The times they are a-changin’. At an exciting – and, perhaps in some ways terrifying – pace. But in order to compete, one must embrace and employ the dazzling attributes and developments of our dizzying age. An April 9 session of the 2019 NAPA 401(k) Summit offered ideas on how to do just that.
Joey Coleman, Chief Experience Composer of the Design Symphony, in a keynote address, shared his insights on the way markets, as well as consumers’ expectations and how they are fulfilled, are changing – and what that means for a service provider.
“If I asked you who your competition was in 2009, what would you say?” Coleman asked attendees. A big part of the competition 10 years ago, he said, was stasis among potential customers. “There was this big hurdle to get them to take action,” he said.
Ten years later, stasis is still a factor, Coleman said; however, he added, there also is “a whole new set of competitors that your clients are interacting with." Coleman said that the experience they are creating with your clients is affecting their expectations of you and their relationships with you.
Coleman argued that in this new environment, it is necessary to take a more holistic approach, one that is encapsulated in the acronym FACE:
Familiarity. Clients expect us to know them, said Coleman, who attributes this expectation to the influence and prevalence of Facebook. “The influence Facebook has on your clients’ lives is greater than any other entity,” he said, noting that one out of every six minutes online are spent on that platform. “The landscape is changing,” he said, continuing, “We can either get on the train or stay on the tracks.”
Anticipation. Technology is allowing businesses to anticipate potential customers’ wants, needs and purchases, Coleman remarked. For instance, he said, Goggle's Alexa device is always listening, and data it gathers is used to make purchase suggestions to its users. He also observed that Target uses data about purchases strategically, sending ads and offers to individuals who made those purchases in order to tap into their current as well as future needs and wants. For example: scientific studies show that a woman’s sense of smell changes within 24 hours of becoming pregnant, so businesses target ads and promotions related to pregnancy and babies to those who buy unscented lotion.
Convenience. “Convenience has really changed the landscape,” said Coleman, noting that increasingly, retail and services come to consumers, rather than consumers having to go to them in order to receive them.
Experience. “What if everyday transactions can be made into experiences?” asked Coleman, suggesting that it also can useful to consider how experiences become measurable.
So what can one do to be ready, since the FACE of customers is changing? Coleman offered these suggestions:
Research. Pay attention to social media. “Your clients are on social media every day, giving you the information you need” about them, Coleman said.
Watch. Observe your clients. Meet with teams and discuss how to use information and serve clients.
Convenience. Develop an initiative to offer convenience to customers and potential clients.
Experience. Look at the customer’s journey, Coleman suggests. He said that this journey has eight phases, but most businesses only address the first four of them. The phases are:
Coleman suggested that one should:
- Give a prospect a preview of what it would be like for them to be your client.
- Clarify applications.
- Make it convenient for a prospect to access your services.
- Address buyer’s remorse. Send a personal note.
Ask yourself what you are doing to kick the relationship off, Coleman further suggested, as well as how you will hold their hand when they are getting accustomed to your way of doing business.