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When it comes to customer relationships, there are a number of different levels. If you imagine these levels forming a pyramid, at the very top is the devoted customer relationship – the one that encompasses the holy trinity of passion, intimacy and commitment.
There are various methods of driving customer relationships toward devotion and, in this article, we’re going to talk about using that hard-won customer data to carry more of your customers to the top of that pyramid. First though, let’s take a look at some different kinds of customer relationships:
It’s complicated – a look at customer relationships
Here is a breakdown of Sternberg’s different types of relationships. From our experience, customer relationships are no different:
Liking – a liking relationship infers intimacy between brand and customer
Companionate – this kind of relationship involves both intimacy and commitment on both sides
Romantic – a romantic customer relationship relies on both intimacy and passion
Infatuation – this one is all about the passion
Consummate love – a potent blend of intimacy, passion and commitment
Fatuous love – a mix of passion and commitment
Empty love – commitment but no more
Now that we have explored the different types of customer relationship, let’s evaluate ways of using your customer data to make them stronger.
You’ve got to be in it to win it
Customer participation is vital for a devoted customer relationship – after all, any successful relationship is a two way street. Make time to examine customer participation levels in areas such as vouchers, points, discount codes and special offers. Customers who are allowing these participation touch points to pass them by are a long way from devoted. Your customer data will tell you which of your customers are not participating – and you can use this customer data to woo those customers back with personalised offers.
It’s good to talk
As with any kind of relationship, trust is key – and, often, those lukewarm or casual customers are failing to engage as they are suspicious about how you’re using their precious data. Take a look at the customer data you’ve collected to see where you can make improvements in communication to make your connection more personalised. Offer customers a stronger value exchange as a demonstration of your commitment to the relationship.
Build a single customer view
Many brands treat online and offline customers differently – even when it’s the same shopper. You have a much higher chance of steering customers toward ‘liking’, ‘casual’ and ‘romantic’ relationships with your brand if you recognise customers as they move on and offline. In fact, figures show that 41% of key consumers would be more loyal to a brand if they received recommendations based on purchases that they have made in store. In order to steer your customers to the top of the pyramid, you need to ensure that all staff at all levels have access to preference and past purchase customer data in order to enhance and personalise the customer’s experience (it goes without saying that GDPR compliance is a must).
Caring is sharing when it comes to pain points
WIth ‘empty’ and ‘casual’ customer relationships, it’s all about the pain points – recognising them and administering some much needed TLC. Use your customer data to spot issues and then offer attractive solutions to enhance the customer experience and get those repeat purchases flooding in. For example; add more – and more convenient – delivery and collection options and new ways of shopping.
Deliver the unexpected
Here, we’re targeting those customers for whom the thrill is gone – the ‘empty’ and ‘compassionate’ folks. Although these customers are still using your brand, they’re doing it in a random and lacklustre way. We’ll let you into a secret about those sought after devoted customers – they like a surprise now and again Use your collected customer data to make sure that you’re segmenting your customers properly and then work hard to provide experience-focused rewards that they won’t get elsewhere.
Are you listening?
So, you’ve got the data that your customers have willingly handed over but, it’s not enough. Gaining data from your customers is great but, it’s not the only way. You can mine new customer data from a surprising number of sources including social media and review sites. Social media, in particular, can be a goldmine for gaining new customers – as long as you take the time to engage, interact and listen. Once you’ve engaged with these customers, reward them for their loyalty and their role as advocate for your brand with high value rewards.
Understanding where your customers fall in our pyramid is key to gaining and retaining loyalty – by nurturing the super-loyal and wooing the less passionate customer, you can start growing your base and increasing customer devotion.