Shepherding our customers along their journeys

Developing customer relationships was the official theme of the September 2014 meeting of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum. The unofficial theme was the role we play in supporting our customers along their journeys. Whether they’re on a new journey, or one of multiple journeys, our communications need to be timely and relevant.

Guide our customers as they step across the stages of their journey

When we take the time to understand the journey that our customers are taking, we may identify why we lose some along the way. Garry Lace of Three Little Things spoke about how English National Opera has been spending time with first time opera goers to understand the barriers to return visits. As a result they have introduced a number of activities, such as Naked Opera, which have helped to make ENO accessible and to retain a younger and more diverse fan base.

Maximise relevance across their multiple journeys

Not only should we recognise our customers are on a ‘journey’ with us, we should recognise their multiple journeys. Take the example of banking customer with a mortgage, an investment account and a current account. Too often banks treat each of these journeys as separate, sending out multiple irrelevant, sometimes conflicting messages to the same customer. Tim Crick of Decblue demonstrated how he is helping the banking sector implement well-integrated decisioning systems (on an industrial scale) so that they maximise the relevance of each and every communication.

We need to keep listening to our customers

Paul Ryan from DHL ‘the world’s logistics provider’ talked about Customer4Life, an initiative he heads up. Customer4Life is changing the culture at DHL, bringing the organisation much closer to its customers. The ‘Friday call’ has become an institution reminding account managers to get on the phone to their customer if they haven’t yet spoken that week. Additional to keeping the conversation going, the implementation of joint business planning is improving customer relationships as well as margins.

Next CCMF meeting

Having talked about customer journeys in September, the November CCMF workshop will focus on developing a customer-centric culture. For information about becoming a member contact

Posted by: Dr Emma Macdonald.    Follow me on Twitter:  @DrEmmaMacdonald

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