Tapping Into what Customers Value with Customology’s Michael Barnard
What does it take to make a genuine connection with your customers? Michael Barnard, General Manager of consultancy firm Customology, says finding out what customers really value is a key to success. During his talk at the Beyond Workforce Success Conference 2018, he showcased the elements of value, and how you can use them to your advantage. While it is notoriously difficult to pin down what value your product or service has to every customer, models can still help you strategize for your business’ success.
The elements of value, released in 2015 by Bain & Company, Inc., divides the elements into functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. These correspond to the needs they address and note that the more elements your product or service provides, the greater the loyalty you will receive. And of course, the greater the loyalty, the higher the revenue growth will be. The four elements of value are tackled below.
Products and services that reduce effort to solve a functional need. Most marketing is geared towards addressing this aspect. Organizing things, reducing cost, eliminating risk, or simplifying a process are some of the ways your product or service can be functional. For example, Tanda has a functional value because it eliminates the need for time-consuming administrative work by automating time and attendance. It cuts down resources spent on creating timesheets and managing leave requests, resulting in massive savings for the company.
When a product or service has an emotional value, it taps into not just the needs, but also the wants of the customer. Often, people are buying the brand because of what it represents. Targeting this need is likely to promote loyalty among customers because the benefits are more abstract. Solving emotional needs can reducing anxiety, promoting wellness, or providing badge value. One good example is BMW, whose immense badge value puts it at the top of mind when it comes to luxury cars.
These are products and services that encourage the customer to do more or make them feel like they belong. Brands that have a life-changing value provide more by creating a community or a long term benefit around them. Brands that have motivation built into their products have this value for clients. Popular examples are Fitbit and Garmin exercise trackers because they don’t just sell a function, they sell a lifestyle.
Products and services that are part of the bigger picture are more memorable than those that just solve one or two of the previously cited needs. Social impact occurs when a brand is able to connect itself with advocacy that clients want to participate in. Of course, it has to be a genuine project and not a mere publicity stunt, because clients can see through a facade immediately. Barnard cited Walgreen’s “Get a shot. Give a shot” campaign that donated a vaccine to a child in need for every vaccine bought from them. During its launch year in 2013, they were able to sell 3 million shots.
Tapping into what customers value involves knowing who your customers are and, perhaps more importantly, who you are as a company. Creating customer programs are easier once you understand the problems that your products and services solve. And because customers vary widely, you need to get creative in finding out what they want. Again, providing more than just one element of value gives you a higher chance of gaining a customer for life.
In the end, putting your customers first will allow you to make a lasting connection with them. Always create products, services, and campaigns with them in mind. It’s also important to care genuinely and make sure your staff are empowered to deliver their best. Mastering how your customers think, feel, and react will put your brand at the forefront of your industry and let you expand into new markets in no time.
Industry Insights |
Michael Barnard’s Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Customers for Life
The most important customers are “those that come back consistently and invite their friends,” according to Michael Barnard, General Manager of consultancy firm Customology. A speaker at the Beyond Workforce Success Conference 2018, he specializes in creating customers for life. And there’s a very good reason for that: it costs 10 times as much to obtain a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer. Consider also the fact that a 5% increase in returning customers can translate to profit growth of 150%. This exponential growth will not be possible without a strong foundation that keeps them coming back. And because they share your product to their network, they can also determine how many new customers you will attract. In short, by taking care of the customers you already have, you will be able to secure your business, and even expand to new markets. Ready to create customers for life? Here’s Barnard’s step-by-step guide on how to do it. Get out of the dark and know who they are The first step is getting to know your customers. Knowing precisely the kind of customers you attract with your current marketing strategies will tell you who you should cater to. Segment your current customers according to age, gender, income bracket, and other indicators you might find useful. If you can, indicate what kind of purchases they make, and when they do so. All of this information will help you strategize for your customer programs. Find out what your customers value Not all customers value the same things. Sometimes, it isn’t even about the price of the product or service, but the needs they address. This is where the concept of “value” comes in. Products and services address four kinds of