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Customer relationship- the ingredients for success

Arielle Belicha-Hardy

Chief Commercial Officer

Kantar

Arielle.Belicha-Hardy@kantar.com

Customer relationship: the ingredients for success

To stay in the race and deploy effective relational strategies, four key factors must be activated by brands: simplicity, the human being at the center, legitimacy and customer intimacy. Meanwhile, as the landscape becomes more competitive, there are new benchmarks for optimal customer relations.

1. Simplicity. Back to basics! A return to the essentials often helps to clarify the subject. The same applies to Customer Relationship Management. Even if consumers’ expectations of companies demand an immediate benefit, echoing their long-term commitment to the company, they are still looking for simplicity. Simplifying the customer’s life by establishing a fluid relationship, a seamless journey and accumulating positive experiences must be an absolute priority.

2. To be human is a strength: More than ever, the human touch is the main enchanting lever in Customer Relationship Management. Faced with the explosion of robotization and artificial intelligence, there’s a great opportunity to reinject humanity into customer relationships.  A relationship of excellence requires accompanying the customer from start to finish, reacting in real time and innovating by co-creating with them. To be successful, the company must rely on human capital. In particular, it must train its employees to be empathetic with clients, to work hard to provide the perfect response every time, and to give the client the feeling of being unique.

3. Legitimacy is a capital to be exploited: Companies must retain their legitimacy and attractiveness in the face of competition from new players. To mark this difference, offering an enriched customer experience is a valuable retention tool. Investing in new territories and offering additional services in line with consumer needs allows companies to capitalize on their positioning as trusted third parties. The key is to offer an enriched experience to customers and make their lives easier.

4. Intimacy is a very personal and powerful factor: This trend is very clear. The customer increasingly wants to feel unique. The personalization of the offer and services is now part of the relationship contract with companies and consumers. Fifty percent of customers say they are now willing to share intimate data about their lives in return for this. But this trust must be earned. The prerequisite is to collect this data under the best conditions and to make responsible use of it (obtaining consent, compliance with DGMP constraints, et cetera) so as not to cause disappointment and disengagement. In this new win-win relationship, consumers are more demanding.

What’s next: New engagement factors focus on responsibility and ethics

Other levers should be considered in the future of customer relationships. Customers are more knowledgeable, more demanding, and evolving in a world undergoing profound change. More and more of them will support companies that defend values related to ethics and responsibility.

Customers expect companies to make sense of this relationship by investing in a responsible approach to their practices, both environmentally and ethically. The figures speak for themselves. Eighty-five percent of customers consider it important for the company to behave responsibly and 47 percent say this defines their choice of company. A true booster of excellence, Responsible Customer Relationship Management is on the rise and the sectors at the top of the ranking have been able to put this fundamental trend at the heart of their model.

1. Eco-responsible relationships: Carbon footprint control, product recycling, sustainable commitment to the production chain. Distributors are in the front line on these issues and, in response, are multiplying partnerships to select short sectors and offer consumers organic or more natural products.

2. Transparency: Loyalty is increasingly connected to information transparency, data management (DGMP), assistance and resolution of requests.

Overall, customers are very open to sharing their personal data, banking data, geographical location and even details of their personal projects. The stronger the customer’s relationship with the company, the more legitimate it is for the company to ask them for personal information, provided it is used properly. However, this implies building a contract of trust with customers and proposing value-added uses related to these data.

3. Ethical employers build better customer relationships: A company’s commitment to its customers must be reflected in its employees. The symmetry of attention is at the heart of projects to redesign customer paths in companies.

More than ever, companies are investing in employee training, taking into account their digital environments and the power of the tools at their disposal to better understand customers and meet their needs. An organization in which every employee is empowered and committed to their customers is the cornerstone of a successful customer experience.