According to an article in the Harvard Business Review we now have sophisticated tools to analyze customer data. These tools are giving marketing organizations the ability to personalize and mange customer relationships. However, according to this article, this had led to new challenges.
Companies are spending 11 billion dollars annually on Customer Relationship Management, though not using this software to improve relational intelligence, that is, the variety of relationships customer can have with a firm and are not concentrating on how to reinforce those relationships. We seem to be good at collecting data and matching that data with purchasing information, but this industrial view of customers is that of resources to be use to help sell product, rather than seeing these customers as individuals who want different kinds of interaction and relationships with the companies they do business with.
The article by Jill Avery, Susan Fournier and John Wittenbraker goes on to break customers into six different segments. The premise is, “Each type of customer relationship is governed by its own rules, which are based on the customer’s expectations.”
In order to understand the types of relationships that make up the majority of a company’s customers, businesses should use a number of different avenues, such as surveys) to discover how customers relate to their particular product or products. Many companies, while they receive a lot of data from and about their customers, are not very good at collecting and analyzing the information. In some cases it’s because they are haven’t set up their CRM systems to capture this relational intelligence. The relationship intelligence conveys information about the types of relationships customers want to have, and in some cases assuming they have, with the brand as well as how those relationships may be evolving.
Next week’s blog will look at the different types of relationships that customers want to have with your brand and company.