We’re living in a world brimming with empowered customers, all scrambling to take control of the experiences that they maintain with their favourite companies and brands. Customers don’t want to be told what to buy or what to think anymore – instead, they want to make decisions on their own terms, at their own pace, and in their own unique ways.
The digital world has transformed the communication preferences and buyer behaviours of the standard customer, and businesses need to learn how to respond to new habits if they want to stay on top. From a changing focus on the necessity of mobile devices to a stronger desire for unified communications and collaboration services, the world as we know it is changing, along with the buyer journey.
Exploring the Modern Buyer Journey
In the past, the buyer journey was a relatively simple thing. Businesses communicated with potential customers through things like cold calling and direct mail. Advertisements were created to run on television and radio, and the conversation was relatively one-sided. Now, customers are informed, empowered, and ready to make powerful decisions in the marketplace. In fact, 75% of buyers do more than 50% of their research online, and two-thirds of the B2B process takes place in the digital world.
Long before a customer starts a conversation with their sales rep, most of the research they need to do to make an informed decision about a product has already been done. We’re no longer browsing shelves to make purchasing decisions. Most of us have a solid idea of what we need or want before we ever engage with a brand or service. This means that customers are only connecting with brands when they need them to answer questions.
RIP Consumer Sales – Call Long Live Digital Experience
Today’s customers are connecting with brands on their own terms, in their own time. That means that about 75% of all B2B phone calls today are never answered by a lead. Instead, they linger on a voice machine, ignored for weeks or months at a time. These days – people don’t want to get the same old spiel from companies desperate for a sale – they want personalised solutions that are tailored to their needs. The age of the sales call is over, and new marketing methods are taking its place – specifically in the form of UC.
Unified communications allow customers to choose how and when they want to contact a brand. Research suggests that B2B organisations need to start investing in digital solutions when it comes to transforming and improving the buyer experience. One of the simplest ways to invest in digital for customer experience is with the cloud.
Buyer Journeys and the Cloud
The cloud and the modern UC buyer journey could go hand in hand. After all, B2B buyers who spend more time researching through multiple channels generally spend more money. This highlights the value of well-integrated sales channels. From online purchasing to mobile devices in the buying process, it’s important for customers to jump seamlessly from one channel to the next.
To give customers a true UC experience, brands need to focus on making sure that they have a powerful mobile enterprise strategy available. Buyers need to access administration preferences and reports, account information, and more from the same device. Fortunately, with the cloud and UC, B2B firms can integrate their systems across video, chat, apps, and more.
Because they’ll be gathering data at the same time, companies can then use analytics to access a better picture of the customer journey. For instance, sales reps can look at how customers prefer to interact with brands. The more you develop your view of the customer journey, the more you can offer a more targeted marketing and sales experience.
The plug-and-play flexibility of UC solutions for communications is quickly giving businesses the agility that they need to truly connect with their consumer base. If you can adapt to the preferences of your audience through UC, then the results could include 15% more profit, 3.5% more revenue, and better loyalty from your customers.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.