Let's consider a scenario: It’s Friday afternoon and you’re at the office researching a purchase your company is looking to make. You use your work computer to find several top suppliers. Your stomach beings to grumble so you search for nearby pizza restaurants on your phone. While eating your pizza, you remember you forgot to compare pricing for the suppliers so you use your phone to continue your research. On the way home from work, a slow leak in your tire finally causes a flat. Using your phone, you find a helpful how-to video from a retailer you’ve purchased tires from before guiding you through the tire changing process. Once home, you receive an alert with a coupon for 15% off your next purchase from the retailer. You know you need to take your tire to get fixed so you immediately call the retailer and schedule an appointment to patch the tire.
In this scenario you researched a business to business (B2B) purchase, located a pizza restaurant, and found a tire retailer– all using your nearby devices. Google has coined these type of actions as micro-moments, which “occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.”
This type of customer and brand interaction is becoming the norm. Nielsen reports that in the U.S. more than 70% of people over the age of 18 own a smartphone. As such, the selling environment has changed. Your customers aren’t going to wait for your sales reps or marketing messages to reach them. They’re going to use their devices to solve their needs on the spot.
Winning companies in this new environment understand that customer journeys are a sum of micro-moments with their customers. Here are four best practices improve your customer experience during micro-moment interactions.
Be Present: In order to win the game you need to play. When your customers research a purchase they’re searching for a solution, not a particular brand. Google found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search and they do 12 searches on average before interacting with a brand’s website. Make sure you are sharing solution-based information and that you are showing up in relevant searches – it could raise your unaided brand awareness by 7%.
Be Relevant: Now that you’re in the game, you need to provide relevant information to your customers. You get one shot to capture your customers’ interest during a micro-moment. First you have to target the right people. B2B companies are tempted to target C-level executives, but 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions.
Once you have your target audience identified you need to send them the right message through their preferred channel. Think of what devices and channels your customers are using throughout their buying journey. An Annelect study found that the majority of customers use their computers to make purchases, but they also use their phones to compare and check prices.
Be Consistent: Winning the game requires great teamwork. Your customers interact with many departments and employees as they move through their buying journey. Those in contact with customers need to have accurate and complete customer information in order to provide positive and consistent interactions. According to McKinsey, consistent interactions are a better indicator of customer satisfaction and customer churn than individual experiences, at 35% and 32%, respectively.
Be Proactive: Winners are able to anticipate moves and scenarios ahead of time. Since your customers complete 57% of their buying journey before interacting with your brand, you can’t afford to wait for your customers to come to you. It’s important not only to be present during your customer’s micro-moments, but to anticipate what they may need next. Think about how the tire retailer sent you a coupon for a purchase just based upon your action of viewing a video about how to change a tire.
Consider the impact of micro-moments throughout your customers' journey and apply these four best practices to improve the overall customer experience.