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Customer Relationships Made to Last

Appian Contributor
July 25, 2016

Ryan Taggerty is a dedicated practitioner in a highly skilled but nostalgic field of expertise. Dr. Tagg, as he is known professionally, is a doll doctor. His is a disappearing discipline because, as Ryan says, "they are no longer made to last."

The same might be said of customer relationships.

Here's what to keep in mind as you create, nurture, and even repair customer relationships to make them last.

Customer Relationships Are a Journey

Remember how you felt about your first doll or teddy bear? They were the center of your play experience wherever you went, and you just didn't want to let them go. Companies that strive to create that intense relationship with their customers are finding they need to update both practices and technology in order to achieve success.

Customer chemistry is largely dependent on generating a holistic customer experience, which in turn correlates to the holy grail of loyalty.

"The percentage of customers that plan on repurchasing products is 18 percentage points higher of organizations that have excellent CX [Customer Experience] ratings."

Customer experience requires focus on the entire customer journey,across all channels.

WBR found that the ability to follow digitally connected consumers wherever they go, offers companies unprecedented access to their customers. "Best-in class retailers are already focusing investment in these areas, because they recognize the potential to enhance customer engagement and provide satisfying, streamlined customer experiences."

Temkin Group has identified questions that we can use to propel customer journey thinking; including: Who is the customer?, What is the customer's real goal?, and What will make the customer happy?

Understanding your customer can change how decisions are made across an organization, and Temkin Group expects to see many more companies adapting to use customer journey to change how they think,act upon, and improve customer relationships.

Customer Relationships Need Technology and EQ

The desire to create customer relationships that last means firms need to reorient away from just collecting data toward capturing and acting upon relationship dataÖ in context. Creating strong customer relationships is not possible if each customer interaction is a separate opaque disconnected experience.

Here's where technology is coming to our rescue.

Therecently published executive perspective,The Importance of Contextual Customer Interaction, discusses what is possible when contextual information about the customer is available at each unique interaction, right when it matters most. This is exactly what is happening for Insurers who are using our Appian digital platform to connect their enterprise -- systems, data, and people -- with their customers. The result is more meaningful customer experiences and that translates to new business and strengthened customer loyalty.

While smart technology is clearly important, so is emotional intelligence.Even operational aspects of a company can be tailored to meet relationship goals. TD Bank, in its effort to deepen its relationships with customers, redesigned the service experience to recognize customers as friends "with pens that weren't bolted to tables, doors that didn't slam shut at 5:00, and lobbies that didn't shuttle customers like cattle through ropes and stanchions."

Dr. Tagg tells us that "we don't own our dolls; we are just the caretakers of them." For our customers, we need to care for them well, assist them on their journey, and blend our technology advances with a high degree of emotional intelligence... if we want our relationships to last.

Deb Miller, Director ofIndustry Marketing

A version of this post first appeared in CMSWire.