Principles of Customer Closeness: Treat customers as assets

In a continuing series, Oliver Gwynne delves deeper into CX for brands and the concept of customers as assets. This provides a fabulous context for those who are conducting customer research and should help them structure their work so that it has more impact.

In today’s ever-changing landscape most organisations are focused on pivoting to new opportunities and trying to operate in a flexible and agile manner. The consequence of this is that long-term planning often falls by the wayside. As such it can be difficult to think about how your relationship with any given customer will evolve in, say, five or ten years. True customer closeness relies on your organisation seeing customers as assets that will appreciate in time.

Make it measurable

In order to quantify the impact of customer closeness, you have to put in place trackable, quantifiable metrics. The obvious ones when considering our customers as assets are; cost of acquisition, lifetime value, cost of relationship and churn rate. These will give you a good grounding as to the value of different segments to your organisation and help you to focus on the long-term picture of customers rather than the immediate sale.

Behavioural Analytics

Building on these metrics, it’s then important to unlock consumer behaviours with your brand. One aspect of this which may be difficult to uncover is a consumer’s path to purchase. In today’s multi-channel, fragmented sales pipeline, it can be difficult to uncover a customer’s true point of entry, and it’s very likely they will have had several brand interactions on multiple fronts before you become aware of them. Organisations are guilty of coming up with idealised versions of customer journeys or getting lost in detail. Try and reference data from as many touchpoints as possible, create journeys with simple steps and when considering the longevity of that customer, consider how what brought them in can help to retain them. 

Change your culture

As we said at the top, typically organisations put a lot of focus on new customers and often retention is purely seen as a formula of good service and regular communication. Changing culture is never easy but should be about driving the behaviours you want to see in your organisation through reward. As an example, if your sales team are rewarded based on the potential monetary size of a deal then it’s likely they will chase bigger prospects, meaning a longer lead time and a chance that smaller opportunities will be overlooked. Driving customer closeness is about more than rewarding positive surveys. It’s about rewarding great customer service, regular contact (where appropriate) personalised approaches and perceived value created for the customer. Match your most expensive resources with your highest paying segments and place value in knowledge.

About the author:
Oliver Gwynne works for STRAT7, which turns market and customer data into real world knowledge, and knowledge into competitive advantage. We are a group of companies all dedicated to helping you get closer to your customers through cultural understanding, hybrid segmentation and insight communities.

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