There’s always something new happening in business. Startups are shaking up established industries while industry giants pivot, hoping to find an innovation that sticks. It’s a time-honored tradition that’s only accelerated as digital technology adds depth and speed to business. Through it all, however, the goal of business remains to fulfill a customer’s needs better and faster than the next person. Amid the maelstrom of stimulation that bombards customers from all channels and platforms, retailers still find success through a tried-and-true method – good ol’ fashioned customer engagement. While the landscape has changed, the principle holds true; follow these four Cs of customer engagement in the digital workplace to distinguish yourself from your rivals in the competition for your customers’ attention.
1. Customer Centricity: Businesses need to build a customer-centric culture to boost customer engagement. It’s easier said than done, but many businesses pursue customer immersion programs to give managers and associates alike direct insight into the customer experience. Insights gained through such programs, A/B testing or through customer interactions – directly or through polls and surveys – should be shared throughout the company. Applications in the digital workplace allow for this; Yammer, an internal social network, enables employees to disseminate insights to key stakeholders instantly, or create polls to gauge employees’ opinions towards certain courses of action. PowerPoint presentations detailing successful customer-centric approaches can be shown and shared among colleagues online. Customer centricity in the digital workplace means drawing on employees’ experiences on what customers prefer, then distilling these insights in a format immediately accessible to all employees anywhere.
2. Continuous Optimization: There’s a lot of technology that exists to improve workflows or add capability to business intelligence and analytics. Big data offers retailers a host of analytics functions that give a broad view on unstructured data from tweets, texts, posts, likes, images and more – giving insight on customer engagement in the form of social media sentiment – as well as traditional structured data like that from POS systems. Big data analytics can dissect past performance, identify relationships between trends, predict future trend lines and prescribe actions based on retail goals.
Continually optimizing one’s IT capability also entails upgrading from on-premises servers to the cloud, if one hasn’t already; cloud servers, located in massive server farms maintained by cloud service providers, offer a cheaper, more reliable, and far more scalable alternative to on-premises servers. This is integral to ecommerce retailers, but also any retailer with a web presence that wants the ability to accommodate high traffic periods like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Office Delve can automatically present real-time analytics reports on retail KPIs, web traffic, consumer sentiment and more, and refresh securely shared content – documents, videos, PDFs, email attachments – based on colleague activity or recent relevance.
3. Cross-Channel Synchronicity: Connected operations is the name of the modern retail game. Multichannel retail has evolved into omnichannel retail, which refers to a seamless, consistent customer experience across all channels. Omnichannel retail often calls for adaptations to the supply chain with a central stock pool that all channels access when referencing customer orders or inventory levels. Customers should be able to see an ad on TV, visit the website on a tablet, create an account, receive a discount in their email, open it on their mobile phone and bring it in-store to be scanned by an associate at checkout. They should be able to order online and pick it up in-store, or return the product to a different retail location if need be.
Businesses can integrate third-party software into their digital workplace to create routine access to back-end systems connecting the supply chain and central stock pool with distributors, the front-end website with databases containing customer and product information, and access workflows that automate responses to customer actions taken across any channel. There was a time when omnichannel retail was a competitive advantage, but that’s increasingly no longer the case. Omnichannel retail has become the norm, and the digital workplace is the platform to manage it; customers will disfavor retailers that are unable to provide this depth of customer engagement.
4. Collaborative Culture: Employees need to feel comfortable approaching each other for advice, or inviting contributions from colleagues without feeling they are burdening their coworkers. People are naturally more productive and produce better results when working in teams than when working on their own, no matter how talented. It’s true whether they’re on the floor as a sales associate or contributing feedback to a shared document in cloud storage. An environment in which employees are welcome to contribute their thoughts is one that fosters creativity, personality, mutual support and problem-solving. Digital workplace applications like Yammer flatten the company hierarchy and foster the environment of equals that helps employees feel valued. Integrating third party media or social media applications, like Facebook, Twitter or Spotify blur the line between work and fun. A workplace culture that encourages socializing and rapport between colleagues improves employee engagement, which in turn is a driver for effective customer engagement.
It’s easy to lose focus of the ultimate goal in the mad rush of developments in the business world. Data-driven analytics predicting customer tastes, high-tech ‘game-changing’ new devices, companies starting up, companies going under – while useful to keep in mind, this is all background noise if you aren’t satisfying customers. The four Cs of customer engagement depend on a company that makes it their mission to implement them fully, and that requires enlisting the human assets of the company and removing barriers that stifle communication, collaboration and creativity.
The digital workplace is a platform that connects employees with each other and the tools and resources they need at a moment’s notice. It’s adaptable, responsive and engaging to meet modern workplace demands and field the applications modern employees use. For businesses that build their company platforms using SharePoint, and especially those that use Office 365, LiveTiles Design is the software of choice to turn a company portal into a digital workplace.
LiveTiles Design is a highly customizable platform that allows even non-developers to build a functional, sleek digital workplace. Anyone can arrange, resize, reshape and embed preprogrammed features and create a page according to their needs and personality. Incorporate messaging, music, maps and social media APIs into your daily workflow, and interact with it as cleanly as with any preferred mobile device.
Integrate Outlook, Word, Excel, Delve, Yammer, and countless other applications with a few quick clicks instead of hours spent coding as in the past.
In a modern, ever-changing business landscape, companies benefit by loosening control over the build and maintenance of their internal platform. The corporate intranet is static and obsolete – going the way of the telegraph, the VHS cassette, the CD. Choose the dynamic, modular digital workplace, democratize your platform with LiveTiles, and draw upon the creativity of your workforce to master the digital terrain of the modern retail marketplace.