Loss of customers is a concern that most business owners will definitely place at the top of their list of fears. To put things into perspective, losing the business entirely along with poor health, tied for second place according to a recent report from Hiscox USA. Retailers face a similar challenge in 2014. Not is the fear of losing their customers a concern, they also have to naturally try to win new ones, in a very competitive business environment. To address these challenges more and more companies will make aggressive investments in technology to gather intelligence about the buying trends and experiences of their customers. Perhaps this is something the U.K.’s Marks & Spencer boss Mark Bolland might pay attention to. Last Thursday saw the CEO “clocking up his 10th successive quarter of declining sales” leaving investors nervous according to a City AM report.
The use of data analytics will be an exciting area of growth as companies try to understand real time consumer buying patterns and behaviours. In the wake of recent store closures, what will highlight the drivers of customer loyalty, are processes like Real Time Data Analytics and Single View of Customers. This will enable retailers to provide a tailored shopping experience to ensure customer retention, says ITC Infotech, a leading global IT services and solutions company.
With the holiday season ended, many retailers are nursing wounds left over from a disappointing period of retail activity. It is imperative for companies to have vital information regarding vast blind spots about where their target customers are purchasing, whether their experiences are negative, and which segment of their customer base is in the ‘casualty zone’. These valuable pieces of information may well prove to be the difference between a prosperous festive period and becoming the latest in a string of high street casualties.
In an age of increased mobile activity, spawned by the proliferation of social media, news of a negative shopping experience can become viral almost immediately and have serious consequences. A ‘customer- centric’ strategy has, therefore, never been more critical. Digitally the voice of the customer has a lot of clout and it is important that retailers know who they are dealing with.
Hardeep Singh Garewal, President of European Operations at ITC Infotech agrees: “Large swathes of retailers’ customers are unknown to them, in some cases, up to 85%. In many cases, companies have little knowledge of customer purchasing decisions. Customer Experience Management helps to provide a strategic framework that retailers can use to gain business insights from multichannel data. These insights enable companies to drive profits and customer satisfaction. Retailers need to be equipped to handle an abundance of data from overlapping sources such as mobile, social, in-store and e-commerce sites and then leverage this data for enhancing their customer’s shopping experience.”
So while Big Data will help stem the tide of losing customers, by getting to know them better, John Mehrmann in a businessknowhow article suggest 10 tongue in cheek ways to lose customers:
Have you found that you have just too many customers? Are you looking for a way to get rid of some of those pesky customers who seem to keep coming back and taking up all of your time?
- Play games with their finances, avoid paying rebates or ignore discounts
- Lie to your customers or intentionally mislead them
- Forget previous promises and refuse to live up to your commitments
- Make false claims or advertising about your products or services, practice “puffery”
- Make it virtually impossible to get in touch with a human being, add more menu options to answering services do not return messages
- Disrespect your customer, pretend they are not there, ignore them, be rude or condescending
- Blame problems on company policy or coworkers, take whatever tact is necessary to avoid personal responsibility
- Remind your customer that you are the only option
- Assign numbers to your customers and avoid using their names, make them look for their number
- Tell them to quit whining because there are other customers who have the same problem or have it much worse
Hayden Richards is Contributor of IntelligentHQ. He specialises in finance, trading, investment, and technology, with expertise in both buy-side, sell-side. Contributing and advising various global corporations, Hayden is a thought leader, researching on global regulatory subjects, digital, social media strategies and new trends for Businesses, Capital Markets and Financial Services.
Aside from the articles, interviews and content he writes for IntelligentHQ, Hayden is also a content curator for capital markets, analytic platforms and business industry emerging trends. An avid new media explorer Hayden is driven by a passion for business development, innovation, social business, Tech Trading, payments and eCommerce. A native Trinidadian, Hayden is also a veteran, having served with the Royal Air Force Reserves for the past 10 years.
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