As mentioned earlier, the fact that customer expectations are on the rise does not mean you should try to provide best customer service for every one of your customers. Alan Crowther, managing officer of CRM consulting firm Adjoined Technologies, confirms our case: “Most of the focus [today] is on segmenting the level of service based on the value of the customer. Companies are looking to spend more on their better customers and less on lower value customers. As a result, these companies save on the cost of customer service because they are only delivering a high level of service to the customers who provide most of the profits. Differentiating service based on customer profitability also is an effective way to define which customers are most valuable, which have the most potential for growth, and which might best be politely ushered to a competitor.”
Even computers can’t make everyone feel special. This leaves us with two rules of service for the new CMR:
Don’t try to offer the same service benefits to all customers. Learn what individual customers want. Invest in the ones who can be profitable for you.
Let your profitable and potentially profitable customers manage the relationship on their terms by learning the level of service each individual customer wants and delivering no more and no less.
Customized services not only deepen customer relationships, they also can save expense.
Customers are demanding more information, easier and expanded access, and support through newer channels.
Enterprises that enable their customers to get better, easier access to information through more channels will increase customer satisfaction by between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Web-based services will be a necessary alternative with e-service that is fast, meaningful, compelling, and customer-driven.
Find the link between customer segmentation and investments in service.
Involve customers in the process.
Give employees the tools they need to service each customer knowledgeably.
Above all, look at your business from the customer’s viewpoint. Find ways to empower the customer to make his or her life easier.
John Berry, “Vrrrooom—How Companies Can Rev Up Rules Engines to Drive Up Profits,” destinationcrm.com, March 2002, pp. 1–2.