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  • Writer's pictureJoani Schumaker

Beyond Walking Wallets: Embracing the Human Side of Consumers

Updated: Jul 4

It's been a while since my last post, and here's why. I've been fully engaged with onboarding new clients and attending insightful conferences like the TAA One Conference, where I gathered valuable perspectives on evolving consumer dynamics. This period of immersion and growth has provided me with a wealth of new ideas and insights. Thank you for your patience and continued support. I'm excited to bring this fresh perspective back to the blog!


This post is inspired by a recent session I attended at the TAA One Conference where SatisFacts provided invaluable insights into evolving consumer dynamics. SatisFacts, through their National Survey Data, highlighted several trends that are reshaping how businesses should approach customer relationships. For example, they noted that the top reason renters choose their apartments in 2023 was "convenience to general location," emphasizing the need for simplicity and ease.


Their findings also revealed that a significant portion of residents are now following their apartment communities on social media, underscoring the growing importance of digital engagement and the influence of social currency.


In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are no longer satisfied with being seen merely as “walking wallets.” They are human beings with complex needs and desires, far removed from the outdated notion of human machines designed purely for transactions. However, many organizations still cling to a one-size-fits-all approach, failing to recognize the unique qualities and shifting priorities of their customers. It’s time for businesses to move beyond this narrow view and embrace a more holistic, human-centric perspective.


Breaking Down Silos: Decluttering Organizational Structures


One major obstacle to creating a human-centered experience is the siloed nature of many organizations. Departments often operate in isolation, leading to fragmented and disjointed customer experiences. To build loyalty and foster long-term relationships, companies must declutter these structures and encourage seamless, cross-functional collaboration. This integration is essential for providing a frictionless experience that customers value and remember.


The Power of a Frictionless Experience


A smooth, hassle-free experience is a powerful driver of customer loyalty. When faced with a price increase or a competitive market, customers will choose the option that simplifies their lives. This underscores the importance of creating interactions that are easy and enjoyable. Whether through intuitive interfaces, quick checkout processes, or efficient customer support, every touchpoint should be designed to minimize effort and maximize satisfaction.


Embracing Social Currency and Engagement


In the digital age, social currency plays a significant role in influencing purchasing decisions. Consumers trust user-generated content (UGC) and word of mouth (WOM) more than traditional advertising. Businesses should lean into these organic forms of engagement by encouraging customers to share their experiences. This can be achieved by:


- Building Social Currency: Create opportunities for customers to share their positive experiences with others. Encourage reviews, testimonials, and social media posts to build a community around your brand.

- Gamifying the Shopping Experience: Make shopping fun and engaging with elements like spinner wheels, flash sales, beat-the-clock checkouts, and rewards for social engagement. These strategies not only enhance the customer experience but also drive word-of-mouth marketing.


Smart Tech Choices for Seamless Experiences


Technology is a critical enabler of a frictionless experience. However, it’s essential to choose the right tech solutions that align with your customers' needs. Implementing multiple communication channels—chat, phone, text—ensures that customers can reach you in the way that suits them best.


Additionally, businesses should focus on making smart tech decisions that simplify the customer journey and provide a cohesive experience across all touchpoints. This could mean investing in AI-driven customer service solutions, streamlined checkout processes, or personalized marketing platforms.


Efficient Ad Spend and Brand Visibility


In a cluttered advertising landscape, it’s crucial to spend wisely. Instead of spreading your budget thin across various channels, focus on targeted ads in places where your audience is most likely to convert. Efficient ad spend increases brand visibility and ensures that your message reaches the right people at the right time.


Gathering the Right Feedback


To truly understand and serve your customers, you need to gather meaningful feedback from both internal and external sources. Regularly ask questions like:


- On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it to do business with us?

- Do we actively encourage our customers to share their experiences with others?


These insights can guide improvements and help ensure that your services evolve in line with customer expectations.


The businesses that will thrive in this changing landscape are those that see their customers as more than just transactions. By breaking down silos, embracing social currency, making smart tech choices, and focusing on a frictionless experience, companies can build lasting relationships that transcend the traditional buyer-seller dynamic.


It’s time to move beyond viewing customers as walking wallets and start recognizing them as the multifaceted individuals they truly are. By doing so, businesses can not only keep pace with changing consumer expectations but also create meaningful, human-centered interactions that drive loyalty and long-term success.


This calls for a fundamental shift in how businesses view and interact with their customers. By focusing on flexibility, convenience, and meaningful engagement, companies can better align with the evolving priorities of their consumers and thrive in the competitive landscape.


Special thanks to SatisFacts for their invaluable insights shared at the TAA One Conference. Their National Survey Data continues to be a crucial resource in understanding and responding to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior.


That's all for now! Next up, a blog post inspired by a recent session I attended where SwiftBunny shared some really valuable insights.


See ya when I see ya!


J Schu


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