Closer to your
customers: the true
measure of success
Winning and retaining the right type of customer is the major
focus of your marketing efforts. Just how do you get close to
your customers, and how do you know you’re targeting cus-
tomers who will prove profitable in the long term? This
section looks at some of the techniques for building relation-
ships that pay.
1 Get up close and personal with the precision
of one-to-one marketing
The concept of personalised products and services for individual
customers is a reality in many sectors. When you can learn so
much about customers from the information they volunteer,
why compromise on ‘vanilla’ campaigns?
2 A lifetime together – the true value of long-
term customer relationships
Its common knowledge that it costs more to win new cus-
tomers than retain existing ones. A measure called ‘lifetime
customer value’ can help you identify the customers you really
want to keep. It compares the cost of acquiring individual
customers with their purchase history and their account man-
agement costs. Information like this highlights who should stay
and who should go from your customer base.
3 Community service – a problem shared
These days, companies positively welcome complaints and sug-
gestions. By encouraging feedback and responding to it, you can
learn far more about what your customers really think about
your products and demonstrate that you are doing something
about it. By allowing customers to share that knowledge online,
you can build a community and get new, sometimes unexpected
allies, in the form of people who want to solve problems for
each other.
4 Put customers on your product
development team
Your customers can make an important contribution to your
new product programme, either through recommendations
on direction, features and performance, or through evalua-
tion. Either way, their contribution can ensure that your new
products meet real market needs and the process also helps to
strengthen customer relationships.
5 Pass the parcel – make it easier for
customers to contact you
Do your customers have to find their way through a maze of
different phone numbers to get an answer? Do they get passed
from extension to extension once theyre through? More
importantly, do the people answering the customer calls have
access to all customer records, purchase history, emails, serv-
ice requests and complaints? A single point of contact and an
integrated customer record can make it easier to deal with every
customer contact effectively.

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