What will be the trends in data-driven marketing in 2015? Take this quick survey!

Customer-Intelligence is becoming a competitive advantage in companies. Marketing is increasingly adopting the power of data, analytics & technology as a part of their intelligence-driven customer marketing strategy in addition to traditional marketing investments.

What can we expect as trends in 2015 and how ready are marketing organizations for the same. This quick survey will help us understand this. Even if you are a marketing practioner or service provider, do fill this with what you see in your organization or with your clients. Thanks for your time.

What does it take to be a customer-centric company?

There has been a lot written, tweeted, blogged about the importance of being a customer-centric company. So, what are the habits of a customer centric company?

Here's an interesting infographic that articulates their habits. I loved the digital-physical point here. Most often there is a lot currently being written & talked about on digital but the physical components of the interactions and processes are often overlooked in the hype associated with digital. That must be a key area of focus.

But, in my view this infographic only tells half the story. The other half of the story is organizational alignment across businesses units which is an important habit that I have observed in such companies. There is a top-down ownership of the customer, departmental silos are often missing or broken to keep the customer at the centre of these relationships and there are common metrics that are measured to make customer-centricity a reality. You may want to check if there are common customer-focussed performance measures in your organization across sales, marketing, customer service and IT. It should not be confused with sales satisfaction, service satisfaction but are you differentiating & measuring the experience of your existing customers vs new customers? Do you measure incremental sales share from existing customers? Do you measure channels against these existing customer experience measures vs new customer experience measures? Are your customer service measures also measured the same way as the channel? 


 The key question is - do you put your existing customers first and measure it relative to your new customers? That's the secret sause according to me.



Do you value customer complaints enough?

I was reading a very interesting article by Don Peppers on the Untapped Value of Customer Complaints. I thought it was a lovely piece which brought out some very important points on this topic in a brilliant manner.

  • If you feel a company has wronged you in some way, then you’ll be examining every new interaction with it for evidence to confirm this personal belief. (This is your confirmation bias at work. Don’t even bother trying to deny its existence.) 
  • Even a single complainer’s dissatisfaction and distrust can soon infect a large number of others. So complainers, if left to their own devices, can do immense damage to the value of your overall franchise.
  • The more a business contradicts the customer’s own pessimistic expectations, the more noticeable and memorable its initiative will be. When done right, like the boiling pot of water that freezes faster, a boiling complainer will often become a highly convinced brand advocate even faster than someone who never had a complaint to begin with. 

In fact, Don Peppers gives some lovely tips on how to handle customer complaints:

  1. Acknowledge
  2. Apologize
  3. Amplify
  4. Ask
  5. Act


Most often, companies and individuals who work for these companies are always in denial mode when complaints happen. Also, many of them I find are not honest to ackowledge it. Customers love individuals who acknowledge the complaint and sincerely try to solve them. The fact that they first listen to the problem is critical. Then, trying to solve the most important aspect or even part of the problem or even giving it their best shot to ensure it is heard or addressed is the next step.

Many companies have processes,software, tracking dept for complaints but customers look for the 'soul' when they raise a complaint. Many a times employees become 'numb' to complaints and that does not help. 

I always find the best doctors are the ones who understand the problem of the patients and their relatives even though they handle thousands of cases. The best ones spend a lot of time hearing and empathizing with the near and dear.

Customer complaints are also similar. They are invaluable assets and companies need to treat them not just as business as usual. 

In Don Peppers own words "When done right, like the boiling pot of water that freezes faster, a boiling complainer will often become a highly convinced brand advocate even faster than someone who never had a complaint to begin with."