17 Jan Customer Intimacy: does that create loyalty?
Chances are, there’s not a manager or leader who would say that they weren’t committed to providing great customer service.
But, can they say that they have a trusting, personal relationship with their customers, so much so that it gives them a real competitive advantage? Their organisations might offer excellent customer service, but do they go “the extra mile” and offer “customer intimacy”?
What Is Customer Intimacy?
Customer intimacy is one of three core elements of The Values Discipline Model, which was developed in the early 1990s by strategy experts Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. The three elements are:
- Operational Excellence:providing good products at the lowest total cost.
- Product Leadership:developing new and better products through differentiation and innovation.
- Customer Intimacy:continually customizing products and services to meet the customer’s needs.
Customer intimacy can be thought of as an advanced form of customer-centric business. It involves learning as much as possible about them, either as individuals or as very small segments of your market, and meeting their specific needs.
So, what does customer intimacy look like in real life?
Imagine that you manage an outlet of a large retail chain, where you are regularly tasked by head office to implement centrally designed sales promotions. For example, every store recently ran the same campaign, involving fun recipes for customers to try cooking at home.
As a result of this decentralisation, and the freedom that you now have to tailor your offerings to your customers, your customers are much more engaged and satisfied, and they now shop at your store more frequently.
As you can see, adopting customer intimacy can take a lot of thought and effort. But the payoff is that you build a personal relationship with your customers. The more insight you have into your customers ‘needs and wants, and the better you meet them, the more loyal they will be.
Source: Mind Tools
Contributor: Hannah Taylor-Brewin