How do you predict the customers’ next step?
Many companies actively try to secure a good experience for their customers. Today’s customers know that you possess information about their digital activities. The magic happens when you manage to use this information to be proactive and predict the customers’ next step.
Is your customer in the preliminary phase of having their needs defined? Or is your customer currently collecting concrete information about the solutions, services, and suppliers they should aim for? Perhaps they have reached the part of the purchasing process that involves a concrete evaluation of the product and the supplier, and whether the customer wishes to buy or not.
Regardless of whether your customer is currently in one phase or the other, it has become harder to predict what their next step will be. First and foremost, the customers are in no rush to decide, and most trades have experience that customers over the last 7-8 years take 15-25 percent longer when making a decision. The biggest change, however, is that the average customers now take 60 percent of the journey through the purchasing process themselves, before contacting a salesman. This happens primarily through Google searches and enquiries in their networks, which can tell them about different options and what to avoid.
The devil is in the detail
That is why it is more important than ever that we, through the company’s CRM system, follow the “footprints” that customers leave behind, regardless of whether these footprints are left in customer service, in the ERP system, on the company website, via e-mails, chat dialogues with running service technicians, or comments on social media.
The modern customer no longer just has the account manager as their entry point into the collaboration – on the contrary, the customer often has many different “touchpoints” in the supplier’s organisation.
“The good old saying about the devil being in the detail is more true now than ever, when it comes to doing business anno 2015”.
By gathering a general overview of the customers’ activities in the CRM system, we increase the chances of being able to predict their next step. And if we can predict the next step, we can also carry out actions that are designed to help the customer choose us and our solution.
There is money in unique customer experiences
However, it is very demanding of the CRM system to create a general overview. It is no longer enough that the account manager registers phone calls or transmissions/receptions of e-mails. You have to be able to register the customer’s movements across organisational and technological platforms, regardless of whether it is through the ERP system, the website, or social media interactions, just to name a few. These are actually data that most companies own, but many need to put into system and use proactively.
However, if you do that, it will be possible to provide the customers with a personalised, proactive, and predictable experience. There is money in that – both in relation to keeping and maintaining relations to current customers and in attracting new customers to the company.
4 questions you and your company should consider
- Have you formulated an official strategy in this area?
- Have you described processes that will ensure that you register digital customer footprints?
- Are your employees involved and do they understand the importance of tracking these footprints?
- Do you have the technology to support the above?