A few days ago on my way out, one of my clients called me sounding very worried and concerned. She was in the process of reviewing her business and sought to know how she could revamp the business and make her customers want her and not her competitors, because she operates in a highly competitive environment like we all do.
She was also in the New Year mode, when we all chart our paths, vision and goals for the year. I listened to her patiently and allowed her to air her concerns about what her challenges were. After the conversation, I came to a conclusion on what I thought was wrong with her business, because I also patronize her services.
In the same week, another client, asked me, “how do I get clients to sign new contracts because I am always having to attract new customers to my business? Why do my customers not stay? What am I doing wrong? How long should it take to convert? How do I relate with my customers?”
The questions I was being asked by both clients were similar. They both understood that they had problems, but could not readily identify what the problems were. It was clear to me that they had both not grasped the concept of “Client for Life”. But, were transactional with their clients and were focusing more on new customer acquisition for revenue growth. They both paid more attention to new customers and neglected the needs of old customers. This I could attest to, because I was a recipient of poor service from my first client when I became a regular customer.
The Harris Interactive research “showed that not only is it six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, but that 86% of consumers will pay more for a better experience, and yet organizations on the whole are slow to wake up to the bottom line benefits of attracting customers for life, and even slower to allocating the resources necessary to do so.”
Why will our customers stay with us for life? How do we retain them for life? Have we really asked what they want and how we can serve them? What they “want” is the crucial question. How do organizations, in this era where they are being judged and evaluated on the need to provide transparency and trust in their brands show that they want YOU as their customer who is now in the driver’s seat and demanding to know HOW?
It is clear that my clients who were calling me to express their concerns about their growth had not pondered on nor answered the questions above. Many businesses need to start answering the question, “Why will my customers want me.”
According to Wunderman, who came up with the new concept of “Wantedness”, not the dictionary definition, but defined in terms of brands showing that they truly care for their customers.
Wunderman said that “to succeed in today’s environment, brands must adopt a new approach to consumer engagement, which is defined as “the degree to which a brand proves their commitment to earning a customer’s business across every touch point throughout the entire path of purchase.”
Not sure I have come across any brand in Nigeria that truly cares about me and I am sure I am not the only one in this category. I agree that organizations have a bottom-line and are set up to make profit but, they will continue to give their customers and me a reason to switch easily because many have not shown that they really care.
Wunderman went on to say that “traditionally marketers have primarily focused on developing consumer loyalty to their brands, but data now shows that brands need to demonstrate their commitment to serving the consumer and exceeding expectations every day.” Keeping this promise is made worse by the access customers have to the best of everything via their mobiles, which make the entitlement syndrome worse because “when you have that much choice you expect more from everyone.”
To start with in practicing Wantedness, we have to unlearn how we have traditionally approached planning and targeting and focus on real people, who they are and how they feel. We have to make them feel desired and special and do so irrespective of whether we are dealing with standalone customers or organizations.
How do we practice “Wantedness”:
- Start organizing around your customers in context of their needs and how they live their lives. Customers crave convenience and experience. Ask yourself, “how am doing this?”
- Make all interactions friction free and easy for them to buy your goods and services. We need to think it from the consumer’s perspective not from our view point.
- Change our orientation from seeking loyal customers to becoming loyal brands. I am sure this point may be difficult for many of us to wrap around our heads. A ringing question, will be, “how do I become a loyal brand?”
- Make service to customers paramount. It is not about wringing loyalty from consumers through promises or promotions. Commit to being in service to consumers in everything you do – every day and at every point in the relationship.
- Be a trailblazer in experimenting new ideas and innovation. Don’t let your customers become bored. Continuous renewal is what you should strive to constantly achieve.
To my two clients and in summary, your customers want you to know them, deliver for them and continue to win them over and over again. Practicing these actions and all the points indicated above, will bring “Wantedness” into your business.