4 ways to enhance customer relationships

Sid Lee’s CRM Strategy Director Marie Hamelin and Group Strategy Director, Digital Platforms Jonathan Pallett recognize the importance of establishing, elevating, and retaining customer relationships. In order to connect meaningfully with customers, it’s necessary to go back to the basics and remember that customer relationships are, above sales and all else, relationships with other human beings.


Here are four key ideas that they suggest putting into practice to elevate your customer relationships:


01 — Treat customer relationships like personal relationships
As with every other kind of relationship, customer relationships are based upon one main component: trust. Without it, any relationship will inevitably crumble. There needs to be mutual respect in order for things to progress in a positive, proactive way. Just like with personal relationships, customer needs and desires must be valued and considered before sales. Show your customers that you’re open and available to help them pursue their goals. When it comes to introducing a new product into a customer’s offering, make sure it will actually benefit the customer — don’t go through with it if the sole intention behind it is to stir up a greater profit.


02 — Get creative with customer data…
As you continue to build customer relationships, you’ll acquire more personal data around your customers. Use that information advantageously to help enhance the customer experience, and try to use it in unexpected, creative ways. For example, Spotify’s infamous end-of-year Wrapped Campaign compiles a playlist composed of a user’s most listened to tracks throughout the past year by tracking user data.  It’s a unique initiative that is simple, yet highly effective.

In order to keep your data as up to date as possible, keep these things in mind to help your relationships thrive:

— Be attentive, listen to customers, and track customer interactions in order to keep your data as up to date as possible
— Use that updated information to improve customer profiles
— Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking


03 — …But don’t be creepy
At the same time, be sure to use the information that you have wisely. It’s important to respect the privacy and expectations of your customers when providing customized experiences. In today’s day and age, information can be accessed on a whim and with extreme ease — personal information included. While access to personal details can provide insight into creating stronger customer profiles, all information used in your marketing initiatives should be applied strategically and respectfully. It’s possible to know your customers better than they’d assume, but that doesn’t mean you should advertise that fact.

Here’s a tip: Avoid targeted advertising that uses sensitive information. Many platforms, including Google and Facebook, have already prohibited the targeting of audiences through particular personal information, including health conditions, sexual orientation, and race, but just in case you were considering targeting with that kind of information, do yourself a favor and don’t — it could very well scare off your customers.

Make sure to set your boundaries regarding the way you use your data and to not overstep them to avoid diverting business.


04 — Create a strong customer journey to empower marketing initiatives
The customer journey predicts how customers will react from the first interaction with your organization to the initial sale and beyond. When done properly, it serves as a transformational tool that lays the groundwork for great customer experiences. This visual linear narrative portrays how a customer navigates their way through your sales process and enables employees to put themselves in your customers’ shoes through storytelling. Ask yourself: How are your customers feeling? How would they act in particular situations?

Goals of the customer journey:

— Establish a common understanding of the general customer experience
— Build organizational intelligence around the needs and wants of customers
— Deconstruct silos and instead collaborate to positively impact customer experiences
— Generate and share customer insights in a way that is easy for all to understand
— Identify and prioritize customer interests post-interaction