Let’s get a few things straight about goldfish. Largely misunderstood and almost universally disparaged, we continually disrespect them through minimal care and feeding, subpar living conditions, and making fun of their memory.
Of all these urban myths (perpetuated for decades), the one most inaccurate and telling is that goldfish will only grow as large as the container they find themselves swimming in. False. When properly cared for, goldfish don’t stop growing. Unlike humans, they are indeterminate growers; they grow until they die. What stunts a fish’s growth is a poor-quality environment and improper care.
But many businesses didn’t read the writing on the aquarium wall. With a lot of fish in the sea, and an ever-growing number of goldfish being purchased as pets, retailers consistently put their customer experience
in a proverbial bowl, centering their attention on the in-person/in-store experience, perfecting the greetings, the upsells, the “thank-yous for being a customer.” These brands consistently target, train and retain employees who
share in the company’s mission to create and nurture exceptional in-store experiences to customers. But in 2020, the goldfish jumped out of the fishbowl. Digital multichannel came into its own and evolved into a thriving, expansive
engagement environment, independent of the fishbowl.
Suffice it to say, all along, the customer experience could have used a little more “water” in order to thrive.
Due the perfect confluence of technological, social and economic factors, customer engagement has changed dramatically. Consumers now engage with their favorite brands in ways that are comfortable and largely decided by them: text, Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, TikTok, just to name a few. All of this in addition to their experience at the register, or at the table, or in front of the fitting room mirror. The in-person brand experience has now transitioned to merely a supplement to a digital relationship.
Consumers innately want experience continuity. They want simple things like consistency across experiences. Without knowing it they want the ability to jump to bigger bowl while feeling like they still exist in a small one. Here’s how brands can continue to give it to them:
Extend the In-Person Experience
There is no reason why a brand can’t duplicate the charm and rapport customers have with a clerk or barista on digital channels. Extend the experience on Twitter with informational updates on their favorite beverages or drop them a message on Whatsapp about the origin of my favorite roast… Personalize it, extend it, make it more frequent.
Ignite your community
Connect fellow community members with each other, let them share designs, application ideas. Help them find people who have the same challenges they do and create a forum to let them engage and exchange. Not only does it create brand stickiness, it also provides a plethora of useful data that can be used in product development and marketing.
Boil Everything Down to One Conversation
Engagement creates loyalty and loyalty keeps customers; but nothing says you aren’t committed to your customers like when they text you about a one-minute overcharge and you have no idea what they are talking about. You need to be committed to integrating and connecting all conversations into an omnichannel experience. Let your customers start a conversation on Twitter and pick up where they left off on text all the while giving them the easy option of calling an agent at any time during the interaction.