needs, namely, functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. Your brand will be judged based on the need you address, and the value you add. Finding out what your customers value will help you create for, and market to, them. Develop an effective customer program Any good retention strategy involves customer programs. But don’t just focus on price, convenience, or service! Instead, take a customer-centric approach to communication and engagement. Take the data you have and put it to good use. Look at who they are and what kind of purchases they make. This will help you figure out what problems they may be trying to address. Solve your customers’ problems and they will keep coming back to you. Capture the right data and learn from it When capturing data about your clients, find a single point of truth that can be your basis for analysis. Generally, information is gathered from three areas: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Point-of-Sale (POS), and product data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The single point of truth prevents data overload and reconciles different sources of data. It then allows you to see the overall picture and reconfigure your strategies towards better sales. Read more: Maximizing Marketing Analytics to make Cost-efficient Decisions Keep the customer promise Finally, creating customers for life means keeping your promises. Whether you’re selling ready-to-wear fashion or providing technical services, always deliver what you said you would. Keeping the customer promise often involves the little things. Answering the phone promptly and courteously every time it rings goes a long way in creating a bond with customers. And so does going out of your way to find an item the customer is looking for. To make all this happen, invest in your people and truly make them a part of your company. Allow them to understand what the company stands for, and encourage them to take ownership of their work. Every staff member is a brand ambassador. Often, they are what your customers will remember about you. When your staff is equipped with everything they need to perform well, they are better able to make decisions that would satisfy both the customer and your bottom line. Indeed, empowering staff can help your business succeed in more ways than one. But in the everyday grind, it’s easy to lose track of your workforce. Scheduling shifts to match peak hours, and optimizing staff to reach their full potential, all take time, effort, and expertise. Luckily, Tanda has developed a way to do just that, at a fraction of the cost. To find out more about how you too can achieve workforce success, request a demo here.
Industry Insights |
Creating Customer Programs with Customology’s Michael Barnard
How do you make sure customers keep coming back for more? This is what Michael Barnard, General Manager of consultancy firm Customology, specializes in. A speaker at the Beyond Workforce Success Conference 2018, he focuses on creating customers for life. Existing customers and their interactions shape the future of your business, so it’s important to provide their needs and maintain their loyalty. Often, this involves implementing programs, and it can be tricky to get them just right. Read more: Michael Barnard’s Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Customers for Life When creating customer programs, companies focus on price, convenience, and service. However, Barnard emphasizes that these are not enough. Companies need to take a customer-centric approach to communication and engagement. A retention strategy, whether it involves an app, a one-time discount, or a loyalty card, must: Put the customer first. The business should respond to what customers need, and not the other way around. When a business plans a program from its perspective instead of its customers’, it will not be as effective. Recognize them constantly. Simple acts of appreciation, such as a thank you email, can change the way they feel about your business. For The Coffee Club, the thank you message reduced the time between the first and second transactions by 34 days. Reward their behaviour. Brands that only encourage loyalty but do not reward it have a smaller chance of success. According to the resort marketer Mantra Group, rewarding the behaviour of direct bookings increased their customers’ average spend by 26%. Remind them of the benefits. Send customers emails that showcase the benefits they can receive, and make it easy for them to receive it. Multinational manufacturer Bridgestone saw a 36% uplift in frequency by implementing this. Personalise the recommendations. Make sure the conversation revolves around them, their interests, and their purchasing habits. For jewellery chain Michael Hill, suggesting items that complement previous purchases resulted in a 72% uplift in conversion. Establishing a successful business means involving your customers every step of the way. And in an increasingly interconnected world, your customers are your best advocates. Gone are the days of pure word-of-mouth, as many now take to social media channels to express what they like – and what they don’t. Getting your strategy right can reap enormous rewards. Getting it wrong, however, can be disastrous. Read more: Keeping up with the Customers: Why feedback matters for every business Ultimately, putting loyal customers first, and analyzing how you were able to convert them, is key to attracting new ones. Keep your communication with clients strategic but sincere. Consider not only their interests but also larger trends that you can use to elevate your brand. And always remember that by catering to customers’ interests, you are also catering to yours.