Knowing the who, the where and the when.
Part two of the Smith+Co value added series
We’ve been privileged to play a leading role in the customer experience revolution since the start. And though much has changed in the environment of CX over the years, and the landscape has become more digital than physical, there are a few key truths that have remained unchanged and yet largely ignored. One of these has been a mantra of mine for my entire consultancy experience: know who your most valuable customers are and what they truly value. Before anything is launched, trained, designed or marketed, you have to know the ins and outs of your most valuable customers. This is where brands are made and slayed in the market.
GDPR, as much of a challenge as it is for brands, will also offer a huge benefit because it will help reveal the most valuable and loyal customers. When the names of those who opt in for communications are confirmed to the brand, it’ll provide an opportunity for customer experience strategists to perfect and reshape what’s on offer. Many leaders are jumping on the bandwagon of complaining about GDPR, but the truth is that it’ll be a restore factory settings moment for brands, and should be seen as an opportunity instead of an annoyance. At one fell swoop it will clear out all of the low-value, time-wasting, cost-incurring people that sit on your data base serving no purpose except to provide bragging rights to your CRM Director when he is asked to state the number of ‘loyal’ customers you have. And don’t even get me started talking about Facebook ‘Likes’!
There is only one alternative to investing in the profiling stage of identifying your most valuable customers, and it’s not pretty, though it’s pretty common. It’s when a brand shoots from the hip, like a drunk, in the dark. Speculative communications are fired out to large sections of their customer base, heading straight for the spam folder, recycling bin or just simply ignored. The cost of finding out your most valuable customers and what makes them tick might well be expensive, however, not knowing your customers is far more costly.
When you know the who, and the demographics and profiles are cemented in every member of staff’s frontal lobe, the when and the where will come naturally. Take Netflix for example. The cost of algorithms to provide bespoke recommendations would not have been small, but look at what it has achieved for the brand. The Netflix customer experience is so addictive that it has been credited for the decline of the real-time television audience. Amazon is the same. Each communication has been shaped for the consumer, so much so that Tesco Direct has thrown the towel in and left the arena completely. Nothing can compete with a finely focused customer experience to an identifiable audience who have shown loyalty.
The process of finding your brand ambassadors cannot be rushed either. Like anything worthwhile in business, there are no shortcuts. But the more effort undertaken up front, the more targeted your communications and marketing strategies can become. And given the choice, would you prefer to fight with a cannon or a cruise missile? And that’s the rub. Companies who know their audiences can target and track their sales efforts perfectly. On the other hand, those without insight are reduced to lobbing missiles in the general direction, and hoping that they hit something.