What isn’t customer closeness?

By Oliver Gwynne

Customer closeness is an active measure of your awareness and alignment to your customer’s needs and values. It is something that every organisation wants to achieve, and yet few ever truly accomplish.

Perhaps the best way to define what customer closeness should be, is to first focus on what it is not…

Something that just sits in customer service

Most often when we are thinking about customer experience, it will be in the context of service. Both ensuring that service levels are high and in dealing with complaints. Whilst customer closeness is certainly something that informs these parts of your business, it is not something that lives in any one area or function. True customer closeness can only be achieved when every part of your organisation embraces and understands it.

Another tool for marketing/sales

Even though marketers are always taught to think empathetically and solve problems, we all know that in reality this often gets lost to product features, thought pieces and webinars. Being close to your customers is about more than using their first name in your emails, it’s about understanding them at a granular level. Customer closeness shouldn’t just be another tool to inform activity but should be the starting point at which all services and promotions are formed.

Just a guiding principle

Nearly every organisation wants to provide a better experience to their customers, many collect feedback and data and yet the final step in turning this data into realistic actions often escapes them. Metrics such as customer service reviews can tell you what happened, but they rarely reveal why. Customer closeness looks at the entire lifecycle of your customer, what brought them to you, what are their needs, desires and values. With an in-depth understanding of your relationship, it is much easier to create actions and improve processes.

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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