The concept of Customer Intimacy can be defined as the marketing strategy where the company or the supplier of a product or a service, wants to get closer to the customer to understand his or her needs and wants in a better way.
Customer Intimacy helps the companies to understand and anticipate the customer’s needs and wants more intricately which leads to new product generation with the customer at the heart of the company and its business operations.
It involves the shared understanding of customer problems and needs among all team members of the company. The company is well aligned with the true needs of the individual customer.
Steps to better Customer Intimacy :
- Companies build deep and multilevel connections with the customers to better understand the reasons for buying the products offered and the decision making the process of purchase behavior quite easier.
- All the customer and point of sale touch points are studied to analyze and generate insight from the customer.
- The main and vital focus of the company should be on end to end customer service experience, rather than simply selling a product to the customer.
- It is quite vital to understand the latent needs of customers and develop insights from their regular behavior to create products they didn’t even know they actually needed.
Benefits of Customer Intimacy :
- Companies are able to develop the products that stick in the market as they understand their customers so intimately that they can anticipate their pains, needs, requirements, and desires sometimes even before the customer does.
- Companies are able to innovate at a much faster as the deep understanding of the customers accelerates continuous and consistent innovation.
- In the ever competitive markets, companies that continually seek to understand and then solve their customer problems are the ones who win amidst the tough and ever growing competition.
- With a shared knowledge of all problems related to the customers and the overall market, from CEO to intern, companies are more capable to innovate. They break through and stay a notch higher. They market and sell their products more effectively. Word-of-mouth publicity certainly plays a role in this, but so does the deep connection to the customers.
Strategies to Improve Customer Intimacy :
1) Excellent customer support
Reading and hearing your customer stories, problems, and complaints second hand is not the same as experiencing them firsthand and in an intricate manner.
Hence, it is very important to get every employee and the management of the company to get into providing the excellent levels of customer support and the overall experience is the most effective method for building customer empathy at higher scale and level. It gives every team member time to connect and listen to potential customers, as well as the ability to understand customers in a better manner.
2) Visit your customers IRL
Checking out how your customers live their lives and how your products fit into their day-to-day activities is priceless for elevating the levels of empathy and customer closeness. For most of the B2B companies, visiting your customer’s office makes the most sense and accurate in nature. Make a point to have team members visit at least one potential customer whenever they’re traveling on business.
3) Customer advisory boards
A customer advisory board within the company is a go-to panel of your most valued customers that perform the same function as a board of directors but only from your customer’s point of view.
They are the forums for reviewing industry trends, addressing mutual challenges or opportunities, and offering unadulterated insights and guidance to the customers. There is no better way to form a lasting, meaningful, and close connection between company leadership and you’re most valued and potential customers.
4) Ongoing customer development
Formal customer interviews allow the company management to quantify customer conversations into accurate and reliable insights that can be used by everyone maintaining customer intimacy.
Customer events let your company and its key employees connect with existing customers in a better way and nothing builds customer intimacy faster than the face-to-face contact plus they’re also a great chance to get new ones.
Customer events can be of different forms but the main aim is to bring customers together, let them socialize, network, and learn from each other. Invite your customers to the event but empower them to bring their colleagues relatives, peers, and friend and reach out to any prospects in the area.
6) Customer meetups
For most of the customers, an option of a meetup or an event is to meet others like themselves. The better you facilitate this, the more opportunity you’ll have to get to know your customers in a better way. Use these meetups opportunities to learn about your customers and build a deep and better connection.
If the budget allows, move the location around to different cities. If there is any sort of budget constraint, then hold them in the city where the head office or a major office of the company is located. You can also host virtual customer meetups or events with a virtual component and facility that doesn’t require any huge budgets as well, but there is no replacement for the face-to-face magic that happens only in person.
The most successful customer meetups feature a presentation that is either customer-led or led by a spokesperson of the company who is known and admired by all the customers. Mingling with the customers is also a vital part of holding successful customer meetups. This is quite necessary for the company’s learning, but, more importantly, it is the main reason the customers came in the first place to meet each other.
7) Host happy hours/brunches/fitness classes, etc.
Customer events with more informal arrangements might include organizing or sponsoring a happy hour at the club. If you’re in the consumer space, maybe a giant outdoor yoga class or a lunchtime coffee break at a new art gallery; whatever the option selected, make sure it’s on the company and that people have time to mingle. Ensure as many as team members can be a part of such events so you can multiply the customer intimacy effect.
8) Empower customers to hold their own meet-ups
By empowering the potential customers to organize their own meetups, you can elevate the levels of customer intimacy without spending huge money. It’s also a way to scale this approach on a global level.
However, the downside is that maintaining customer intimacy on the company side requires proper contact with the customers so that there is less of that here than if you were hosting the meetup event. You can ease this issue by encouraging the local team members of the firm to attend as much as possible and to watch out for meetups whenever traveling on business trips.
9) Host a customer conference
Customer conferences are a great way to maintain and elevate customer intimacy, but they require priority from the company management and is a big investment. Many companies that hold big conferences started with customer meetups and gradually progressed once they experienced fruitful results.
10) Host customer dinners
Smaller and more intimate dinners are a natural strategy for any B2B company, but they can also work wonderfully for B2C. They can be formally organized in a routine manner or can happen whenever executives are on the business travel.