Private visual sharing: The next big wave for customer experience

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People are drawn to visual content. This fact likely hasn't escaped you—or most content marketing folks. The meteoric rise in popularity of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr is evidence enough of the power of the visual Web.

In addition, many studies show that translating messages into photos, videos, and infographics pays off because it's less work for the human brain to browse and make sense of images than text. It is also much easier for people to remember your message when they have an image to anchor it in their brain. Add to the equation the ease of using smartphones to take and share photos as a communication shortcut and it's easy to see why the Web has exploded in the past few years with beautiful image-laden social media sites.

Why is it, though, when we connect directly with our most valued customers, few of us leverage these same less-text-more-images engagement principles? Instead, we continue to send links and big files as email attachments in our requisite email follow-ups after meetings, or use file sharing services like Dropbox, wetransfer, or yousendit.

Is it due to a lack of good alternative communication tools? One might draw that conclusion, but I don't think we have a tool problem. Person-to-person customer communications remain mostly text-based emails because today, private visual sharing is still a latent need.

Just as broadcasting 140 character personal updates was initially viewed as narcissistic—or instantly snapping, editing and sharing photos frivolous—customer-facing professionals haven't quite grasped what they're missing by not sharing content more visually.

Consequently, there's a huge opportunity right now to stand out from your competition. Take a cue from Pinterest and tell your story at a glance by adding cover images to content items, along with brief descriptor text sharing your insights and perspective. Bring the expert to the customer by videotaping and sharing a whiteboard session. Organize information in a way that puts it in context and present it visually so that your customer can more easily and quickly make an informed buying decision; you'll win the customer's respect and the deal.

As we all become more and more accustomed to rich media experiences on the public Web, the latent need for private visual sharing will fast become a burning need. Why? Because our customers will demand more visual ways of communicating privately that are comparable to their public Web experiences.

And, customer experience matters. It really does. Soon how you share insights with customers will be as important as what you share.

Cliff Pollan is cofounder and CEO of VisibleGains, creators of Postwire.

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