Required Reading: Keys to Shaping Unbreakable Bonds
While a year ago no one knew what the future would hold, clearly the world has changed and innovation has accelerated. Now, as the world begins to open up and consumers resume social activities, companies have a new imperative. If handled properly, the next few months will create a mutual win for consumers and businesses in the form of deeper, stronger bonds.
As founder and CEO of data firm ONR, Jason Ten-Pow has collected extensive consumer data, both behavioral and attitudinal, and converted it to customer knowledge that he now shares with the 94 percent of companies aspiring to build deeper customer relationships. In the book, titled Unbreakable: A Proven Process for Building Unbreakable Relationships with Customers, he pulls back the curtain on the 6 percent of companies that have actually reached the highest level of CX transformation and are effectively building these well-fortified customer relationships. CRM editor Leonard Klie discussed this further with Ten-Pow.
CRM: What do you see as the greatest change in customer behavior related to the pandemic?
Ten-Pow: Customers have a different consideration set, with concerns about cleanliness, ease of getting in and out of the store, spacing between and in aisles. There’s a trade-off between ordering online versus going into the store. Stores will be pressured to deliver an “experience” to bring customers back.
What were some of the other findings from your research for this book? What surprised you the most from this data?
I found overconfidence among businesses in their ability to understand their customers and meet their wants, needs, and desires. Most businesses overestimate their level of CX transformation. Only those at the highest level of CX transformation truly understood their position.
How should companies respond to these new trends? What will they need to do differently?
Companies need to transform their customer experiences so they can develop deeper, more resilient relationships with customers. This means throwing out their old playbooks. The landscape has changed, and what worked two years ago is probably not going to be as successful in today’s environment. They will have to lean on their front-line employees more heavily, not only to re-establish an in-person relationship but also to gauge the mood of customers.
From an online perspective, businesses have to understand that their competition is not only those in their industry but all other online retailers. This means that to be successful they need to create a compelling online experience to bring customers back again and again.
The book pitches three tips that every business needs as they look to connect and stabilize their customer bases. Could you describe them?
1. Collect: Collect customer data and transform it into customer knowledge.
2. Share: Share new knowledge across the organization consistently to ensure all employees, top to bottom, are working from the same consistent set of understanding about their customers.
3. Act: Ensure that decision makers are taking actions based on the knowledge they are acquiring about customers and are doing so to a greater degree each and every day.
These three things will deepen customer relationships and increase revenue and profits.
In the book, you highlight several companies that seem to effortlessly build and maintain customer relationships. What are some of these names, and what are they doing right?
There is a general group of companies that have been born out of the digital era that are reshaping traditional business models of mature industries. These are companies like Uber, Purple, and Airbnb, just to name a few. These companies follow a blueprint of injecting technology into traditional industries.
What else would you recommend to company leaders looking to succeed in this new normal?
Inject customer knowledge into your decision making so you can set priorities around your customers’ wants, not just meet short-term shareholders’ desire for quick profits. Do this and long-term benefits, including greater revenue and profits, higher organizational efficiency, and improved employee satisfaction, will follow.