It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago, the internet was just coming into existence. It has revolutionized how we live our lives and continues to do so. One of the biggest changes in recent decades is how customers interact with companies.
For a company to have customer loyalty today, it needs an excellent product or service and great customer service, which includes quick response times on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter and a mobile-friendly website design.
With this being the era of information, there have been many pros and cons for businesses and consumers.
The Impact of Social Media and Information on Consumerism
The biggest difference between consumerism and customer interaction over the last 20 years is undoubtedly the ease of access to information.
Social media has enabled instantaneous spreading of information through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Here we will break down how social media has affected the way that businesses interact with consumers.
Online visibility has drastically increased for businesses. If a business is not in a great location, this is much less important than it would have been 20 years ago.
Social media has allowed businesses to place their brand and product in front of millions of people with the click of a few buttons.
Increased Demand for Transparency
With information constantly spreading, businesses need to remain more transparent than ever. One critical review, one bad storyline or headline, and your business can be “canceled” forever.
Marketing Strategies and Campaigns
Social media marketing is the easiest way to promote a business.
The change in marketing strategies and campaigns is that companies now focus more on increasing sales than just getting customers.
Online marketing can have many advantages and disadvantages, not only for businesses but also for consumers.
The ease of posting advertisements has made it more challenging for businesses to have repeat and lifelong customers.
Increasing Customer Choice: What Does It Mean?
One of the biggest impacts of the ease of spreading information on consumerism is the consumer’s newfound ability of choice.
Twenty years ago, if a consumer was looking to buy a tee-shirt, they had to drive or walk to the nearest store to purchase that shirt. If a business was in a location free of competitors, the clothing store essentially had the business of everyone nearest them.
If there was only one store that consumers had access to, then client-facing aspects such as customer service were far less important for the business’s success.
Fast forward 20 years, and now customers have thousands of different choices and options without having to leave their own homes.
If a company has poor customer service, that customer will simply go elsewhere.
How Can You Increase Customer Loyalty?
Knowing that customers have endless options at their disposal, how can businesses increase customer loyalty?
Setting up loyalty programs for your business is one of the best ways to do this. Rewarding them for their loyalty provides customers with a sense of accomplishment and reassures them that they are appreciated.
Offering coupons to those who follow you on social media is another way to gain customer loyalty. Reward customers after the purchase if there’s a coupon code available. Send them an email or invite them into your store, where you have an in-store offer waiting for them.
Another strategy to increase customer loyalty is through the use of referral programs. It may sound counterintuitive, but giving away something extra without cost often encourages more referrals than when there’s payment involved.
Using Information to Protect Your Business
One key advantage of having access to more information than any other time in human history is the ability to KYC (Know Your Customer).
Know Your Customer (KYC) is also incredibly important for financial institutions and banks because it helps businesses understand their clients. If a business truly knows its customers, fraud, identity theft, and other illegal activities are less likely to happen.
Know Your Customer is a concept that has been around for decades, but it’s never had more importance than in the digital age, where customers are always on their phones looking for deals to spend money they don’t have.
Businesses need KYC information from clients to keep up with data protection laws such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
A lot has changed over the last 20 years in the way businesses interact with customers. The ease with which consumers can now look up information and find alternative deals or offers has made it increasingly challenging for businesses to gain lifelong clients.
While there have been many advantages for businesses with newfound social media and information, many challenges have also arisen.
In the next 2 decades, it will be interesting to see how customer interactions have changed and if businesses can adapt quickly enough to keep up with the technological changes.