Customer service is a crucial aspect of every organization. By knowing more about your customers than anyone else, you can tailor-make a product for them or choose a bundle of products and services that meet and exceed their expectations. It can take a lot of thought and effort, but it enables you to build strong, personal relationships with your customers, driving loyalty and retention.
However, providing excellent customer service is not enough to have a trustworthy and personal relationship with customers, which can give a company a competitive edge. What makes the difference is "customer intimacy."
Customer intimacy is one of the three core elements of "The Values Discipline Model", which was developed by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. The other two elements are operational excellence and product leadership.
To decide whether customer intimacy is right for your business, you need to ask yourself some questions, such as: Are delivering a high-quality product and good customer service enough to create a strong brand anymore? Or, do I have access to plenty of data?
Switching to a customer intimacy model may be a solution for those who have a low-profit margin on their product, want to offer more value to their customers, or are trying to use social media to get their brand's message out there but find it difficult to get their voice heard and to build relationships.
Customer service is an essential aspect of any organization, but establishing a loyal customer base is not enough. Building a personal and trustworthy relationship with customers requires customer intimacy. Here are four steps you need to take to develop customer intimacy:
Empower your team members: Provide your team members with the necessary tools, training, and resources to deliver the best customer experience. Motivate and inspire them to go above and beyond when interacting with customers. Recognize and reward team members who exceed expectations, and recruit people who share your values.
Use data effectively: Gather feedback, talk to customers, analyze their behaviour on your website, and monitor trends in your industry. Conduct a PEST analysis to determine the political, economic, social, and technological trends affecting your organization and industry. Once you have all the relevant information, store, interpret, and make sense of it effectively.
Narrow your customer focus: Identify high-value customers and market segments and focus on serving them. Appoint account managers or teams responsible for each segment and provide them with deep training and knowledge on their segment.
Explore outside partnerships: Collaborate with other companies to find solutions that benefit the customer. For example, Worten, through the Worten Marketplace, sells products from smaller retailers, offering a greater range of products to customers.
It's important to note that achieving customer intimacy is not without challenges. Your organization must embrace customer-centricity, and leaders may need to decentralize decision-making. You must capture data at every stage of the customer journey, not just after a purchase. Your organization must be agile enough to respond to the data you collect. Lastly, focusing on a single customer or market segment can be risky, as you may lose a diverse portfolio of clients if the market shifts.
Importance of online presence
Creating a solid online presence can be a game-changer for your business, as it allows you to showcase your brand and set realistic expectations for your clients. Social media platforms provide an opportunity to showcase what your business is all about through images and videos, which can make it more attractive to potential customers.
Through effective communication on social media, you can strengthen relationships with your clients, reach new audiences, and build customer intimacy through live chats. By promoting upcoming services and tailoring your advertisements to showcase exactly what your potential audience wants, you can increase engagement and reduce marketing costs.
However, it's crucial to strike a balance between organic and advertised posts to avoid overwhelming customers with too many advertisements. Remember, the key to successful social media marketing is to provide relevant and valuable content to your target audience and, above all, not be boring.
While building your online presence, you can collect data and start getting to know your audience better. Social media platforms allow for a two-way interaction where clients can get to know you and you can gain insights into your customers. It's a win-win situation that helps build strong relationships.
To wrap up, you must remember that customer service and customer intimacy are important aspects of any organization.
While delivering high-quality products and excellent customer service is crucial, building a personal and trustworthy relationship with customers through customer intimacy can give a company a competitive edge. To develop customer intimacy, you need to empower your team members, use data effectively, narrow your customer focus, and explore outside partnerships.
Achieving customer intimacy is not without challenges, but it can help build strong relationships with customers and drive loyalty and retention. Additionally, creating a strong online presence can help showcase your brand and build customer intimacy through effective communication on social media. Building your online presence also allows you to collect data and gain insights into your customers, helping you build strong relationships with them.