THE OBJECTIVE: To grow revenue and profit by competitively acquiring, retaining and growing customer and partner relationships.
THE CI STRATEGY: Proactively gather customer and industry intelligence and then apply strong methods and processes that leverage that intelligence.
HOW? Design and implement holistic and proactive customer listening, diagnostic and action management capabilities.
Custell will listen to your needs and assist you to design and deploy a solution that is likely to comprise any of a number of components.
Holistic Customer Intelligence:
Surveys: A number of types of surveys to collect information from a variety of sources – ‘C’ level, middle management, operations and their wider industry, suppliers, advisers.
Face to face assessments: Using a variety of methods to capture the customer’s perceptions and assess their future directions. Again this should be at various levels; ‘C’ level particularly and also middle level management.
Account teams: individuals are interacting with your customer every day. This source is too often overlooked. We need a model and method to ensure all intelligence is captured and assessed.
ERM: Enterprise Relationship Management systems can be leveraged to proactively source good intelligence. ERM (in contrast to CRM) is more about deploying methods to manage the relationship jointly with your customer and partner. By formally teaming with your customer or partner organisations to manage business alignment and innovation management you will source the intelligence you need.
CRM: systems are traditionally transaction oriented and historically more value for consumer and small business. The value of the intelligence for large customer relationships can be limited for this reason. However it is one important source of intelligence.
Industry research: It is essential that you understand what is happening in your customer’s industry. Monitoring this activity and incorporating it into your information is vital. You can often leverage it to predict the strategies and challenges your customer will be facing and take a proactive stance to deliver value.
- Value versus Satisfaction? Programs that focus on customer satisfaction provide limited value. The bottom line is that enterprise customers and partners want maximum value not satisfaction. Satisfaction gets you in the game; value locks in relationships and encourages investment – two very different things.
- Perceptions versus Reality: (See Perception Management). Perception is reality, and an understanding of the customer’s ‘perception of value’ is vital. Your ability to actively listen and draw out perceptions will determine the effectiveness of the intelligence we gain. Too many ‘closed’ questions are often asked in surveys and interview guides. ‘Open’ questions in an open dialog, skilfully executed, gains a much better understanding of perceptions and future needs.
- Future versus past: Unfortunately the word ‘feedback’ conjures up a response to the past and not a vision for the future. Watching our ‘wake’ is important. Navigating the future of our customer and partner relationships is even more vital. For them to value their relationship with us we need to ensure we are focussed on delivering the value they need in the future. This requires especially proactive listening capabilities.
- Business solution versus Technology: Many Customer Intelligence (CI) solution providers focus on surveys, systems and technology and not on what is needed to deliver business value uniquely for each customer. CI should not be about systems. It needs to be about having the proactive listening mechanisms in place to capture the intelligence we need. It then needs to be about implementing strong business processes to leverage that intelligence to drive more value for our customer and to improve their perception of value. Sure, systems are needed, but without the intelligence no BI system or business process can deliver value.