Etiquette: Following Cultural Norms and the New Rules of Serving Digital Customers

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Foreign cultural norms and serving digital customers have much in common these days; they both require us to brush up on our etiquette. Distant countries and modern-day customers have social and behavioral expectations you may not be aware of. So, if you’re traveling overseas this summer or trying to impress online customers, don’t miss these rules to live by.

This infographic from Swissotel offers an interactive experience to guide your behavior as you bounce the globe this summer, but these aren’t the only rules to which you will want to pay close attention. Many business leaders aren’t aware that there are new rules for serving digital customers that can help you avoid embarrassment and the danger of losing valuable customers.

The New Rules of Serving Digital Customers:

1. Demonstrate and Communicate Proactive Trustworthiness

This rule comes from customer loyalty experts, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. Their new book, Extreme Trust, warns businesses about the need to proactively protect the interests of their customers, before they have a chance to spread negative buzz.

With the rising levels of transparency through social media, customers are no longer tolerating the widely accepted (and perfectly legal) business practices that make companies rich off customer mistakes. You know the ones—practices that make money off of customers when they simply aren’t paying attention (bank account overdraft charges and cell phone roaming fees accessed by accident).

In response, businesses need to show customers that they don’t just operate with their interests in mind, but they proactively protect customers’ interests. For example, Amazon uses its own data to warn customers: “Our records show you have already purchased this book. Are you sure you want to purchase it again?” Trustable companies commit resources and use their insights to protect customers from their own oversights and guide them on how to do business with them in smart and cost-effective ways.

2. Make Business Easy and Fun

According to Forrester Research, effortless experiences are the top criteria that shape how today’s digital customers perceive brand value. Customers evaluate service and brand value based on whether the:
  • Basic needs of the customer are met and value is provided,
  • Company is easy to do business with, and
  • Company is enjoyable to do business with.

Thus, customer service leaders should consistently look for process improvements, tools, and technologies that make life easier for customers. There are countless strategies and technologies to help with this. Here are just a few:
  • Customer journey mapping: By studying the customer experience, business leaders can intimately understand and improve the sequential touch points, interactions, and key moments that matter most in the customer lifecycle.
  • Mobile App Customer Service: Mobile devices have created an entirely new way for people to interact with brands, and in-app customer service solutions have emerged to satisfy the demands of today’s digital customers. 
  • Self-service technologies: Digital customers want self-service tools that allow them to answer their questions online all by themselves. Question-to-answer matching solutions plug right into your website and offer one right answer regardless of the variety of ways customers phrase their questions.

This infographic was created by Swissotel, and this article summarizes some of its contents. The original infographic is here.