Manufacturing, developing, and selling a product or service that people need and wish to buy is just one small part of overall business success. A larger and, some would say, more important component of an enterprise’s long-term survival involves assessing and managing relationships with consumers and customers.
Customer insight centers on answering the following questions:
Successful businesses make it a high priority to gather knowledge and relevant facts about purchasers even before they enter into a monetary transaction. These organizations do so because they know that getting close to the customer, and directly serving their needs, will go a long way towards securing long term profitability.
While it may not always be possible to compile detailed information relative to each customer, there are definite ways to learn about customers and their purchasing behavior.
To more accurately serve the needs of customers, companies need precise knowledge about end-users. Different types of businesses may benefit from having a different profiling structure, but for the most part the early findings should include uniquely identifiable factors such as gender, age, marital status, household income, product preferences and buying frequency.
A historical customer database should contain details about previous purchases and, possibly, information about recent purchases (a new home, a new car, a baby crib). This is the kind of data marketers can use to conduct tailored and efficient sales efforts to satisfy and infer a customer’s ongoing needs.
Other than through a database, useful consumer insight may be obtained through the following mechanisms:
The ultimate goal of customer insight is to enhance customer satisfaction, improve market share, and increase sales.
Putting the customer first is a sure-fire way to maintain an advantage over the competition. Ask anyone and they will assert that a major reason they return again and again to a certain company or make repeated purchases from the same business is because of the excellent service they receive.
The relationship a customer has with a particular business needs to be managed and handled proactively. For marketers and direct sellers, this means treating customer relationship management, or CRM, as the cornerstone of good business.
Careful analysis of data and customer feedback gives companies the ability to formulate a workable CRM action plan. Findings can be used to better identify areas where the customer has been dissatisfied or instances where customer service has failed.
To be successful, CRM action plans should engage the consumer and give an opportunity for feedback. After which, organizations can better manage the relationship and find ways to satisfy the customer. This can be done with a follow-up phone call, discount offers, or by upgrading previously purchased items at little or no additional cost to the buyer.
No matter how much work is done in the early stages, without providing employees with the relevant trainings, processes, and tools, it is nigh impossible to succeed. GPetrium has created a list of insights and solutions that can help facilitate the process:
A growing number of companies use the expedience of the internet to get closer to customers. Social media networks, member sites, blogs, and comments left by visitors to corporate websites provide instant feedback and useful insight for customer relationship management.
The end goal of active customer relationship management is to positively nurture the consumer-provider relationship over time, inspire continued customer satisfaction, and spur on future transactions.
Assessing customer needs and creating a dedicated CRM program for learning what they think and what they want can strengthen customer retention efforts and foster improved consumer-seller relationships over many years to come.