Courtesy of the 11/4/10 edition of The Wise Marketer:
Strategies to build a customer-centric enterprise all involve fulfilling the customer’s needs.
Each strategy described below can be viewed as a milestone in the overall path to customer-centricity:
1. Understand your customers
Organizations need to develop a deep understanding of who their customers are, how their behavior is changing, what tactics will drive the best results, and so on. Understanding customers involves the monitoring and tracking of several factors:
i. Factual information: where they live, and their socio-economic and family background;
ii. Transactional information: what, where, how, and why they buy;
iii. Attitudinal information: their preferences, desires, and needs;
iv. Interactional information: which offers they have received, how they responded, what they usually complain about, and what they pay compliments about;
v. Analytical information: their churn potential, profitability, lifetime value, recency, frequency and monetary value.
2. Reward, recognize and differentiate
Organizations have very little, or no, influence over the buying behavior of anonymous customers. These consumers tend to shop intermittently and then stop buying at some point, severely limiting their potential value. To maximize customer value, organizations need to build strong brand affinity through effective reward, recognition and differentiation strategies that aim to:
i. Offer personalized rewards, aligned to the preferences and lifestyles of individual customers;
ii. Recognize customers and deliver differentiated benefits based on their value;
iii. Deliver timely, targeted and relevant communications through the right channels.
3. Deliver great cross-channel customer experiences
Customers today tend to traverse several channels before they conclude their buying process. They do research through social networks, they purchase online, they track orders by mobile, they pick-up goods in store, and complain to the call center. More and more customers are engaging in cross-channel shopping behaviour, with nearly 50% of all retail sales in the US being projected to be cross-channel or online by 2012. Studies have indicated that a small improvement in the cross-channel customer experience can lead to significant improvements in customer loyalty and revenue thanks to additional purchases, enhanced retention, and word-of-mouth customer advocacy. Organizations must realign their people, processes and technologies to deliver consistent and coherent cross-channel experiences and one-to-one personalized engagement via both traditional and emerging channels.
4. Build and leverage a powerful community of loyal customers
Some 74% of the US population uses social media. Customers prefer to engage in multi-party conversations in order to satisfy their need for information and guidance, and they tend to trust their peers more than other key influencers (including industry analysts, academics, and the CEO). They must therefore create an environment in which customers can reach out and interact with each other and share their ideas, views and experiences. The marketer can then use these customer-to-customer conversations to understand, respond, and be able retain more customers, increase revenue, and establish a customer-centric brand reputation.
What strategies will you employ to build a customer-centric enterprise?