Moments of Truth

Customers have never had higher expectations – or been more empowered than they are today. How you respond to, and take care of, your customers across all of their interactions with the organization and across all media and channels is critical. We call these interactions ‘moments of truth’ where the opportunity exists to delight or disappoint the customer.

Customer needs change over time, and so it is very important to find out more about customers and ensure that everyone in your organization can leverage and take advantage of this information. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to identify new prospects and increase your customer base.

Customer engagement starts with understanding the value, behaviours and attitudes of different customers and customer groups. Once value, behaviours and attitudes are understood, planning can start for the cost-effective acquisition, retention and penetration of the customer base – current and potential. The organization must look for sales and marketing plans that reflect specific acquisition, retention, penetration and efficiency at customer or product-group levels.

It is also important to understand the answers to questions such as ‘How well are we doing?’, ‘What can we improve?’ and ‘What do competitors do better than us?’ and the answers can be obtained from customers for each key experience that they have with our business, especially the ones that they rank as most important. The organization must not merely measure satisfaction but rather must try to get at what defines true customer commitment to the company.

The enhanced understanding derived from the customer analysis will help identify the groups or segments of customers who should be managed. The next step is to define the proposition to each of the segments and to plan the appropriate offers. The proposition will normally be defined in terms of price, brand, service, transaction operations, relationships, product and required service standards. It must involve all of the functions within the operation that impact on the proposition and customer experience. The proposition, once defined, must be effectively communicated to the customers and the teams responsible for delivering it.

Fundamentally our people deliver the activity. Clear, understandable objectives linked to the overall business goals and employee satisfaction are two key elements to ensure the customer management activity and organizational structure support the business objectives. Appropriate competencies need to be identified and developed to ensure the customer management activity is effective.

Measurement of people, processes, profitability, proposition delivery and fulfilment, channel performance and customer activity must underpin the vision and objectives as well as to enable the assessment of success and failure. Identifying performance against plan will allow the refinement and redefinition of future plans and activity.

Customer information needs to be collected, stored and used in a way that supports the strategy, the way people work and the way customers want to access the organization.

The better a business can manage the relationships it has with its customers the more successful it will become. This concept isn’t new. The fundamental principles of engaging with customers haven’t changed, it has always been about focusing on customers and delivering what they want.

What has changed, however, is the sheer quantity of channels and touch points. That means more chance of failure throughout the customer journey. But also means greater opportunity for customer engagement for those of us that get it right…….

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