How Digital Experiences Create Personal Connections

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How Warmth and Competence Affect Customer Perceptions

According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This shift means, to stay competitive and retain your customer base, your brand will need to work towards providing a better customer experience (CX).

In 2017, consumers are using mobile devices to research and interact with businesses at a never-before-seen rate. They now expect a seamless omnichannel experience, where your business is available through whichever channel the customer prefers.

That means the onus is now on businesses, across all industries (but especially in financial services), to provide better mobile and digital experiences.

Today, we will examine why creating personal connections through digital and mobile experiences is so critical to financial services professionals in the modern world.

Great Digital Experiences Create Connections

Brands need to utilize digital channels to foster personal relationships between their business and its customers. There was once a time where relationships could be built between a business and their customers based purely on in-person interactions. Those days are no more. Today, a strong digital presence is required to create personal connections with your clients.

47% of millennials claim that social media has helped introduce them to new brands. A whopping 71% are more likely to buy from brands they ‘like’ on Facebook or follow on Twitter. These stats help illustrate a growing trend for marketers; that research and purchase decisions are made using digital channels.

It’s not just millennials who are making the move to digital. All generations are using online content, social media, and web searches to research products and services. If you can provide a customer an answer on social media, if you have a beautiful, informative website, or an engaging blog, you will leave a positive impression on potential clients. If you can leave a positive impression on somebody, they might begin to follow you on social media, liking and sharing your content and joining online discussions. At that point, your followers are promoting your business for you.

The whole process is similar to getting referrals, only instead of clients recommending you to their networks (cousins, friends, etc.), the recommendations are made to their social networks by liking, sharing, and otherwise interacting with you online. This process creates a personal connection, as the person you provided a valuable answer to, now feels as if they have a relationship with your brand. In 2017, relationships between businesses and consumers are built mostly online.

Personalized Digital Experiences are Valuable and Expected

A study in the academic journal, Brain Research, found that people react differently when hearing their name instead of somebody else’s name. There is activity in all parts of the brain when a person hears their name. People react differently when spoken to directly, and you can use this insight when creating your digital strategy. 

A personalized digital experience will make your customer feel special. This personalized experience will develop a sense of brand intimacy. More than 85% of mobile marketers report success with personalization, leading to higher engagement, revenue, and conversions. As a result, consumers have begun to expect personalized experiences online.

56% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers who offer a personalized experience, and a whopping 74% get frustrated by seeing content that doesn’t match their interests. That frustrated reaction is similar to what would occur during a poorly executed in-person interaction.

Imagine if you were having a conversation with a financial service professional about getting approved for a mortgage. Throughout the conversation, the financial service professional kept bringing the conversation back to why you need a credit card. It’s likely that you would become frustrated by the attempts to have you sign up for a credit card. The same reasoning applies to digital experiences. If a brand continually produces and shares content about topics you have no interest in, you will eventually become frustrated and stop following that brand.

Not personalizing your digital marketing and communication efforts will result in frustrating your audience. That frustration will eventually cause you to lose the chance to build a personal connection with that customer.

Fostering Personal Connections Through Digital Experiences

So the question now becomes, how can a brand build personal connections with their clients through digital experiences? All things considered, there are a few ways to do it:

  • Provide Access to Real People Online

One way you can foster personal connections with customers is by providing access to employees online. Providing customers access to real people can easily be accomplished by providing a name and contact information to relevant employees. Instead of a “black-box” email form, where the client needs to fill out their information and describe the nature of their problem, provide an email address attached to a real person so they can contact them directly. In fact, the most requested improvement from customers was “better human service.” 

Providing access to real people online will allow customers to feel personally connected to your business. Therefore, the customer will feel connected because they know they are interacting with a person. Our article, Don’t Eliminate Human Interaction speaks to the need for the “human touch” in your business and how you can provide those interactions.

  • Personalized Communications

Personalizing communications has never been easier. Thanks to a variety of automation platforms, you can personalize newsletters and share content only with relevant audiences. As stated above, people react differently when addressed by their name. It evokes a personal connection that does not occur from generalized communications. Personalization has evolved beyond just placing the recipient’s name at the beginning of an email; now personalization involves crafting messages that will speak to an individual’s unique interests.

You can utilize consumer data to target communications and marketing efforts on a one-to-one level. Consumer data can come from a variety of sources. It can come from anywhere, from forms on your website to data gathered from tracking systems (IP addresses, etc.). For more information on using data to segment and target your audience, check out our article: You Don’t Know Your Customer…. Because You Haven’t Asked.

  • Use Social Media to Make Your Voice Heard

Social media platforms are some of the most effective tools for creating personal connections with your audience. Over 69% of adults in the United States use social media. There is a very high likelihood that your target audience uses at least one social media platform.

You can use these platforms to share informative content with your target audience. A study by AOL/Nielsen showed that 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. You can reach out, and provide your target audience with relevant content that will help educate them about topics of interest. Getting the information directly from their financial services professional will nurture the audience’s connection to your brand.

Personalizing your digital experiences will make your digital marketing efforts more effective and help you foster personal connections with customers. To learn more about personalizing experiences, check out our article: What is Personalized Marketing? Finally, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ if you’re interested in content marketing, digital customer experiences and how businesses can thrive in the digital age. In fact, while you’re at it, you may want to check us out on LinkedIn as well!