In a world of fast, convenient, personalized service, customers expect businesses to go the extra mile to meet their expectations. How can organizations establish closer relationships, especially in crowded markets?
With industry disruptors nipping at their heels, established companies are looking for fresh ways to strengthen relationships with new and existing customers. In highly competitive sectors such as energy, telecommunications and financial services, the pressure to attract and retain customers is particularly acute.
Companies in these industries have been flanked on all fronts. Customers expect higher quality services at more competitive prices, while agile innovators disrupt the value chains of incumbents who fail to adapt. Plus many European, Middle Eastern and African markets are already highly saturated. This leaves very few avenues for new growth and makes it harder to get a step ahead of competitors.
Proactive customer engagement
To retain market share and grow wallet share, companies must have more than just a transactional relationship with their customers. They need to find new ways to monitor and analyse their customers’ needs, then act quickly.
Fortunately, most businesses have vast amounts of historical and real-time customer data at their disposal. That data can be mined for insights into customer behaviour. But what insights should organizations look for to build deeper, longer-lasting customer relationships?
Trying to become best friends with every customer is not a winning strategy. Doing so leads to investing time and resources into all customer relationships, including unprofitable ones. As a result, you may underinvest in your most valuable clients and miss out on cross- and up-selling opportunities.
Organizations with close customer relationships recognize that they must build clear profiles of specific customer groups and high-value individuals. SAS analytics technology lets you collect and analyse key information about the “who, what, when and why” behind your customers’ purchases. This improves the focus of your marketing strategies, helps better predict future trends, and enhances pricing models.
Lifetime customer value
Understanding why customers chose your business and why they continue to use your services is a must. It makes it easier to maintain their loyalty and be part of your most profitable customer segments.
Taking a long-term view of your most valuable customer relationships is key to reducing future churn rates. It's important to know which customers are making one-off purchases and which are likely to come back for more. Therefore, you can target your marketing and engagement efforts more efficiently.
Connecting digital and physical worlds
Companies with both an online and a physical presence must present a consistent customer experience to deepen customer relationships.
For example, SAS recently worked with a leading UK high-street fashion retailer to help it streamline its "click-and-collect" service. Customers were reserving items online but often found the items weren't ready for pickup when they went to the store. As a result, the service ended up creating queues of frustrated customers.
With help from SAS, the retailer analysed footfall to determine the busiest times in each store. It then offered pickup times for customers during the least busy periods of the day. To prevent delays in order processing, the company also removed the option for same-day collection from its website as soon as a particular store became too busy to handle these reservation requests effectively. By thinking about the online and in-store experience holistically, this retailer has significantly improved customer satisfaction.To retain market share and grow wallet share, companies must strive to form more than just a transactional relationship with their customers. Click To Tweet
Many businesses could benefit from a more consistent approach to customer journeys across their physical and digital presence. For example, if a customer visits a bank to apply for a loan, the bank could also push targeted loan offers to their online banking portal and mobile app. Or when a customer has a technical issue with their smartphone, the mobile provider could direct them to visit a nearby store, instead of leaving them to trawl through customer forums and FAQ pages.
Cut above the rest
Whether you choose to deepen your customer relationships with focused customer segmentation, analysing customer lifetime value, uniting your digital and online world presence, or a combination of these approaches, one thing is for certain: When customers know they will always receive excellent service at a competitive price, they will keep coming back for more. With strategic, timely data analysis, you can quickly reveal new ways to engage existing customers and deliver a memorable service that will help you stay competitive in a crowded market.
If this blog post has sparked your interest and you’d like to discuss further, please reach out to me at Steve.Perks@sas.com or look me up on LinkedIn. Discover more ways to deepen your customer relationships and boost market share.