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Smart networking – 3 ways to get to know your customers better

We now have the ability to connect with customers in so many ways: web chat, online reviews, instant messaging, social media. Nowadays, it’s all about smart networking, using media in different ways to understand your customers better and build stronger, longer term relationships with them.

But people are increasingly cautious about what they share online. Business needs to adapt to reflect that, and content must become more socially aware. Highlighting comments, encouraging sharing, getting into social conversations online – the smart networker can benefit from tying in with the values and identity that their customers want to show. Here are three smart ways that businesses can improve relationships with customers.


1. Stand out on mobile

Now that we can connect any time, anywhere and on so many different devices, including mobile, it’s getting harder than ever to attract attention. To stand out, businesses need to be consistent. Focus on their brand image wherever the customer will see it. People expect content on their terms. Personalised for them. And to their own schedule. And if it’s not, they may ignore it.

With so much to choose from, it’s no surprise that many people come across their content in quite random ways. When it comes to shopping, for instance, we go straight online to find what we want to buy – in 2015, 81% of UK consumers had bought something online.

Even if we intend to buy in a shop, we’ll usually go online first to find where to buy, or get the best deal. We like to use our mobiles to search and this affects discovery. Browsing on a smaller screen means less space for choices to appear and businesses increasingly need to factor that in to their marketing.


2. Learn when and how your customers want to hear from you

It’s important to get to know your customer. When they use their mobile device. And where they use it too. Knowing this can change the way you connect with them. Do they prefer SMS, email, or social media feeds, for example?

People want flexibility. To be able to buy at any time of the day. They like being able to buy on impulse. Businesses can track customer habits and get to know when their prime sales times are.

People also like to make last minute plans, for holidays, gifts, even services. Businesses can communicate directly with customers through apps for a more personalised service. Tell them what’s new and what’s available based on their personal preferences.

Marketing campaigns can encourage impulse buys across any demographic: making it easy for the customer to buy with just one click; adding buy buttons to social media; the promise of a quick delivery and free shipping. All these things can help encourage an impulse buy.


3. Get personal

People want immediacy. Both in getting their purchases and connecting with businesses (and each other). The digital revolution has let people do this. Give advice, review things, and let each other know their likes and dislikes. All in an instant.

For businesses, live streaming gives an option for connecting with people and adds an extra layer of immediacy. It’s short and to the point. And in real time. A business can improve engagement and connect with its audience by sharing live events, hosting interviews, showing how they create their product, offering a behind-the-scenes look at how they work or holding a Q&A session. Live streaming is a genuine connection between streamer and viewer. It authenticates a business.


So what’s the key to connecting with customers? To be successful, understand what drives engagement with people. Try different approaches and see what works best with your audience.



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