Oliver Gwynne article 1

The goals of customer closeness

By Oliver Gwynne, STRAT7

“Putting customers at the heart of everything we do” is a phrase we are probably all familiar with, but what specifically does it mean? What is customer closeness and what does it aim to achieve?

Our Definition
Customer closeness is an active measure of your awareness and alignment to your customer’s needs and values.

Goals & Outputs
While there are too many benefits to list when it comes to embracing customers, perhaps the most pertinent is that according to forbes: “customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.” Understanding what makes your current and prospective customers tick allows you to tailor brands, products, pricing and communication to specific groups, so you can make best use of limited resources.

So what outputs are we looking for from customer closeness?

Effective Segmentation
The first step towards a greater understanding of your customers is to break them down into more manageable groups. Market segmentation is the process of grouping or dividing an audience into subgroups based on commonalities and shared characteristics. Segmentation in relationship with customer closeness is much more than simply list-making. It combines three key pieces of knowledge to create one single vision of the customer; who your customers are, how they’ve interacted with your brand and why they are buying from you. This information allows you to personalise your promotions, offerings and services at scale.

Continuous Measurement of Value(s)
In order to effect change, you have to measure it. When considering our performance in relation to customers we might consider: the average lifetime value of segments, average churn rates and even annual customer satisfaction surveys. While all these tools are useful, they only tell you yesterday’s weather once you’re wet. In order to understand WHY this happened, it’s also important to consider brand perception and tracking, competitor analysis as well as understanding how outside factors are really impacting your brand.

Better Customer Experience and Satisfaction
Last (and perhaps most obvious) the ultimate goal of understanding your customer is to serve them better. There will always be an amount of trade-off between what a customer ideally wants and what a company can deliver, but by truly understanding what your customer values, you can create processes and procedures that serve them more efficiently. Through active listening you can ensure the right message at the right time is delivered to the right person.

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.

Related Articles