C-Suite

Gartner Symposium: Let the Customer Call Shotgun

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With the Gartner Symposium ITxpo wrapped up and a tour of Epcot now under my belt, my time in Orlando has come to a close. I no longer have to choose between attending a session on cognitive computing or one on digital investment strategies, but I do leave with an understanding of how both of these subjects apply to my daily life. And as a consumer, I realize how powerful this is. That’s because today’s buyers develop their own journey with products. No matter what technology a company is investing in, their consumer base will be the ultimate approver.

Entire organizations are restructuring how they interact with customers because as Gareth Herschel, Research Director at Gartner, discussed during his keynote presentation, too many options are causing confusion and dissatisfaction. While companies should avoid mass customization, they still need to have some degree of choice for their targeted audiences.

Gareth provided many case studies on the power of aligning with your consumer. One example he offered was a top telemarketing agency that transformed their customer services department by analyzing caller feedback data. The company began matching personalities of their workers with the profiles of their customers. When customers called in for support, they were paired with employees who shared similar characteristics. This resulted in reduced onboarding costs, improved retention rates and increased customer satisfaction. These improved experiences can have a big impact, and remind us that it’s important to remember that the customer is more than just a data sequence. Create a connection through customization and engagement will follow.

So if the customer has more power than ever, how can companies best guide them on their buyer journey? It’s easy: let them call shotgun. After all, they are on this journey with you. They’re your best co-pilot and even an encouraging backseat driver. Change the relationship you have with your customers to better match their needs first, and you’ll make better, more meaningful products and services in the process.

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