You and your customers: new BFF’s
Anyone who knows me knows I have a favourite theme, and three favourite little words that I keep coming back to. The theme is insight, and my three little words are Data is Everything. Because it is. And even though I’m a self-confessed techy, fascinated by new technology, the fascination goes way beyond the technology itself – it goes right down to the deep and exciting insights you can get from it. So it’s no surprise that I’m equally forensic in everything I do. Especially when it comes to customers. For me, insight is the secret ingredient for turning a customer into a best friend forever.
Customer insight used to be something marketers did. They would talk to their agencies about demographics, targeting and segmentation, while the rest of us got on with product development, IT, finance, or any number of siloed job functions. But today things are different. Today, the super-empowered, super-demanding customer influences everything we do. We develop products to suit their needs, we put in IT to help them better interact, we make new finance models to make buying from us easier. If we want to win, keep and develop a long-term partnership with our customers, we need to know everything about them.
Let’s face it, with all the technology at our disposal right now, there is no excuse for not knowing your customers’ purchase patterns, preferences and behaviours. But nor is there an excuse, in today’s ultra-competitive environment, for stopping there. The more insight you have, the better the decisions you make and the more problems you solve. And today’s customer relationship is about problem solving.
Today’s business leaders are facing a bigger array of challenges than ever before – from changing technologies, to empowered consumers, to new, digital-born competitors. They don’t need to be sold product, they need help overcoming their challenges, and for that, you need to really understand your customer’s whole story – their business, their market, their competitors, right down to what keeps them awake at night.
Sometimes, if you develop good relationships with your customers across their different functions, you can find yourself with more visibility into the businesses than their own C-suite.
When you can add such vital insights at that level, that’s where it makes for a truly valuable, two-way partnership that achieves far-reaching change and long term growth.
It’s about developing a rapport, asking the right questions, gaining trust and giving confidence. It’s also about honesty. While at Software AG we’re confident we can deliver the right solutions for our customers, we’re also quick to admit when there’s something we can’t do – and on those rare occasions, we’ll find someone who can. For us it’s about ensuring every customer is set up to manage change, survive disruptors and thrive in the new world. It’s about finding the right solution together for long term growth, not selling a product for short term gain. That’s what BFFs do. That’s real partnership.
If you would like to discuss anything further, please get in touch: email@example.com.
Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation