It’s actually pretty simple: If a company wants to be successful, it must offer products or services that customers urgently want to have, because they solve a problem or satisfy a longing, for example. And that’s what happens. But there are companies that are more successful at this than others, and just why is that?
Times have changed. Digitalisation is progressing at top speed and changing people and markets; digital communication, for example, is linking people and organisations all over the world, and information is becoming available at an increasingly faster rate, in real time as well. This leads to an increase in complexity. For companies, this means that although half of the digital transformation is based on the use of technology, the other half involves dealing with people. Many companies still do not take this sufficiently into account. What customers expect from companies today as a result of this development is fast answers, customised solutions and uncomplicated processes. Today’s customers are different than those of the past. Their expectations are shaped to a growing extent by digital know-how, and companies must do justice to this. The customer experience must become the focus of the company. This is the only way to address customers comprehensively and meet their expectations.
But how? Marco Fischer, Managing Director of die firma . experience design, and Sandra Hendro, Corporate Marketing at Aareon AG, recently provided insight into the importance of the customer experience for companies during a lecture in the bvik German Association of Industry Communication’s “Members for Members” series. For four years now, die firma has guided and advised the company and supported it throughout the process of digital transformation. Aareon AG, Europe's leading consulting and systems house for the real estate industry, is a pioneer in the IT-supported optimisation of processes in the housing industry and related areas. To keep up this standard, the company not only put its communication to the test, but also its future business model as well.
On the end of soul-searching. The customer in the digital age
Marco Fischer was quick to emphasise during the event: “The customer experience begins with an empathetic understanding of the realities of customers’ lives. If you want to offer your customers innovative offers and solutions, you must first get to know them better.” This applies equally to communication and product development. These in-depth glimpses into the world of the customer help to define the benefit and value promise of a brand. For example, it is important to know what it is that actually leads to a purchase decision. There are various instruments that can be used to find this out; for example, by observing and accompanying customers, or intensive dialogue and active involvement of the customer in the development of brand communication. This gives you valuable information about what customers want, helps you get to know opinion leaders and ultimately helps you identify the topics which are of interest to the customer. In short, these so-called consumer insights open the doors to the customer's world and help to optimise brand messages, but also to develop customised services and products. The exploration of the user’s needs must be very high up on every company’s agenda, according to Managing Director Marco Fischer of die firma.
Customer experience is not a one-time project. Instead, it should be understood as the company’s new attitude and should be incorporated in all business segments and departments, step by step. But what is the best way to start? Large-scale, in-depth psychological interviews and months of writing and re-writing basic strategic documents? You can also simply start with a manageable pilot project, like Aareon AG did. Content Case Aareon
New business opportunities result from a change in your understanding of the customer
For a blog on the subject “The digital future of the housing industry”, a roving reporter was sent traveling across the nation for six months to survey board members of large companies in the housing industry and digital experts. With the help of the accompanying internal editorial team, the reporter produced interviews, articles, information graphics and videos, catapulting Aareon AG to the top of search results lists in no time at all. What happened? The readers identified with the views of the interviewees and had the feeling of being understood. Aareon AG's blog offered genuine added value for the target groups and even led to contact inquiries and sales talks.
Fuelled by these successes, the upcoming website relaunch incorporated a deeper customer understanding using characterising persona profiles, customer journey models and various scenarios for appealing to customers. Among other things, the further development culminated in an online magazine unique to the industry with a variety of cutting-edge topics relating to the digitalisation of the real estate industry.
But Aareon AG didn’t stop there. The complex relationship structure in the real estate industry and the needs of the people involved served as a basis to further develop the business model. The “Aareon Smart World” was created as a visual depiction of an entire industry in collaboration with experts from die firma, resulting in product structures that were realigned and adapted better to market needs. And most importantly, the consultants and sales staff were finally given the opportunity to provide a simple description of complex interrelationships and to present processes in a comprehensible fashion. Now Aareon AG is ready to develop new products, services and applications with its customers in its Design Lab specially established for this purpose, using design thinking methods which are strongly oriented towards existing customer insights and allow all participants an empathetic view of their target groups.
Caption: „Aareon Smart World“-infographic
Step by step, die firma supported Aareon AG in its transformation. The company's decision to focus on the customer, the customer experience, gives the company crucial momentum in continuing to play a leading role in the market in the future.
If you are interested or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: call +49 (0)611 . 238 50 10 or by eMail to kontakt(at)diefirma.de.
die firma offers valuable insights into the customer experience and what it can bring to companies in our workshop “Customer Experience”. More information about the workshop
More information about the topic:
- Article in the acquisa online "The Brand Vision of the Future"
- Review bvik event "Customer Experience in B2B"
- Marconomy article "Customer Experience for more success in B2B"