Friday, 21 September 2012

Touchpoint Marketing Chapter 3: The Moments of Truth that define Great Brands, Great Companies

The Moments of Truth that define Great Brands, Great Companies

This is the third part of a seven-part series on Touchpoint Marketing. Do catch up on the first and the second part of this series to build more context about this piece.

Knowing the characteristics of your customers can help to clarify and identify potential leads. Yes, it’s right that 20% of your existing customers are bringing in 80% of your revenues. But choose to ignore the other 80% at your own risk. Customers change. Their incomes, attitudes, preferences, life stages evolve at a much faster pace than our ability to garner insights. We could be sitting on potential blockbuster, currently dormant customers. It would be na├»ve and myopic to not acknowledge the unique, niche segments within your customer clusters. All it takes is a bit of a nudge and push to activate them. They may be too miniscule in terms of their segment size, but may still have the potential to emerge as your most entrenched customers. But yes, it definitely takes some deep-dive understanding about these customers to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

It’s time that companies wake up to the power of these niches and start looking at these smaller segments for their unique characteristics. It’s time to stop looking at customers as one large mass that’ll react similarly to mass marketing ‘pulls’. Somewhere, we need to go beyond the existing lazy segmentation of key accounts, high net worth (HNWs) and the rest.  Marketing to this ‘Rest’ could be a real game-changer! If marketers put concentrated marketing efforts toward knowing about these high-potential niche customer segments, they're going to do a whole lot better than if they go after everybody in a similar manner.

Now is the time to use the knowledge of your CRM systems and Data Warehouses for clarity and better decisions. For quicker, agile and more targeted offers/mailers. If there is newly discovered information that you should be capturing in your CRM system, now is the time to add the additional fields into your adaptable CRM system.  
Going ahead with a multi-media campaign that claims “Hum Rishtey samajhte hain” and not caring for your existing ‘Rishteys’ doesn’t really add up. It’s great to be gloating about your social media success through the sheer no. of ‘likes’ on your Facebook page. But is there any metric that tracks the sheer no. of ‘dislikes’ for your customer service? High-pitched above-the-line media campaigns bring immediate, far-reaching success (or so you think), but it are consistent below-the-line, Touchpoint-based, one-to-one efforts, the make you the revered organization you always wanted to be.
Multiple customer service roles were introduced to bring your product/service closer to the customer. To help him, to advise him, to guide him, hand-hold him and lead him to this best interests. Excellent, ideal concepts to begin with. But somewhere along the way, all these additional roles are simply adding to your brand clutter. These numerous ‘faces’ of your brand (with no real brand ownership) could be steadily eroding into and diluting your core proposition.
It’s time Organizations de-clutter themselves and get out of the complex web of Organizational structures. It’s time customer-centric finally places the customer at the centre (rather than pushing him across the organization centers). Your customers are not just a part of a fancily-labeled segment (Young achievers, late bloomers, mid-life identity seekers), each one is a distinct individual. Each one is interacting with multiple Touchpoints of your company on a regular basis. It’s time each such Touchpoint starts being the essence of your brand characteristics. The features and attributes that you’ve been so aggressively marketing through your ATL campaigns, finally boil down to a few moments of truth. The moment a potential customer finally comes face to face with your brand.
Touchpoint Marketing is all about leveraging the potential of these moments. By no way is this revolutionary concept. CRM, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Point of Sale (POS), merchandising…companies have been practicing these concepts for a long time. It’s just that we need a consolidated fresh-look at all these initiatives from a ‘One Customer’ perspective. We need a strong culture that enforces the belief of ‘One Customer’ who deals with multiple Touchpoints in our organization. Rather than multiple Touchpoints catering to multiple customer segments, with no dialogue between each of such Touchpoints.
The idea of Touchpoint Marketing may infact find much resonance in John Carlzon’s definitive work in ‘Moments of Truth’ way back in 1987.

As famously emphasized by John Carlzon - A company is defined in the minds of its customers as the composite total of every moment of truth -- those short periods when the customer interacts with the company or one of its employees. The best approach to delivering consistently high-quality moments of truth lie in building a customer-driven company. The essential characteristics of such a company being –  

  • The employees who interact with customers have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company.
  • Middle managers who work to manage resources so the frontline employees can be more effective.
  • Corporate leaders who develop a vision of where the company should be heading and provide inspiration.
  • A flat organizational structure where real-world experience from frontline employees is learned from and built upon.
  • A willingness to look at everything solely and exclusively from the same perspective a customer uses.
  • A commitment to narrowing the focus of the company to the delivery of exceptional service.
Bring all of those elements together and a customer-driven company can achieve some very significant business success, regardless of external financial conditions, competitive challenges or any other factors.

About 2 and half decades down the line, Moments of Truth still continues to be a truthful, profound ethos of everything that customer-centric companies should aspire to be. Today, Touchpoint Marketing simply tries to build upon these ideas through the twin lenses of Analytics and Social Media. Some impossibly powerful tools that were yet to be discovered way back in 1987.

To know more, continue reading the fourth part of this seven-part series here


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