How to create ‘customers for life’ – The four Cs of customer centricity

Martin Häring, CMO at Misys, offers advice to B2B marketers on creating 'customers for life'

Thriving in today’s competitive landscape means treasuring your business’ greatest asset – the customer – and putting them at the centre of everything you do to cultivate long-term loyalty.

Businesses today are all-too-often driven by a product-led culture rather than being customer-led. According to a study by Walker, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as a key business differentiator; but for large multi-product businesses it can still be a temptation to organise the business by function and product-line, creating a siloed approach to business growth that neglects customer satisfaction. Whilst your business lines and functions can ‘do their bit’ to improve performance and sales of a particular product or service, organising the business in this way increases the chances of your customers receiving a fragmented experience.

Pioneering a customer-led culture should be at the forefront of your business’s priorities, with a view to creating lifelong customers. Bain & Co found that customers are four times more likely to defect to a competitor due to poor service rather than product dissatisfaction. By driving improved customer engagement and satisfaction, customers are more likely to come back and endorse your services or product – and it isn’t just something multi-product businesses need to be aware of, it is a practice we should all be adopting. How can marketers make this happen?

Follow the four Cs:

1. Connect: Start persona based communication

Defining a persona based communication strategy and identifying the right communication channel for those personas should be one of the first steps to better connect with your clients. In a recent Capgemini report, mobile was recognised as being one of the most important channels for Gen-Y customers (around 48%), demonstrating the importance of knowing your customers’ preferences and how to best reach them.

2. Collect: Maximise the data available to the business

Using the customer and prospect data already available to your business is merely the first step. Using location based services, transactional data, unstructured data or social media feeds can add a huge amount of value to your existing customer data and insight, and build a fuller picture of the client.

3. Communicate: Maintain engagement throughout the customer lifecycle

Maintain constant communication and engagement with your customer across all functions of your company, regardless of the pending opportunities; the more the customer talks with you, the less they talk to the competition. Keep them informed, entertained, excited and give them the feeling that they have made the right decision to buy your product.

4. Close: Streamline for excellent customer service

Ensure you have streamlined and digitalised processes from on-boarding, to closing transactions or servicing clients after the deal is in. Think digital end-to-end and ban every paper interaction or media breaks. Nobody likes completing arduous paper registration forms then waiting for weeks to receive a promised service.

By making use of customer data, you can not only get a better understanding of your customer as a whole, but also drastically improve and personalise the service you deliver to them. Customer experience starts from the first click or interaction they have with your services, so use this to your advantage. Efficient use of this data can help to predict potential shortfalls in customer satisfaction, allowing you to react ahead of time. If you can make use of data gathered across a customer journey, you can ensure all clients and customers are receiving optimum service across each step of the life cycle, and not being siloed into typical transaction led interactions.

Businesses today have a wide array of customer data at their fingertips. By using this data for the good of the customer, and to improve their overall experience, you can not only strengthen relationships with existing customers, but also open the doors for prospective new clients.