It’s not just the Godfather. Don’t we all want to make our customers an ‘offer they can’t refuse’? Steven Van Belleghem, international keynote speaker and king of Customer Centricity, sure believes we do.
On episode 3 of the 24Connect podcast, we talk to Steven about his latest book ‘The offer you can’t refuse’. In it he discusses Digital Convenience, and becoming a ‘Partner in Life’ to your customers. But how do you grow into the ‘Partner in Life’ status as a business, while also adding value to society? Why has Digital Convenience become the minimum demand for modern-day customers? What’s the future of digital behaviour, and what role will video calling play?
Discover Steven’s 6 key take-aways to make your customers an offer they can’t refuse 👇
1. To create an offer customers can’t refuse, be a ‘Partner in life’ who also adds social value
Central to Steven Van Belleghem’s new book is the ‘Partner in Life’ philosophy: being so customer centric as a business that you become a partner for life to your customers. You need to understand the human being behind their customer, and add value to their day-to-day lives beyond the product you’re selling.
And when on top of being a ‘Partner in Life’, your business also creates value to society as a whole, you will have found a way of being valuable to all dimensions your customers care about. In other words, by combining the two, you can make customers an ‘offer they can’t refuse’.
Example of an organisation with a proven ‘Partner in Life’ status. Steven is a huge fan of Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer, part of the Achmea group. Centraal Beheer wanted to go from insurer to ‘partner in sustainable living’. Customers can now buy solar panels from them. Centraal Beheer gives advice, delivers and installs the panels - helping customers in their day-to-day lives and contributing to a social, sustainable goal 🌱
2. Most companies still have a lot to learn about Digital Convenience
Digital Convenience is the minimum demand from customers today. They’re used to having one-click convenience. Nevertheless, most companies still have a lot to learn when it comes to Digital Convenience.
So from your customers’ perspective, it can only work as a negative differentiator when you can’t offer them one-click digital convenience. And from a company’s point of view, it’s an absolute priority to invest in improving digital convenience.
Example of a company that does Digital Convenience right: health care app Good Doctor. Listen to how this Chinese app brings the health care system to the patient - instead of vice versa:
“Without the pandemic, we wouldn’t have reached this level of digital adoption before 2027.”
3. Remain human amid digitization: use the smartest technology to scale your human touch
Steven: “With the rise of digital, the human touch has become scarce in this world. And because of it, it has increased in value. It’s worth gold.”
“But as a bank, you cannot rely on the human touch 100% anymore. So you need to figure out a way to scale the human touch with technology. At the same time, increase the awareness among your human staff that they can still make a huge difference with their human skills. And invest in their human skills. (...) The scarcer the human touch becomes, the more value human capabilities will have.”
Example: use AI technology to make non-human tasks easier, so your highly skilled employees can spend more time with the customer. For instance, automatically create smart reports of (video) conversations - saving your team hours of repetitive administrative work.
“Human contact is still very important. The more digital the world becomes, the more important the human touch will be.”
4. Leverage the power of video calling, especially if you’re in a traditional market
Video calling will play a crucial role in traditional markets like Banking and Insurance, Steven believes. The more digital we become, the more important human connections will be. And video calling enables just that:
“Only humans can provide the human touch. That’s the difference between sending a chat message and having a video call. You see a human. You look each other in the eyes, there’s a very high level of commitment. It’s difficult to hide, as a customer service agent for instance. During a phone call, it’s easy to hide. With a video call, you cannot hide. Because of that, the engagement and commitment will be higher. And from the customer point of view, there will be a higher level of trust. Traditional markets can make a huge impact in this.”
Example 🔉 This is how a Belgian investment company is selling bonds directly via a digital brochure from where prospects can start an instant video call 24/7:
5. Set yourself a true social mission, a BHAG (a what?)
At one Banking event, Steven presented the biggest Dutch banks’ mission statements. The sad truth? Employees were unable to recognize their own bank’s mission. That’s because when a group of leaders sit down to define their company’s purpose, they state everything they’re already doing - in a sentence that is so generic, it fits any industry.
How to set yourself a mission, the right way? Steven thinks companies should be open about what they haven’t achieved yet, and then set an ambitious goal to achieve that. One way of stating a mission is the good old BHAG, Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It’s not easy to attain, but that’s the purpose - to give your company a clear direction for the 20-30 years ahead.
Example ❤️ Our client Vattenfall’s BHAG is to achieve fossil-free living within one generation:
“In terms of digital behaviour, we climbed the Table mountain this year. Not the Matterhorn, but Table Mountain.”
6. Stay on last year’s Table mountain of digital transformation
In terms of digital adoption, “we climbed a Table mountain” last year, Steven claims. “Not the Matterhorn where you go steep uphill only to go steep down again - but Table mountain.”
How do we stay on this Table mountain of digital transformation after 2021? Businesses need to stay flexible, Steven thinks, and try out new business models. One thing 2020’s big corona challenge has proven is that even large, traditional organisations can innovate digitally under pressure.
And what also helps to stay on the Table mountain, is to keep leveraging the value of video calling - because video calls are there to stay. In the middle of us trying to round up the podcast, Steven jumps in:
“It’s crazy that so many people still don’t understand the power of video calls. They did a study in health care in the US, where patients were asked: ‘once the pandemic is over, what would be your preferred channel for medical appointments?’ The results are amazing: in the most conservative scenario, 50% of patients still prefer a remote video session over a physical appointment. It’s the big digital jump forward for video calls."
Learn more from Steven & 24sessions
Listen to the full podcast interview with Steven Van Belleghem on 24Connect by 24sessions: