As specialists in customer relationship marketing (CRM) and customer-centric marketing, our agency can assist in preparing your organization to reap the benefits of this increasingly important approach. We can help you:
- Transition your enterprise to a customer-centric mindset
- Create a shared vision of your mission
- Develop a customer-centric strategy to achieve your goals
- Provide the CRM support services to put your strategy into action
- Gauge success and refine your approach
“We’re excited to bring an updated Shoe Perks loyalty program to our customers. With help from retail marketing agency Customer Communications Group, we were able to tap into direct customer insights to identify their preferred reward benefits. This gives us confidence that the refreshed Shoe Perks program will be well received by our customers.”Cliff SiffordCEO, Shoe Carnival
What does it mean to be customer-centric?
Customer-centricity is an enterprise-wide way of thinking that puts customers and the customer experience first and foremost in everything you do. Its focus is developing strong, positive relationships with customers before, during and after the sale.
For many companies, this represents a major mindset shift. Traditionally, organizations have had a product-centric and sales-centric approach where the corporation’s needs and interests come first. With this approach, customers are still taken into consideration, but they aren’t central to decision-making.
Why does customer-centricity matter?
The traditional product-centric and sales-centric mindset has some significant drawbacks. First, it can lead to a place where companies are competing on price, which can quickly take your margins into dangerous waters.
Next, and of equal importance, the focus on price and product is often sustained only at the expense of long-term customer loyalty. Customers can quickly get into a mode of price shopping, which means their business goes to whoever has the best deal — and that can change daily.
Plus, when a company focuses on what they want to sell — not what the customer wants to buy — customers feel like their needs don’t matter. And when they begin to feel a company doesn’t care about them, why should they care about, and remain loyal to, that company? This can put you in a position of focusing on customer acquisition, which is far more costly and challenging than focusing on customer retention.
With a customer-centric approach, you compete on the basis of customer experience and engagement. While costs are still involved, this mindset presents less risk of eroding margins. In fact, by shifting the focus to using customer experience and engagement to build retention, the customer-centric strategy can better drive repeat business, loyalty and profits. Along the way, you’ll also build your store’s reputation and create brand advocates — all of which helps support acquisition efforts.
What does a customer-centric agency do?
If your organization is ready to make the shift to customer-centricity, then a specialized agency like CCG can be a huge help. Customer-centric agencies can assist you with the four foundational elements necessary to bring customer-centricity to the forefront in your company.
1. Advise and guide you on breaking down interdepartmental silos.
Since customer-centricity is directly related to customer experience and customer engagement, it’s easy to believe that it lives with customer service. But remember, this is an enterprise-wide mindset. It touches all aspects and departments of an organization, including branding, inventory, marketing, finance, operations and IT — and, yes, customer service. Therefore, it’s essential that the silos come down, and it becomes effortless to share information and ideas across departments.
2. Assist you in creating a shared vision.
Since everyone needs to work together on your customer-centricity mission, it will help tremendously if everyone shares the same vision of what it all means to your organization. This may involve a number of meetings and iterations of your vision before you land on something that’s agreed on enterprise-wide. Having an objective third-party participate in the process can help bring together disparate ideas while smoothing out the inevitable ripples of departmental bias and territorialism.
A customer-centric agency can also provide facts and stats to bring everyone on board with the new mindset and impress on everyone the importance of focusing on customer experience and customer engagement rather than the tunnel-vision strategy of focusing on sales figures.
3. Engineer a road map to reach that vision.
At CCG, we have more than 40 years of experience assisting top retailers with their shift to customer-centricity and refining their customer-centric strategies. We can help your team, too, by working with you to:
- Define the people, processes and technology required to make your vision a reality
- Identify milestones to achieve along the way for short-, mid- and long-term wins
- Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge performance and areas of improvement
- Recommend ongoing refinements to continue enhancing your customer-centric approach
4. Leverage data into strategy and action.
Gathering and analyzing data is a critical part of customer-centricity. In fact, a Harvard Business Review survey revealed that 58 percent of responding companies saw a significant increase in customer retention and loyalty when they used customer data analytics.
Customer data as a whole allows you to gain a deep and well-rounded understanding of who your customers are, and what they need or expect from you. As a customer-centric agency, our data analysts and consultants can help you turn those insights into logical, customer-centric strategies, and then into actionable steps that your team can take to achieve your goals.
It’s worth noting that this is an area where it’s particularly important to tear down silos. For a holistic customer view, your organization must be able to seamlessly collect and share data across the board. That includes bridging the e-commerce/brick-and-mortar split that still exists in too many companies, as well as breaking down walls between different channel or data source teams. Unfortunately, the Harvard study found that data and organizational silos rank second and third, respectively, (and behind legacy systems) as the biggest challenges companies have to implementing real-time customer analytics.
How do CRM agency support services relate to customer-centricity?
If you’ve ever wondered, “What does the CRM stand for?” you’re not alone. CRM is an often-misunderstood term. It doesn’t help that the acronym may stand for either customer relationship marketing or customer relationship management. In the latter usage, it’s often mistakenly considered to be only software or technology. In reality, whichever way you spell it out, CRM is the broad-reaching tactical arm of customer-centricity — the nuts and bolts practices, processes and technologies that will make your company’s customer-centric strategy a reality for your customers.
That in mind, a CRM agency should offer support services focused on the actual actions you can take to make the customer experience and customer journey the best it can be. These services may be housed in marketing or under a chief customer officer, but they — like customer-centricity itself — must reach out to and impact all departments.
What are some CRM agency support tactics?
CRM centers on compiling and analyzing customer data across channels to help companies manage and improve their interactions with current and potential customers, leading to greater loyalty and profits. CRM agency support tactics include:
- Loyalty programs
- Lifecycle marketing
- Retention programs
- Customer journey mapping
- Affinity group programs targeting people with similar interests (e.g., new parent, pet or wine clubs within a retail store)
What does a CRM agency do?
A CRM agency, like CCG, can assist with developing and implementing all the actionable elements of your customer-centric solutions. That includes these top 10 tasks:
- Develop a CRM business case
- Create a CRM strategy to accomplish your customer-centricity vision
- Develop, assess or refresh your loyalty program (including benefits optimization)
- Assist in technology solution search and implementation
- Advise on methods of data collection, including qualitative and quantitative research
- Analyze data and help turn the information into strategy and action
- Segment customer audiences for more targeted CRM efforts
- Score customers to identify best customers
- Measure program performance
- Develop creative elements to support CRM initiatives
Your Customer-Centric CRM Agency Partner
As retailers today battle against the challenges of Amazon, it’s more important than ever to avoid price wars and maintain a strong focus on customer experience. Shifting your organization to a customer-centric mindset can be a major asset not only on that front, but in reaching other goals related to customer loyalty, retention and profitability.
As a customer-centric and CRM agency for more than four decades, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-strings consultation with one of our retail marketing experts.