/ HK Edition/ HongKong BusinessCustomers trust precious in online social worldUpdated: 2015-06-04 07:57
By Felix Gao in Hong Kong(HK Edition) PrintMailLarge Medium  Small
分享按钮0Customers trust is crucial for doing business as social networks and rapidly increasing transparency have combined to raise their expectations regarding the trustworthiness of the companies they deal with, global marketing authority Don Peppers told China Daily at the World Business Forum in Hong Kong on Wednesday.Recognized for more than 20 years as one of the worlds leading authorities on customer-focused business strategies, Peppers is an acclaimed author and a founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group – the worlds premier customer-centric management consulting firm.Like the Moores law in computer sciences, Peppers said currently, there exists a so-called “Zuckbergs law”.It means that every 20 years, people interact 1,000 times more with others. The more people interact, the more trust they demand in others. As people are interacting all the time, they get busy and dont have time for interactions with people or company they dont trust. And the more people interact, the more transparent the world is. So if a business cheats somebody or is mean to customers in some way, it will be discovered.Peppers noted that to earn customers trust, companies must act proactively in line with customers interest. They should look out for what the customer really wants and try to provide that. “Treat the customer the way you like to be treated if you were that customer,” he said.Social networks have stimulated the interaction of people, and its also challenging the way of marketing. A survey, which interviewed more than 50,000 US citizens, found more than 70 percent of respondents said they trusted what they heard from friends or colleagues, while about half of them said they trusted the views of complete strangers whose reviews they read online, and only about 10 percent said they trusted advertisements.Peppers said people still use advertisements to find information, but they know they are biased. “The primary implication of social media is that customers are using their friends and colleagues, and friends of their friends as a filter to find out whats trustable and what isnt. People look for social proof. And now you can get that social proof at your fingertips,” he said.In the e-social world, the lesson for business is to design its value proposition to appeal to the most knowledgeable customers, to those with the highest referral value.Peppers said customers have two different types of value to companies – spending value and referral value. Higher spenders are rarely good recommenders. The customers are looking for authoritative friends who have particular expertise on what they are looking for. A person who was thought to be an authority by his friends is the most valuable customer to companies.Talking about mainland and Hong Kong enterprises, Peppers urged them to use automation to the biggest extent possible to keep their customer experience frictionless. And they need to show more humanity.”People trust other people. People dont trust machines or bureaucracy and organizations. If you really want your customers loyalty, let your humanity show,” he said.felix@chinadailyhk.com(HK Edition 06/04/2015 page10)

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