One of the most important stakeholders for any business is its customers. Many believe that customers are the life blood of a business in terms of its growth. Rightfully so! Customer Relationship Management or CRM is a specialised line of expertise (within marketing). Attracting, Influencing & Retaining a customer involves investment in time. Time in understanding the customer’s need, fulfilling that need in a timely manner in order to influence re-purchase and then developing the relationship in order to obtain:
- Referrals and
- Growing sales
So how do we do it?
By following what I term as the “A.I.R.” model for customer management:
- ATTRACTING : Having identified your core target segment, you should have the knowledge as to what is it exactly that your customer wants & needs. Once you know this, evaluate your product or service offering to see where the “edge” is and communicate it. Thus creating the attraction towards your brand (over competition).
- IFLUENCING : Having caught your target segment’s attention and interest, highlight the benefits the customer would get by using your brand. In this process, use testimonials or proven claims (depending on the product category) or highlight factual product or service benefit, in order to influence the purchase decision.
- RETAINING : Having obtained the initial sale, obtain feedback on usage i.e. how long does one purchase last; what were the perceived benefits; was it easy to get the brand etc; and provide adequate and necessary customer service (as appropriate). Having this dialogue will open up an on-going interaction through which (over time) a relationship is built.
Loyalty programs, new product trials etc all come under this section where the objective is to make the customer feel “preferred” and “valued” thereby being a brand ambassador and giving his/her W.O.M. (word of mouth) referral to their network.
Whilst the above is a simple overview of Customer Management, it helps in planning for an in-depth relationship CRM model that would sync with the organisational goals and be measurable.