoming increasingly important for brand decision-makers. Interactive content formats are forecast to grow by 47% in the next years.

Communities offer value all along the customer journey

Brands can delight customers regardless of the stationary trade. For example, customers who only want to inform themselves for future purchases because they are be very price sensitive due to short-time work or recession. Or those who are afraid of an imminent infection and avoid retail outlets.

Interactive customer platforms can map the services of stationary trade such as consulting, answering questions and providing product information online.

In addition, reviews from other customers have a positive effect on the purchase decision. They are more credible than product communication and advertising messages. Finally, interactive communities are also relevant in the after-purchase phase. Customers can easily help others with more expertise than most salespeople. This is the simplest and most authentic form of customer support.

Addressing target groups along the purchase decision and tying them to the brand

Our interactive customer platforms provide the basis for emerging from the crisis with a strategic, customer-centric approach and better customer experience. Through the strong link between online and offline, they have a lasting effect and pave the way for the omnichannel brand.

Especially for brands that are working on an omnichannel strategy.  As well as for those who consider expanding their digital offering. We have developed the #staywithyourcustomers initiative together with KPS AG, the leading consulting firm for the consumer goods industry and retail. We set up community platforms for 10 brands free of charge and support them in the roll-out. Click here to learn more.

Customer Experience – Become the brand of trust

But how do consumers behave in the Corona crisis? Peter Kuhlmann from the Omnicom Media Group observes “a great need for dialogue among end consumers, coupled with a growing demand for entertainment and inspiration”. For brands, this means focusing the customer experience on customer need and charging it positively. This works when the brand offers added value to the customer’s relevant topics. Show your customers that you understand their current situation and want to support them. Avoid overly offensive advertising messages and focus on authenticity.

High customer trust and long-term loyalty are based on a positive customer experience. This includes all the experiences that customers have with the brand and its products. Now that business is limited and daily life takes place at home, brands must implement online solutions. This helps to maintain customer relationships and loyalty. Communities strengthen this digital customer experience. Those who react quickly and communicate with their customers will continue to benefit from this after the crisis.

A positive example of how brands can benefit from communities in times of Corona is innogy. The innogy community enabled the brand to react quickly to their customer’s situation and within the brand context. Since many customers work from home, innogy is letting consumers test a kit of smart home products on its own interactive platform until May 11th. The package consisting of an Amazon Echo Dot, Bluetooth headphones and an indoor camera etc.  As a result this offers added value for the testers as well as for newbies who are new to the subject.

innogy benefits from authentic reviews and user feedback through the test reports. In this way, the community strengthens the digital customer experience. innogy thus shows: Customer-centered thinking means understanding the needs of your consumers and providing them with suitable offers. You can read more about this in our case study.

Do you want to know more? Then feel free to apply directly as a candidate for one of the #staywithyourcustomer packages. Because now is the time to act and find ways out of the crisis together with your customers.