Last Updated Apr 20, 2010 12:31 PM EDT
Any business that wants to rise to the top of the pile has to do as much as it can to please its customers. In response to this, consumers know what power they have and expect ever increasing service excellence.
Taking customer-centricity to new heights is a concept called 'Brand Butlers' -- a trend identified by trend watching.com.
Brand butlers transform their interactions with customers into basically assisting them in their daily lives rather than merely broadcasting the brand to them. As a result of this close relationship the brand gets subliminally, but firmly imprinted in customer minds.
The concept capitalises on the new wave of mobile internet devices being increasingly adopted by consumers. With mobile internet becoming prevalent, there is scope for a brand, with the help of an app or two, to step in and deliver on your customers' desires.
Here's how to become a Brand Butler:
- Reveal your 'secrets' to your customer: Give customers access to vital (process or product) information that your company until now may have used for internal purposes only. For example, Domino's Pizza Tracker allows US customers to follow the progress of their pizza order from preparation through to delivery via a web interface.
- Create savings for your customers: This means going beyond handing out a coupon or holding those discount sales. This is more about becoming a service where you create savings for your customers in their daily lives. Ikea in France allows the furniture giant's French customers to arrange car-sharing to and from their stores.
- Become your customer's compass: Information is vital and if you can help find want your customers are looking for, they are more likely to trust you claims that your products or services are worth buying. The SitOrSquat app, which is offered by toilet paper brand Charmin, allows users to find bathrooms, change tables, and locate disability access.
- Create your own 'Facebook': Using social networking sites to build your brand is almost passÃ© now. Companies on the bleeding edge of social media are building their own social networking sites. vtravelled, launched by Virgin Atlantic, is a social network aimed at creating a global community of travel lovers. The free service allows members to share travel knowledge, thoughts and photos, and access real time updates about destination events and information.
- Help your customer use your product: Provide added services that will help your customers use your product to its best effect. The Nivea Sun iPhone app is designed to help Brazilians tan safely. The app collects information about the user, suggests the correct SPF to be used on a particular day, and alerts the user when the protection should be reapplied.
- Redefine 'Value Added' Services: The emphasis here is on providing supporting services to heighten the original product/service experience. Virgin Atlantic offers an iPhone app, Flying Without Fear, for anxious travelers. Following an introduction by Sir Richard Branson, videos run through the in-flight experience, while users can click on the 'fear attack' button for a breathing exercise and other tips.
- Capitalise on the 'green': For a certain customer segment, anything that is 'green' attracts and also helps a company minimise its carbon footprint at the same time. HP's Planet Partners Program allows consumers to recycle a wide range of products from any manufacturer. HP provides the service for free, along with an online portal for guidance and instructions.
- Make life easier for your customers: This is all about providing customers with the tools and amenities that help solve their problems. To launch Stove Top Quick Cups, Kraft Foods offered warmth and hot food samples at cold Chicago bus stops. In November 2008, Kraft began heating ten bus shelters to give consumers relief from the cold.