Customer relationship – a never ending story

A new chorus has cast a spell over the business world: "customer relationship".

The spell of desires

A new chorus has cast a spell over the business world: „customer relationship”. Sometimes real, other times mimicked, the relationship with the consumer is often limited to the statement „we care about you”. Obviously, this overtly concern reveals an economic interest natural for any activity that aims to yield profit.

„The consumer is our focus” or „our commitment to the consumer is” or „our customers are the most important partners” are just some of the formulas most commonly used by companies in their public communication.

If there is no symmetry between what companies communicate and what they actually deliver, the relationship with the consumer is limited to either a customer service department with a purely administrative role or simply to an unprofessional PR.

The reality test

As in any business field, there are companies that excel in building relationships with consumers and others still struggling. The former are leaders in their field, and even propose methods for measuring the performance that become standards in the industry, the latter play within the statistical margin of error of the market share.

For companies concerned with an integrated approach of the relationship with the consumer, the three most important ways of building this relationship and strengthen a customer-focused organizational culture are the following ones:

1.Voice of the customer

This method involves understanding the critical customer requirements and specific needs beyond basic expectations from a product or service.

The method involves identifying customer needs and their classification as:

  • “Must be” needs – identified based on returns, complaints, lawsuits, analysis of customers, lost market share, references.
  • Primary needs – identified with the help of focus group, interviews, feedback from the sales team, market research, recorded calls.
  • Untold needs but which lead the consumer experience up to a higher level – identified by observation, personal relationship with the customer and fulfilled through innovation.