Much like everything in the world, when it comes to business, things are changing. Social media and innovation in technology have made it necessary for businesses to keep consumers engaged and a part of the creation process.
A recent article on the Harvard Business Review blog highlighted ways to make your organization into a customer platform. The idea behind this effort is to keep customers happy by giving them what they want and making them feel a part of the organization. The four ideas below provided in the article, can be used in your business as a way to keep the community you build around your organization strong and build your organization’s brand.
Use key brand management and reputation management tools to provide for your consumers.
- Allow customers to create their own experiences: IKEA and Apple have found ways to allow customers to create their own experience using their products. IKEA provides furniture that can be assembled in different ways based on the taste of the customer, while Apple allowed customers to create apps to personalize their Apple products.
What are some ways your company can tailor your product offering to fit the needs of your consumers? One of the best ways to determine what changes need to be made is by listening to the consumer. Discover how they are using the products and what ways the product could be enhanced to meet their needs.
- Create communities for your customers to engage and create with each other: Lego made a significant change in their their business strategy as the result of their customer’s conversations in a community forum.
There are thousands of online communities and forums that customers use to share information with one another. Try to get involved with the communities that your consumers belong to and create a community within your website. Forums and communities provide a two-way communication opportunity for your business and customers. By creating a relationship with your customers you are developing a brand that is connected to its customers, a brand they can appreciate.
- Reinvent the wheel and meet the needs of consumers: To better serve its customers Aflac created mobile apps for their employees that allowed them to detach from the calling centers and desktop computers. The ability to be mobile allowed better engagement with their consumers.
What are some ways that your business can better serve your consumers? Ideas like creating an online store for your boutique’s website or creating a mobile website that allows customers to navigate your website easily are small steps that can make your small business more accessible to your consumers and meet their needs.
- Observe modifications that your consumers make to your products and provide the needed changes: Recently, Twigs and Honey, a unique accessories designer, discovered that many of their clients were purchasing two of the same product in order to create a double-layer blush veil. Rather than ignoring the trend Twigs and Honey created the double layered veil and sold it, saving their customers time and $45.
By communicating and engaging with your consumers through social media, forums and communities and in-person you will learn how your product is being used in their lives. Engagement with your consumers shows them that you care about their needs and that they were not a simple sale. If your company desires to fulfill the needs of the consumers you must observe how their needs are being met.
image credit: by massdistraction on flickr