Do we understand our customers as much as we think?
As marketers, we know about the importance of understanding our customers and delivering on their needs. We hear a lot of companies throwing around the term “customer-centric” these days, but do we understand our customers as much as we think?
Although many brands are quick to make this their mantra, we see few making the organizational changes needed to live up to the promise. And those changes can go deep.
What does it mean to be customer-centric?
Simply put, a customer-centric organization is one that shifts their focus from the sale to being more about their customer needs and understanding their goals – and, of course helping them achieve them. So it’s no longer enough to just deliver a great product or service, your customer must be at the core of everything you do, and that begins and ends with providing seamless, relevant and personalized interactions.
The new expectation
That’s what we’ve come to expect from the companies lucky enough to earn our business. There is a value exchange – in exchange for our loyalty, we expect companies to know who we are and to deliver content to us in a timely, relevant and personalized manner. This expectation is transforming how businesses approach delivering on every aspect of the customer experience. Customers who are fully engaged represent an average 23% premium for share of wallet, profitability and relationship growth compared to the average customer.
So if companies know that this personal approach is a critical part of brand/customer interactions, then why isn’t everyone doing it? You’d be surprised at the number of organizations who haven’t made any significant investment in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy, even though having authentic, relevant conversations with your customers are virtually impossible without it.
Everyone wins with effective CRM
The ultimate goal of a CRM strategy is to have a 360-degree view of the customer to enable quality and satisfying customer interactions, which will also maximize the profitability of your customer relationships. Plus, more engaged customers can lead to greater loyalty, repeat sales, significant word of mouth and new client acquisition. It’s a win/win for everyone.
A great example of an effective CRM strategy is the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum program – to incent additional purchases and drive traffic to their stores, Shoppers emails me relevant and personalized offers based on my purchasing history...I just wish the coupons were digital so I didn’t have to print them!
And yet, many companies are not doing it. This is because the practicalities of implementing an effective CRM strategy can be daunting. One of the biggest hurdles is often fragmented data or technology limitations which do not allow for a single view of the customer. Updating internal systems to collect and analyze actionable customer data can require a significant investment that many companies are not inclined to make.
Every important change starts somewhere. So even if you begin small and you can build out capabilities as you go. It’s better than risking being left behind by your customers and your competitors. Maybe you need to ask yourself “Can I really afford not to do it?”