Customer relationships are the interactions between a business and its customers. These interactions can take many forms, such as face-to-face meetings, phone calls, emails, and social media interactions.
When customers have positive experiences with a business, they are more likely to do business with it again. It is because word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers.
Good customer relationships can help businesses to retain their existing customers. It is important because it is more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing customers. According to a study by Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer can cost up to 5 times more than retaining an existing one.
Customer relationships should be made sustainable and efficient in the Corona crisis as well as afterward.
The corona crisis has undoubtedly given digitalization an enormous boost. In view of the hesitant consumer behavior when “restarting” industry and trade, this would be the moment to make customer relationships more sustainable and efficient with digital technologies.
7 Tips for Sustainable Customer Relationships
1. Bring your Data into Shape and Turn it into Customer Knowledge
The primary prerequisite for a targeted customer approach is modern data management combined with the use of intelligent technologies. The database must be consistent, up-to-date, and well maintained – and everything must not know any departmental boundaries.
This is the only way that intelligent technologies are fully capable and can recognize patterns and indications of current changes in customers’ lives in big data. Companies can then take this as an opportunity to address the customer as needed.
2. Consistently Implement Omnichannel for Better Customer Relationships
Based on the components mentioned above, companies today have a wide range of options for proactively accompanying customers along their customer journey across all channels. However, messages and information should be consistent. And even if the temptation to sound through all existing channels is great: sometimes less is more.
3. Make your Customer a Boss – and Bring Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Together
Companies without departments (and especially department boundaries) are currently hardly conceivable – and sales, marketing, and service each have their own priorities and, of course, budgets. However, the resolution of silos and data integration across departmental boundaries is a key prerequisite for the successful accompaniment of customer journeys and good customer relationships. In the future, there should only be one department (or a boss) to which you can organize your activities – and that is the customer. Admittedly a big challenge – but one that is worth it.
4. Anchor Customer Focus as a Guiding Principle in your Company
In their transformation processes, companies mainly focus on topics such as new work, agility or process, and cost optimization. It is precisely these issues that often dominate internal communication. But if top management never or rarely speaks a word about customers – what priority should employees place on customer relationships?
However, customer satisfaction ultimately decides on the right to exist for companies. Customer focus must, therefore, be deeply rooted in the corporate culture – visible to everyone. Why not run customer videos in your company’s foyer? Or remind them daily with customer pictures in your meeting rooms who is the client of their own work?
5. Think About New Business Models – and Cross your Own Boundaries
Companies from all industries face enormous competition for the favor of the customer. Those who can offer their customers the right services at the right time will also stay ahead in the future. In the future, there will be an increase in the development in the context of customer-centered ecosystems in conjunction with providers from other industries.
6. Make Successful Customer Orientation Measurable
Customer relationship management is a critical discipline in the company, but, the measurement of customer satisfaction is in very few companies. Why not take customer contact and entrepreneurship into the performance appraisal of employees – and then reward them financially? However, to create effective incentive systems, companies need vital figures that make it possible to measure the performance of customer management.
7. See Customer Relationships As Responsibility for Every Employee
Yes, customer focus must be embodied and exemplified at the top management level. No, real customer orientation is not a function for the Chief Customer Officer – but a process. For which everyone in the company bears responsibility and a mindset that takes time. At the same time, it is a change process that must be monitored intensively internally, but success should also be celebrated.
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