Connect with us

Business

Speed, convenience and communication: Adapting to ever-evolving consumer demands

Avatar photo

Published

on

Speed, convenience and communication: Adapting to ever-evolving consumer demands

Local businesses have never been more technologically savvy than they are today. In the wake of the pandemic-induced digital transformation surge, consumers have come to expect flawless, quick and convenient customer experiences.

Their tolerance when those expectations aren’t met is low. Research from Podium found that 86 per cent of Aussies expect businesses to be even more convenient to interact with in the wake of the pandemic. 

It’s no longer sustainable for local businesses to do the bare minimum in order to get customers through the door. In competitive markets, it’s difficult to compete on price and product, so an exceptional communication strategy that acquires, engages and retains customers is perhaps the biggest competitive advantage for local businesses. Here’s how building speed and convenience into every stage of your customer journey can incentivise loyalty and give your business the boost it deserves.

Acquire them during discovery

Acquisition begins at the ‘discovery’ phase of the customer journey, which is critical to the rest of their experience. If they can’t find you online, you don’t exist. And if they can, but their experience with you is underwhelming, you’ll likely lose them to a competitor. 

Today, consumers use Google to find local businesses by searching “urgent mechanic near me” or “dental clinic Bondi”. If your business isn’t one of the top three to five searches, you miss out on 75% of the clicks. So focus on SEO (search engine optimisation) and make it as easy as possible for them to find you and then communicate with you.

As the demand for speed and convenience grows, you need to meet the customer on their terms – online and in Google search results. Capitalising on Google will boost your potential discoverability and, simultaneously, your customers’ convenience. You’ll stand out if you’re easy and convenient to find and then communicate with. If discovery is the first phase, engagement and retention are where your communication takes on added significance. 

Engage them with excellent communication

No matter your industry, product or service, your ability to communicate and engage with customers is critical to increasing customer loyalty and improving sales. But getting customers to engage – and remain engaged – can be challenging. Fully engaged customers represent a 23% higher share in profitability, revenue, and relationship growth. And over half (54%) want companies to transform how they engage customers fundamentally.

It starts with the right channels. Today, we live and work on our smartphones, but email communication has lost its impact, and phone calls are invasive and inconvenient for many. Texting was already the preferred communication method for 9 in 10 consumers, and 42% of Aussies are more interested in texting local businesses than before the pandemic.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Texting is engaging because it feels personal, mirroring the ways in which your customers engage with their friends and family on a daily basis. Meanwhile, webchat functions engage your audience as soon as they visit your website, so you can help them find exactly what they’re looking for before they lose patience and look for a competitor. 

When you combine the right message with the right channel, your strategy really stands out. For example, consumers are eager to support locals and will prioritise those who are active in the community and support charity. So to connect with them on a more meaningful level than purely a transactional one, communicate your story, mission and what sets you apart. And as cost-of-living pressures intensify and consumer spending becomes more cautious, communicate any deals, offers and incentives you have to keep them engaged. 

Drive loyalty through the retention

Retaining an existing customer is up to seven times cheaper than acquiring a new customer, so your job doesn’t finish at the point of sale. If you can collect customer data – through, for example, a sale, QR code or newsletter sign-up – you can add them to mailing lists and target them with SMS campaigns.

If you’re a dentist, send automated SMS messages when their next check-in is due, or if you’re in hair and beauty, send them an offer or discount a certain period after their previous appointment. Staying top of mind on the right channels can be worth its weight in gold. 

Retention can also breed acquisition, so use your loyal customers as ambassadors to reach new customers. The vast majority (84%) of Aussies are influenced by online reviews, and one in four will read reviews while standing outside before deciding whether to enter a business. If you can encourage retained customers to post online reviews quickly and conveniently, your local business will be better placed to acquire new customers.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to provide exceptional customer communication. The best customer engagement starts and ends with understanding what your customers want – speed and convenience – then delivering that at every opportunity, from acquiring to engaging and retaining. 

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Read More

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Business

At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

Avatar photo

Published

on

At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers worked Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which crumpled into the Patapsco River this week after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its supports.

Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel in the afternoon, and video released by officials in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to slice through the thick beams. The joint incident command said in a statement that the work was being done on the top of the north side of the collapsed structure.

