Today’s savvy customer has more options than ever when it comes to the tools and resources available to make purchase decisions. With little research, the modern consumer can find the exact information to answer their questions about products and services, as well as the brands that supply them. The resources your customer is after are out there, whether your brand dispenses it or not. Why not be the source of empowerment for prospective customers rather than an obstacle holding them back?
Let’s explore how empowering your customers can benefit your business, as well as which tools in your company’s arsenal can create opportunities for customer empowerment.
What Is Customer Empowerment?
Customer empowerment is the process of providing your customers with the information and digital tools they need to make well-informed decisions. Giving them these resources sets the customer up to make their own determination on how they interact with your brand, from initial discovery through their first purchase and then into loyal advocates.
Many businesses may not realize that the modern customer has infinite sources to pull from when making their purchase decisions. Since your potential customers will likely seek out the information they need, why not proactively provide them with it yourself, rather than giving the impression your company has something to hide? The modern customer is begging for authenticity and transparency — a step as simple as honest information sharing can go a long way.
Benefits of Customer Empowerment
Customer empowerment is a valuable tool for building true customer loyalty. When customers feel supported by a business, they can rely on your brand for decision-making information. Providing relevant resources that align with your target audience’s needs can grow your brand by instilling a sense of trust in new customers and reduce churn, allowing you to retain existing customers.
Tools to Bolster Customer Empowerment
Even if customer empowerment is an idea that is new to your CX strategy, your customer service repository may already be equipped with all the tools you need to integrate it throughout every step of the customer journey.
Self-service tools put the power of troubleshooting back into the customers’ hands. Rather than relying on your support team, self-service tools empower your customer to ask important questions and discover the solutions without ever speaking to an agent. While this method of customer empowerment may feel as though you’re stepping back, it has actually become one of the most popular support strategies among consumers. In fact, 88% of consumers expect brands to have at least one self-service option as part of their support experience.
Self-service tools can include knowledge bases, robust FAQ pages, community forums and AI-powered chatbots. Self-service resources create a win-win situation: customers no longer have to wait on hold until regular business hours to find the information they want, and your agents can refocus their energy on more complex issues that require a human touch. Plus, AI-powered self-service tools can provide extensive analytics that help brands make informed decisions when evaluating their CX strategies.
Social Media Engagement
Your customers are on social media, so why not meet them on their preferred platform? Social media has become a place for consumers to create and exchange information while the rest of the world observes and learns. Nearly every brand is leveraging social media as a way to connect with its audience in their most comfortable digital environment. This reliance on social media leads to hyper-aware customers that are monitoring brands for authentic engagement and connection.
The growth of social media has been a pivotal change in customer empowerment strategies. Studies are now showing that 64% of people would rather message than call a business. An incredibly versatile resource, brands can empower consumers through social media in a number of ways. Not only should certain agents be dedicated to direct messages, but there are also opportunities for customers to have their questions answered without interacting with the brand in real-time. Social media is an effective platform to turn your most common questions and concerns into proactive posts that answer new customers’ questions before they even have a chance to ask.
Many brands don’t fully understand how to use reviews to empower their customers to make informed purchase decisions. As an impartial medium that is not controlled by the brand, prospective customers can trust existing customers to be honest and transparent about their experiences. Reviews empower existing customers to encourage others, while also empowering potential customers to feel confident in the accuracy of what they’ve learned.
Brands should leverage reviews as an opportunity to interact with customers. A concerned customer left a review complaining about slow shipping times? Respond with sincere apologies and offer to work with them personally for future purchases. Another customer left a positive review expressing excitement about the product? Respond with your happiness and gratitude to show your brand appreciates customer loyalty.
While customer reviews and customer feedback may seem like two sides of the same coin, they can both be used in different ways to empower customers. While reviews are left on a public platform, collecting customer feedback is a proactive mission designed to encourage customers to let you know what they think — good or bad. While the idea of asking for no-holds-barred feedback may scare some brands, the positive and negative insights are equally important.
Customers who provide positive feedback can feel empowered to speak their minds, and these are the customers that can be nurtured into vocal advocates for your brand. Those who provide negative feedback, on the other hand, can also feel empowered by being given the opportunity to be heard and make a difference for future customers. Utilizing all feedback to evaluate current strategies and adjust accordingly showcases to your customers that their empowerment is important to your brand and a real factor in business decisions.
Get Started with Customer Empowerment Solutions
The modern customer holds the power, whether your brand wants to admit it or not. Rather than working to take that power away, the smartest way to bolster new and ongoing loyalty is to encourage customer empowerment through self-service tools, social media and other strategic methods.
Kustomer’s technology and solutions can help expand your tools for customer empowerment with AI and automation. Learn how customer self-service and intelligent automation can deliver on the growing consumer demands with Kustomer’s “The CX Need for Speed” guide.