09/28/2015 01:21 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2016

CMOs: Is Loving your User the Best Way to Achieve Enterprise Dominance?

When Apple speaks, we all listen. Why? Because whenever they speak, we can be fairly sure they're going to say something--or announce something--incredible. But they don't get all of this special attention and consumer adoration by accident. They get it because they don't hog the limelight unnecessarily, but more importantly they understand what the user wants, and that's where they have always pinned their focus.

However, any tech giant that ignores the enterprise causes consternation and chatter. What happens when Apple does that? Some shrug, others roll their eyes dismissively, and others say, "This is just a marketing ploy!" And they would be right!

The truth is, enterprises are consumers, but enterprises don't buy stuff. The people within corporations buy stuff. Apple has still managed to find its way into every enterprise on the planet because they build products and services that people love. Sure, they may not develop the servers in the world's largest data centers or the security packages that most CSOs use, but within the enterprise, Apple is there -- either in pockets, on desktops, or on wrists.

What if businesses borrow Apple's strategy to win and retain customers? At this point when we are pushing the envelope on customer-centricity, being able to earn and keep customers' love can be the recipe for business success.

Love Your Users in a Way that Makes Them Fall in Love With You

dn-enterprise-dominance-brand"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends." This oft-quoted truism by Walt Disney really touches upon the basic tenets of customer service. Interestingly, this is what Apple does best. They have bang-on insights about what their customers need, and they manage to provide it before we even ask. Then, they drop the cherry on top with incredible customer service (for the most part.) This isn't an impossible feat, and while it will take a bit of work, you too can follow in Apple's footsteps, and reap the benefits. Here's how.

Understand your buyer.

It all begins with knowing your customers in the most comprehensive way possible. Data and analytics can help businesses achieve better consumer intelligence. By mining and decoding information about past customer behaviors, preferences, and buying habits, businesses can define their target audience and dig deeper into what they like, what they don't, and what triggers them to buy. They can then turn these insights into actionable strategies.

Show your personality.

Let's face it, customers are human beings, and human beings don't generally fall in love with "names," they fall in love with people and personalities. It's hard to love a business. This is also one of the reasons why old-school traditional advertising is waning faster than ever. It just doesn't affect the modern consumer the way it used to. Tech savvy customers don't trust brands quite so easily, but they do, and will, trust people. They also seek more--and faster--digital interaction from brands and reward those that make them feel special. To truly interact with your customers the way they want you to, you need to shed that cold and distant brand-face, and be more relatable. Adopt a human voice, and drop the lingo and business speak in your dealings with customers. Being honest, human, and real can be a huge payoff, especially today when transparency is a top priority for buyers.

Treat your customers as humans and not as numbers.

You may have "X" number of leads down the funnel, but don't make the mistake of treating your customers as mere data points. Factors like soft touches and enhanced engagement throughout the buying cycle can make your customers fall in love with your brand. In fact, things like the 1:1 approach, social listening, and on-demand support have become critical components in the customer service space.

Make them your partner.

Today's empowered customers are equipped with more information about your products and your competitors than even before. Partnering with them gives you an edge, while making them feel truly valued at the same time. Work towards cultivating a community around what interests your customers, and encourage them to communicate with your brand and each other. Paying close attention to these conversations can not only help you build a better relationship with your consumer base, but it can also reveal surprising facts about your own brand that you might not have noticed.

This really boils down to a simple equation: When your customers feel the love, they will reciprocate through appreciation and loyalty. And they'll spread the word. It's safe to say that with better customer service, you will always be one step ahead of the competition.

Additional Resources on this Topic:
Love Your Customers
The Mistakes Digital Marketers Make and How to Fix Them
Here Are the Customer Service Practices You Hate the Most