Next to your team of people, customers are the most important people in your business. They are the resource upon which the success of your business depends. When thinking about how important customers are, it may be useful to keep in mind the following:
Without customers your business would not exist
Your business is dependent on customers. If you do not develop customer loyalty and satisfaction, you could lose customers
- Repeat business is the backbone of selling; it helps to provide revenue and certainty
- The purpose of your business should be to fulfill the needs of the customer
- The customer makes it possible to achieve your business objectives
- How do you ensure you manage customer relationships as effectively as possible?
- You have great people working in your business
- You give your customers the service they demand
- You get to know your customers inside out
- You build a reputation for doing things right
- You have a 360 degree view of your customers
Having a 360 degree view of your customer is important, but what does this actually mean? Whenever a customer interacts with your business, it is important that the information you have available on that customer informs and guides the processes that will help to maximise their experience, whilst also making the interaction as effective and efficient as possible. This includes ensuring your operations are streamlined to avoiding repetition or re-keying of information, to viewing customer history, establishing context and initiating the correct actions.
A true 360-degree view should include views of the past, present and future:
- The past means providing a meaningful and easily digested view of the customer’s history. This includes purchase history and interaction history across all departments
- The present- real-time reporting on the customer record - sales pipeline, invoice proposals, aged receivables, project time, current sales opportunities, quote, orders, projects, to-do’s, activity notes and documents all recorded against the customers record
- The future relates to actions that could be initiated to guide the future of the relationship. Is the customer likely to churn? Could there be up-sell or cross-sell opportunities or targeted messages that are relevant to them?
A 360-degree view is not simply about having integrated software systems of all activity, but also being able to pull together information that is relevant for a specific customer and specific interaction into an intuitive workspace.