Customer Empowerment (© sebra / Fotolia.com)
One of the best ways to build a relationship with your customers is through empowerment. In this article, we’re going to define the term and show some examples of empowerment as it relates to marketing and advertising. This will give the marketing professional a much better idea of how to use this tool to be able to relate to customers and give them what they need.
What is Customer Empowerment?
Customer empowerment is when you give customers the information and the tools that they need to make a decision. By giving them options and resources, you provide a much better buying experience and allow them to determine for themselves what kind of brand experience they want to have. To put it another way, it is when a marketer takes the control stick from their own hands and puts it into the customer’s hands. This might seem risky, but it can pay off big time.
This might seem counterintuitive to the brand new marketer, but research has shown that customers are happier with the brand experience if you empower them. In fact, customer empowerment can make someone more loyal, more likely to buy more often and in general, has a huge number of benefits. We will go over a number of common examples of customer empowerment so that you can exactly what the term refers to and how to use it to become a better marketer.
Customer Empowering Examples
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that customers are being empowered today.
- Ratings: One of the ways in which customer empowerment is being leveraged by some of the major websites out there is through customer reviews. For example, on Amazon the entire user experience revolves around the customer review. If you want to buy a product on Amazon, one of the first things that you will see is the star rating. If the product has a low star rating, the customer can move on to something else.
- Customer opportunities: In addition, sites like eBay and other auction sites practice customer empowerment by giving them the choice of who to buy from and how much to pay, as well as the opportunity to sell something themselves.
- Tell your opinion: Another example of customer empowerment is when companies actually ask customers to offer their opinion, either through a pole on their website or some other form of communication. Customers like telling companies what they want and enjoy the opportunity to let them know about any problems they have had.
- Customer Forum: Good websites have customer forums and even the government is starting to include them in the websites that they build. A form allows people to interact and get answers to questions right away instead of having to spend a lot of time trying to get a hold of someone with in that government agency.
- Contests: In addition, brands are taking into account what kind of advertising customers want to see. They often do this by having contests or by getting customer to vote on which advertising they prefer out of a choice of two or three. Something else related to this that companies are doing is creating advertising that is entertaining and relevant. Of course, companies of always tried to create advertising that is funny, but some companies are actually creating advertising that is much more than add but he's actually an entertainment piece. The advertising just happens to be part of it not the other way around.
- Social Media: The fact that so many brands are joining social media and communicating with their customers that way is another example of how companies are empowering customers. People want to know that the brands that they use are hearing them and that they are able to interact with them in a space like social media. Brands that get their customers involved with them, commenting on their social media posts, interacting with other elements of their profile, and especially, following them; are going to have a lot more success. But the customer also enjoys interacting with the brand at this level and so it works out to be the best for both parties. But the basic goal of empowerment is still present here, where the power is in the hands of the consumer.