Crews were carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphone photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

“I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” Lichtenberg said from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

“It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can resume searching for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

Two other workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday, they could not get to the construction workers, who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remained on board with the debris from the bridge around it, and were safe and were being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

REBUILDING

Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

___

Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

Read More

Continue Reading

Austin Local News

The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

Avatar photo

Published

on

The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into a key Boeing supplier that is already facing scrutiny from federal regulators over quality of parts that it provides to the aircraft maker.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it began looking into Spirit AeroSystems because of “apparent manufacturing defects” in parts that “have led to numerous concerning or dangerous incidents.”

In a statement Friday, a Spirit spokesman said, “While we do not comment on investigations, Spirit is wholly focused on providing the highest quality products to all our customers, to include the Boeing Company.”

Paxton asked the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier to turn over documents produced since the start of 2022 about communication with investors and Boeing about flaws in parts and corrective steps the company took.

The request goes into detail in seeking internal discussions around Spirit’s efforts to create a diverse workforce “and whether those commitments are unlawful or are compromising the company’s manufacturing processes.” Paxton asked for a breakdown of Spirit’s workforce by race, sexual orientation and other factors, and whether the makeup has changed over time.

Since a Spirit-made door-plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in January, some conservatives have tried to link aviation safety to diversity at manufacturers.

Paxton is a conservative Republican who this week agreed to pay $271,000 in restitution to victims and take 15 hours of training in legal ethics to settle felony charges of securities fraud. Paxton did not admit wrongdoing in the 9-year-old case.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into Boeing Spirit after the Alaska Airlines incident. An FAA audit of manufacturing procedures in Spirit’s factory gave the company failing grades in seven of 13 areas.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Boeing is in talks to buy back Spirit, which it spun off nearly 20 years ago, as part of a plan to tighten oversight of manufacturing in its supply chain.

Read More

Continue Reading

Business

Boeing plane found to have missing panel after flight from California to southern Oregon

Avatar photo

Published

on

Boeing plane found to have missing panel after flight from California to southern Oregon

By CLAIRE RUSH and LISA BAUMANN

 

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A post-flight inspection revealed a missing panel on an older Boeing 737-800 that had just arrived at its destination in southern Oregon on Friday after flying from San Francisco, officials said, the latest in a series of recent incidents involving aircraft manufactured by the company.

United Flight 433 left San Francisco at 10:20 a.m. and landed at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Medford shortly before noon, according to FlightAware. The airport’s director, Amber Judd, said the plane landed safely without incident and the external panel was discovered missing during a post-flight inspection. No injuries were reported.

The airport paused operations to check the runway and airfield for debris, Judd said, and none was found.

Judd said she believed the United ground crew or pilots doing a routine inspection before the next flight were the ones who noticed the missing panel.

A United Airlines spokesperson said via email that the flight was carrying 139 passengers and six crew members, and no emergency was declared because there was no indication of the damage during the flight.

 

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center is pictured in Medford, Ore., on Jan. 4, 2024. The first lawsuit filed Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, brought amid reports that a nurse at the southern Oregon hospital replaced intravenous fentanyl drips with tap water seeks up to $11.5 million on behalf of the estate of a 65-year-old man who died. (Janet Eastman/The Oregonian/The Oregonian via AP)

 

“After the aircraft was parked at the gate, it was discovered to be missing an external panel,” the United spokesperson said. “We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service. We’ll also conduct an investigation to better understand how this damage occurred.”

The Federal Aviation Administration also said it would investigate.

The missing panel was on the underside of the aircraft where the wing meets the body and just next to the landing gear, United said.

The plane made its first flight in April 1998 and was delivered to Continental Airlines in December of that year, according to the FAA. United Airlines has operated it since Nov. 30, 2011. It is a 737-824, part of the 737-800 series that was a precursor to the Max.

Boeing said, also via email, that it would defer comment to United about the carrier’s fleet and operations.

In January a panel that plugged a space left for an extra emergency door blew off a Boeing Max 9 jet in midair just minutes after an Alaska Airlines flight took off from Portland, leaving a gaping hole and forcing pilots to make an emergency landing. There were no serious injuries.

The door plug was eventually found in the backyard of a high school physics teacher in southwest Portland, along with other debris from the flight scattered nearby. The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation.

On March 6, fumes detected in the cabin of a Boeing 737-800 Alaska Airlines flight destined for Phoenix caused pilots to head back to the Portland airport.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The Port of Portland said passengers and crew noticed the fumes and the flight landed safely. Seven people including passengers and crew requested medical evaluations, but no one was hospitalized, officials said.

___

Baumann reported from Bellingham, Washington.

Read More

Continue Reading