Your Customer is the CEO of their Home. Want a meeting?

Posted by Lauren Bell on January 28, 2016 at 10:55 AM

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The smart home is here. But are we ready?

Customers are demanding more from every product and service they buy and use. They want more options and information. But in simplified, bite-sized chunks. They want tools and features to make every aspect of their lives easier and more convenient, but if they feel overwhelmed… they’re gone. They’re talking to someone else, or moved on to another product. They want, want, want. And when it comes to the home, rightfully so. They’re in charge. They are the Chief Executive that we’re all reporting to.

And interestingly enough, in our conversations with customers, we hear one thing time and time again on topics like smart technology, lighting and products, and even just, energy efficiency:

“It’s so overwhelming. I don’t know where to begin.”

(It’s no wonder we all haven’t been fired!)

We’re faced with a disconnect between the customer’s idea and their experience.

They want all of these things - a more connected home, automated convenience and a smaller footprint – but it’s so overwhelming that interested customers aren’t taking action.

While there are several factors that weigh into this, we’re going to focus on one:

We’ve got a marketing problem, people!!

When selling products or services that are highly personal (you’re talking about people’s home!) and complex, it’s always smart to go back to the basics. Don’t allow yourself or your teams to make any assumptions.

  • What is a conceptual smart home?
  • What is energy efficiency?
  • WHY do people want these things?

The WHY is where things get interesting. The WHY will vary. And in today’s landscape, you have the ability to talk to customers around the WHY that matters to them.

Again, think of them as the CEO. They don’t want to hear why your product or offering is good for Microsoft, they want to know the value it will bring to their company. Their bottom line. Or in this case, their home.

Leverage your data and media intelligence (or find a partner who can) and you will simplify the experience for your customers.

It starts with a personalized message.

In KSV’s 2015 E.E. consumer research, we saw a stark difference in the values of smart technology.

For example, homeowners (under the age of 45) value “control remotely” above anything else (including: family security, financial savings and home comfort).

Almost 50% homeowners 45+ value the financial savings most. And interestingly enough, this group overwhelmingly described “control remotely” as giving control away.

Understanding different motivations is critical in answering the WHY.

According to Accenture, more than two-thirds of customers plan to buy connected technology for their homes by 2019.

Well, it’s 2016 and the countdown is on.

If we want to exceed this goal (which should always be the goal), we need to change the conversation. We need to talk with these “executive” customers in a new way:

  • Sell the vision before talking details: Customers need to want your product or service before they’re interested in hearing the details. If the details are given too quickly, they’re overwhelmed. You’ve lost her. She’s onto the next meeting.
  • Prove you understand the WHY: Understand your customer and why your offering provides value to them. This is how you will get their attention. (And if there is no why… you are talking to the wrong customer. You are in the wrong meeting.)
  • Get to the point: Time is precious. And customers are only willing to spend so much of it with you. Make sure there is no part of the customer experience that takes more time than it should. Or… Meeting over.

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It’s fair to say that customer expectations of you grow every day. Their demands are somewhat unruly, but as a great marketer once said… “When it comes to the customer, perception is reality.”

These trends are not things you can change overnight, but with an experienced, strategic partner, you can create a plan to deliver relevant content and a streamlined user experience in less time than you would imagine. Call us. We’d love to help.

Stay tuned for KSV’s 2016 Market Research on Increasing Customer Satisfaction. National survey is currently in the field. We look forward to sharing our insights with you.

Lauren Bell / Senior Engagement Strategist / 212.366.4000 / lbell@ksvc.com

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, customer demands, Customer Engagement, Customer Insight, utility communications, Utility Marketing, CEO, connected home, energy efficiency, Home Improvement, Intelligent Efficiency, marketing, personalization, Shopping Experience, Smart Home

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