Phil Winters, an advisor to Peppers & Rogers Group, created a list of 10 customer management trends (Customer Strategist Phil Winters: 10 Customer Management Trends to Act on Today) that have emerged due to techological developments.
Some of these trends should not be a big surprise:
- Consumers have more control over their relationships with companies.
- Social CRM is being integrated into CEM (Customer Experience Management)
- Ongoing efforts to turn employees onto customer-centricity
Others may not have occurred to us yet:
- Buying decisions are being impacted earlier than ever in the buying process
- Data capture and use is more important than it has ever been
- Customer Intelligence use is becoming real-time
With so many alternatives to nearly every product or service, customers are researching their buying decisions earlier, over more channels (such as Twitter, forums, and blogs), and are more sensitive to their experience with a company. Pretty much it’s “One Strike – You’re Out!”.
Companies now have access to so much data that getting useful information out of it is becoming more and more difficult. Yet they also have to be aware of crossing a privacy line. According to Mr. Winters, though, that is less of a problem than first thought. When a well-communicated policy is in place, consumers are actually allowing companies to use more information than they otherwise might. In other words, as long as people know what is being done with the information they are more likely to oblige.
It seems that the biggest trick is the oldest one: figuring out what people want before they think of it. Then surrounding that product or service with a positive experience from the moment someone hears of it through post-purchase service. At no point can a company drop the ball. Everyone from the customer facing staff to the manufacturing floor and delivery service must be on the same page.
Read the list. Determine if your business needs tweaking in any of these areas. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, just remain aware of these trends as you go about your day-to-day routine. Get ahead of the game by researching options for addressing these trends such as business intelligence or customer support software, a social media policy, or training for everyone in the company about their impact on the customer.