When surveyed, 81% of buyers say they want it make real connections with brands. But they also don’t want to be overwhelmed by brand communications. So is there a way to satisfy their desires? Yes; you put the needs of the customer first.
I connected with Surbhi Guptaa digital product manager based in Silicon Valley who suggests that the key to putting your customer’s needs first is to assume a user-centric position.
Gupta, who has 18 years of experience shaping and forecasting key industry trends for growing industry professionals, has helped many companies deliver a top product to their end users.
She recently spoke at the Product-driven Summit 2023 in Las Vegas, where she shared some discoveries she made while working on a messaging product for a major brand. Nearly three-quarters of the product’s users said they wanted real-time notifications as a way to connect with the brand. But when they started getting reports, they started abandoning the product out of frustration. It was a clear (and confusing) case of disconnection.
After approaching the problem from a user-centric standpoint, Gupta and her colleagues found the underlying problem. Essentially, “real time” meant something different to users than it did to the company. Users only wanted really urgent messages right away, not every notification right away. After discovering this issue, the company began using contextual cues to determine whether to send or defer a notification. The result was a much more valuable system built around user needs.
If your brand is struggling to put your customer’s needs first, try the following strategies. Each is aimed at fostering more give and take with your users.
1. Give consumers control over what they see.
Putting consumers in charge of their notification cadence can be a game-changer. Consider, for example, the revamped Meta reporting system that Gupta helped overhaul in 2022. Consumers were given smart default settings and the option to opt out or opt in. They could also choose how often they were contacted.
This change helped keep conversations going between brands and buyers. And what made the premise work was that it was completely user-controlled.
Users will only sign up if they feel that the messages they receive have inherent value and importance.
With this in mind, explore your historical notification data. Which of your posts gets the most comments? Why do users rate them over other posts? Are there ways to replicate their success with the verbiage of your future notifications? Make sure you do enough testing so you can figure out how to satisfy your target audience so they don’t drop out.
2. Automate without losing authenticity or risking violations.
It’s easier than ever to put your systems on autopilot. Plenty of AI-powered systems promise out-of-the-box automation services. The only problem is that you don’t want your messages to sound too robotic or generalized. Remember, 70% of consumers expect personalization.
However, it can be difficult to know where personalization begins and privacy ends. That’s what a whopping 95% of respondents said in a recent survey privacy was important to them. Consequently, it’s essential for brands like yours to figure out how to lean into technology without violating ethical customer commitments.
This is an area to experiment and get hands-on with your approach. Make sure you follow the privacy rules and best practices. Example: Evaluate how you collect, store and use data. You want to maintain sustainable, long-term relationships of trust with customers. To do that, you must ensure that your automated systems are authentic without losing sight of the rights and needs of customers.
3. Adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement.
The systems that work well for you this year may not work as well next year. Make sure you don’t get too comfortable or you won’t be able to turn quickly. The last thing you want is to lose ground to disruptive forward-thinking competitors with better setups.
Speaking to Gupta about the importance of continuous improvement, she said, “During my time at Tesla, I was able to revolutionize car sales with a zero-touch experience. That breakthrough innovation included a direct-to-consumer model and provided customers with the information they needed, minimizing the need for sales interaction.”
Because Gupta focused on customer needs, her projects were industry-changing. In fact, Tesla’s web-based application has helped generate more than a billion dollars in revenue and saved hundreds of thousands of man-hours per quarter. And other product leaders have been inspired to use this model of direct selling.
By consistently reviewing reports and listening to consumer feedback, you can identify and resolve bottlenecks as they arise. Less friction means fewer user cancellations and a better connection between user and brand. It also creates new opportunities for innovation.
As part of this continuous improvement process, solicit customer feedback to inform your ever-changing system roadmap. By allowing users to add their input, you show that you care about their needs and wants. It also gives you another point of contact with your user base.
It can be challenging to get the right notifications, whether you’re a startup or an old company. Either way, it’s worth the investment to give your notifications an overhaul. Just be sure to start your efforts from a user-facing place for the most impact. If it works for respected product innovators like Gupta, it can work for your brand.