Are Your Customer Relationships Sticky?

There has been a lot of buzz and spin about “customer experience.” Is it just another trendy management fad that helps sell consulting time? Does it apply to my company? Peter Drucker says it best in his landmark book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices: “There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer…It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods.” Customer experience matters because it is fundamental to the purpose of every business, to create and by implication – keep customers.

But what do you do when your CFO says ‘show me the money?’ What is the economic value of customer experience? Forrester Research has estimated that the net annual revenue benefit of superior customer experiences ranged from 88 million to 3.1 billion depending on the industry.   In a nutshell, this means that superior customer experiences equals increased return on investment. That’s a strategy no organization should pass up.

While every interaction with your brand ultimately helps or hinders customer loyalty, the “honeymoon period” of the customer journey is the most critical time for you to create “sticky” relationships. Evaluating this early phase offers numerous opportunities to set your customer on a path to a higher lifetime value by delivering extraordinary experiences.

From online banks to pharmaceutical companies to retail settings, companies are feeling the pressure to differentiate themselves in today’s customer centric marketplace. Understanding this first stage of the customer experience pathway helps build the solid foundation necessary to create brand ‘stickiness.’

We all know both intuitively and by life experience that the early moments or stages of a relationship are critical – ask any job candidate or salesperson about the importance of making a good first impression! The honeymoon period, often referred to as the onboarding process, will be an anchor for the customer’s feelings about you for the duration of the relationship.

Evaluating your early customer life cycle offers numerous opportunities to set your customer on a path to a higher lifetime value by delivering extraordinary experiences.   Regardless of the industry, there is always a honeymoon period for a customer. The honeymoon period goes beyond the first ‘moments of truth’ and addresses the customer’s full on-boarding process whether it be weeks or months.

The underlying nature of the customer problem, what the customer is trying to accomplish during this early stage, is similar across industries. The principle of the honeymoon period can be transferred to any type of business.

Want to see practical examples of how the honeymoon period has been applied in various industries? Download our eBook, Are Your Customer Relationships Sticky?, to learn how ethnography, short-term communities and longitudinal analysis have been used to inform strategy and make customer relationships stickier.

Kinjal Shah is a Marketing Manager with CMI Marketing Research.

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