Understanding Customers As People, Not Transactions

Eric Berridge, CEO, Bluewolf

Understanding Customers As People, Not Transactions

Today, the power of shaping brand experiences has shifted to the customer — they drive the sales process and dictate when, where, and on which channels to interact with your brand. Leadership needs to shift with this change, as digital disruption and increasing customer expectations are forcing organizations to compete on the basis of customer engagement to scale. If companies want to accelerate growth and achieve business outcomes, they need to know their customers as people, not transactions, and work to develop a culture that empowers employees to drive deeper engagement.

This means that companies must make the most of the “moments” that occur between the organization and its customers across all channels. It's not just understanding the customer persona; it’s understanding how they progress through a company's buying journey from beginning to end, and empowering employees and providing solutions that make their lives easier and allow them to focus on optimizing customer moments. Companies have to be “customer-obsessed” of focused specifically on the digital experience your customers have with your brand so they walk away with a positive experience every single time. 

The first wave of customer service and CRM technology focused on automating customers and providing a single view of customers — in some ways reducing them to transactions. But the new wave of customer engagement and digital experience has evolved the process, to the point where technology must now enable a personal, direct connection.

Here are a several warning signs that your company is mired in a transaction-based mentality and approaches a company can take to correct it:

You think your customer service department owns the customer relationship. In reality, no one department “owns” the customer. Organizations need to reorganize around the idea that all employees share ownership of a series of customer moments. With each customer interaction, or moment, customers are forming an opinion about your brand, and companies need to capitalize on those moments to create satisfaction and further engagement.

You’re not responding to your customers on their channel of choice. If customers are able to communicate with you through the channel of their choosing, texting, social media, online chat, etc., you’re assuming that your customer will meet you on your terms. Making customers go through your channels rather than theirs indicates inflexibility, another symptom of a siloed, transaction-based organization.

You’re unaware of what customers are saying about your brand on social media. You may not be monitoring your brand on social channels, but your customers and prospects are. If you’re not, it’s a sign that you’re not thinking of them beyond the exchange of goods and services. All businesses, regardless of industry or size, are digital. Ignoring this new reality will result in a negative impact to your business.

You aren't measuring customer satisfaction and engagement. If you’re not proactively measuring and acting on the feedback of customers, it’s extremely unlikely that your company culture is concerned about building repeat business and lasting customer relationships. If you’re not giving your customer relationships attention they need and proactively working to earn your customer’s loyalty, your business will suffer.

Customer-obsessed organizations look at their businesses differently, through the eyes of their customers. They then align their technology, processes, and employees around a culture that works tirelessly to produce the extraordinary customer moments that have the power to produce positive business outcomes.

About the Author

Eric Berridge is CEO of Bluewolf, a global business consulting firm that produces extraordinary customer moments to accelerate business outcomes.