Businesses gleefully jump on the newest technology bandwagons, when what they must be asking, according to Scott Monty, the CEO and founder of Scott Monty Strategies, is: Should we? Instead of racing ahead running where technology leads us, it may be wiser to look to the past and appropriate deep truths about humanity, so that we may be using digital platforms to enhance the customer experience, rather than alienate them.
Monty describes social media as the cocaine of the communications industry – because it amplifies your true nature and companies are so busy trying to get on all the platforms that they’re not thinking about what they are doing and whether it may be actually harming, rather than helping their brand.
The customer experience comes down to two crucial things: Trust and relationships and what Monty sees is that a lot of companies aren’t carefully using technology platforms it to build these values from customers; often it’s the opposite, where technology is the catalyst for a significant breach of trust, such as in the case of Ashley Madison. In that instance, not only was there a major data breach, but in the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that of the 54 million profiles, only 12,000 were actually women – the rest were men or bots.
And this isn’t just an isolated case. As a society, we have trust issues. A recent survey found that levels of trust are low with governments, NGOs, business and media, a problem exacerbated by technology because there is a wall between the customer and the business.
Businesses can forget that they are talking to real people with needs, loves, hates and frustrations, yet they litter our screens with click-through banner ads, even though they only have a 0.12% success rate. Monty puts it more bleakly: That’s a 99% failure rate.
He also looked to Cicero, to get to the crux of where businesses can fail – and succeed in the digital space: If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words.
In simpler terms, businesses must listen and understand their customers. It’s not enough to have a digital presence, haranguing people with your message, in order to have a very satisfying relationship you must use the ARC approach:
A – Be Authentic (you need to have a real human behind the comments)
R – Be Responsive
C – Be Compelling (It has to be great content)
It’s not just about selling your customers a one-off product; it’s about using social media to create an ongoing relationship. Ironically technology can be the platform for companies not only to build these relationships, but also to demonstrate and celebrate their humanity and foster transparency and trust in the process.