6/11/2018

What changing customer preferences mean for enterprises

When you think of the term “sharing economy” you may think of companies like Lyft and Uber, the popular ridesharing services that can be beckoned with the touch of a smartphone or Airbnb, the online marketplace where a person can offer short term rentals of their home.

Until recently, you may have thought of the sharing economy only as it impacts consumers, but things are changing. As consumers have become more accustomed to this model, their expectations of every business and every industry are changing. You may not use a sharing business model, but the odds are good you will have to compete against one.

To better understand how the sharing economy is impacting enterprises, we sponsored an eBook by independent market research firm, Wainhouse Research. The eBook, entitled “Using the Cloud to Attract, Engage & Retain Your Customers: From ‘Communications Platform as a Service’ to Digital Engagement,” explores this concept of the sharing economy, today’s customer preferences and how enterprises are leveraging digital engagement.

Competing in a sharing economy

If you are competing against a sharing economy business, no matter what you sell, two things rise in importance: The need to grow your customer base and the need to manage your costs. The sharing economy is set to grow to $335 billion worldwide by 2025, meaning there is a great deal of competition for customer attention. To compete in the sharing economy, while also being mindful of costs, enterprises are exploring digital engagement, or “the use of new communications tools, platforms, and services that are aligned with today’s digital-savvy customer,” as defined by Wainhouse Research in the eBook.

Sharing economy photo

Today’s customers

So, what do today’s customers want? In this sharing economy world, today’s customers have very specific preferences when it comes to accessing and purchasing new products or services. Todays’ customers want the best service at the lowest cost, a safe and secure environment for engagement with your product and two-way communication – all in a personalized and efficient manner.

Digital engagement strategy

Ultimately, today’s customer has big expectations. This requires enterprises to take a hard look at their existing tools and processes and reevaluate where necessary. 

Key to satisfying today’s customer’s expectations will be digital engagement, which Wainhouse Research defines as “finding, keeping and delighting your customers with new digital tools and apps.” Enterprises will need to employ new ways of thinking, new tools, training and possibly new personnel. This requires trial and refinement to find which models work best for each enterprise and its customers.

Happy customer photo

How is the sharing economy impacting your business?

Not sure how to implement digital engagement strategies to attract today’s customers? In our next two blog posts on the Wainhouse Research eBook, we’ll take a deeper dive into digital engagement and more specifically, Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). We’ll then examine what four different verticals are doing to incorporate digital engagement via case study examples. 

You can also download the eBook here.

How is the sharing economy impacting your business and what are you doing to attract and maintain today’s customers? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags - Communications Platform as a Service (cPaaS), Digital Collaboration

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About the author
Amit Bathla photo for blog author page

Amit Bathla

Head of Global Cloud Marketing

Amit is head of Global Cloud Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.  Prior to this he was head of APAC Field Marketing.  Amit has over 17 years of experience having held key roles in marketing and strategy in both developed and developing economies, including the US, India, Malaysia and Singapore. He holds a marketing certification from Insead, an MBA from The Ohio State University and bachelor of engineering in computer technology.

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