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The minute your business loses its relevance is the minute it dies. Toys R Us was forced to close all 735 of its US stores and many more around the globe last year. They have failed to keep up with changes in their industry and in the expectations of consumers.

The Deloitte Consumer Review: The Growing Power of Consumers, a report was released in late 2018. It revealed that failing to listen to customers is a huge reputational risk. Moreover, a missed opportunity to building customer loyalty.

Consumers are having greater influential power through customer reviews and social media word of mouth. It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to understand what their customers care about.

Consumers demand a great customer experience, strong brand values and, often, the ability to influence and shape the products they consume. They are also able to dictate when, where and how they engage with brands. That means businesses have to be more switched on than ever before. In a climate where independent reviews and recommendations hold so much sway, businesses simply cannot afford to ignore those voices.

Research presented at Cannes Lions 2018, revealed that in 65% of cases when a consumer switches brands, it’s because the company failed to stay relevant. So what is relevance?

How to stay relevant?

To be relevant, your brand needs to be affordable, accessible and show empathy. The Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018 by pwc revealed that price, location and trust are the key factors people consider when deciding what brand to buy. So businesses need to ensure they are addressing each area.

Consumer expectations change over time though, which is why the establishment of a transparent relationship with customers is so crucial. Tracking the reviews that your customers have for your products, services and industry keeps you one step ahead. It gives you a chance to learn about their behaviors, habits and preferences. By doing this you can adapt and change as needed, building trust and advocacy along the way.

For a good example of this strategy in practice and that will be Coca-Cola. They go one step further and collaborate with their audience and utilizing user content in their marketing. Their recent TV commercial challenged teenagers to submit short video clips “sharing what it feels like when they take a sip of Coke”. It is a great example of a brand determined to connect with their customers.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s consistent commitment to remaining highly relevant led to a ground-breaking partnership with Twitter. The collaboration allows users to add products to their shopping basket simply by replying to product Tweets using #AmazonBasket. That begins their customer journey with social media interaction. Purchases are completed using the standard Amazon transaction portal. However, the initiative provides a simple platform where conversations between business and customer can begin.

These collaborations are an effective way of remaining relevant to your customers and crucial to the growth of businesses.

An example of SugarCRM

At SugarCRM, they are on their own journey. They are constantly evolving to ensure they stay relevant and lead the way in driving innovation in the field of customer relationship management. Their quarterly software releases ensure our service remains the top-rated in the sector. But every innovation, tweak or change of direction they make is directly informed by their customers.

The new future-focused features we introduced in our Fall ’18 exemplify that philosophy. Their customers and customers’ habits were the focal point behind the improved quotes configuration, clearer data visualizations and improved advanced workflow functions. That helps to set the latest release apart from the competition, providing a simple, intuitive experience.

That’s why they are the only CRM software provider with a positive Net Promoter Score. They have built trust and advocacy among their customers by listening, ensuring they stay ahead of the competition. As a result, remaining relevant in the marketplace.