I found Informatica’s online guide, 5 Questions Companies Must Tackle to Attract & Retain Customers (http://bit.ly/ple1Vm) to be quite thought-provoking.
The guide essentially says we need to stop thinking about marketing and start thinking about customers. A first step is to replace the chief marketing officer with a chief customer officer.
By putting customers ahead of all else tour marketing will take care of itself and your customers will do a lot of your marketing for you via testimonials, social media, product/service reviews and referrals.
Here are the five questions to consider:
- Do you believe customers are an asset or a cost center? Hint: Look at long-term customer value (LTV). By managing customers as an asset Zane’s Cycles (www.zanes.com), which sells $1,000 to $2,000 bicycles, does not require customers to put down a deposit or collateral when they test drive a bike. This lets their customers know they trust them. The LTV for an average customer is $12,000. On average, three bikes per year are stolen during the test drive.
- Do you know your customer? What’s important? What makes them buy? Zara’s (www.zara.com) decided to invest in product speed, not advertising. They know their customers’ hot buttons. They sell 85% of their inventory at full price and their average customer visits 17 times per year.
- How proactive are you? Do you look at every interaction with your customers? Are you reaching out to your customers before they reach out to you? Southwest Airlines proactively apologizes to customers when flights are delayed or canceled and employees are empowered to hand out LUV bucks which can be used to reduce the price of other flights. 70% of customers contacted return and bring other customers with them generating incremental net revenue of $1.7 million in 2007. Customers don’t care what department your are in, they just want to know you care. Perhaps these are a couple of more reasons why Southwest is number six on the top ten customer service companies (http://wp.me/pYHt6-pI)?
- How do you stay connected? Zappo’s uses Twitter. They make a conscious effort to Twitter their day away to connect with customers as people. They have reached $1 billion in gross merchandise sales and there are more than two million followers of Zapponians. Trust is the new social currency. It’s how we build relationships and communities. Trust is shifting back to credentialed spokespeople as consumer look for quality from people they can trust.
- What pushes your “yes” button? What conditions must always be met before we say “yes?” Given their target audience of young people without a lot of money to spend on furniture, IKEA decided to design the price tag first. They now have 253 stores in 24 countries. Align your information strategy with your customer strategy. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
How are you attracting and retaining customers?