1. Bring the Customer in to your Organisation
Whether the medium is Facebook, a User Forum, a Support Call or talking to Customers at a Retail Partner Store, it’s vitally important that a joined-up and genuine dialogue is prevalent in order to gain direct insight to constantly improve what you do. ‘Customer is King’ (or Queen) should be the adage, and an approach to an outwards-in ethos to designing the overall experience, including cross-functional rewards and remuneration, is key.
2. Let the Customer design their own experience
Customers are individuals. Yes they are targeted as a Segment, with similar values, behaviours and attitudes, however the subtle patterns of their own lives mean that they will be in the best position to describe to you how they would like to research, select, buy and use your product or service. Malleable Web site designs, and now dynamic Smartphone Apps, mean that a combination of User prioritisation, coupled with socio-demographic predictive modelling and geo-location, will provide the right customer experience.
3. Be where the Customer wants to shop and buy
A cross-channel strategy is tricky for any company, however the customer doesn’t care about the complexities of siloed teams or differentiated pricing. What they want is to be able to buy, and later Upgrade, in a way that best suits them. Differing Partner routes-to-market, along-side direct e-commerce, need to be designed with the customer behaviour trends in mind.
4. Don’t weigh down a Customer’s wallet
Take the balanced short and longer-term view with a Customer. A Customer who perceives real value will tell family and friends, and is likely to buy more from you. A combination of ‘Actual’ Value (what they have bought) and ‘Potential’ Value (what they will potentially buy & recommend in the future) should be used to guide how they are asked for cash. Too much irrelevant short-term cross-sell or up-sell may turn them away from being an advocate for your brand proposition, and the lost word-of-mouth sales that would result.
5. Recognise a Customer’s Value
‘Thank You’ doesn’t cost, however it is not always used or reinforced when a Customer has spent their hard-earned disposable income on your proposition. Whether explicitly used, at or just after the initial purchase, or implicit, in the tone of the ongoing correspondence or special offers, it highlights how much importance you bestow on their custom.
Andrew Ford, July 2013