Once a business owner or marketer is convinced that this is for real, the next step would be to start thinking about actual VRM interventions that can make the revenue and profitability boost a reality. Here are some starting ideas.
First, identify your Best Customers. This is best done using a model that can calculate CLV (customer lifetime value) for all customers. Also decode the Best Customer Genome (BCG) to identify their attributes and behaviours.
Second, put in place a pan-company initiative for VRM. How can Best Customers be treated like royalty? For example, going back to the Amazon and Netflix examples at the start, can completely different personalisation algorithms be applied to these customers so they see only what’s relevant – more signal, very little noise? Can separate helpline numbers be set up for them? Can a chat window with the best agents be opened when a Best Customer is on the site? Can an alert be generated when a Best Customer visits a store so that customer is identified at entry and not at exit (checkout)? Can a referral program be set up just for Best Customers – because the Best will get more like them.
Third, you can use technology like marketing automation and personalisation platforms to implement targeted campaigns and engagement with Best Customers. While some human interventions are needed and will help, software can do wonders in deepening the brand-customer relationship. Rather than thinking one-size-fits-all, enterprises need to think of the Best Customer cohort as a separate class of customers and use martech platforms which can convert customer-centric ideas into memorable experiences.
To end, here is another personal experience. My family is a loyal Sony TV customer. Recently, a Bravia Smart TV bought a couple years ago stopped working. I checked the bill – the warranty was for only a year. I was quite lost so to what to do. I realised that Sony did not know me at all. I had no way to identify myself as a likely Best Customer. If only Sony knew – and realised that I probably had a very high CLV. Sony makes no efforts to build a relationship with me – I bought the TVs from Croma. The situation with Sony is perhaps not very different for many products that we buy. How many companies go beyond the standard single product short-term warranty to build direct relationships with their customers, identify the likely Best Customers and go the extra mile for them? This is the opportunity for smart manufacturers and retailers.
Even as phygital and omnichannel are the new buzzwords in marketing, what marketers need to think about is how they can become the CEO’s profitability partners. This is where VRM comes in. It is marketing going back to its roots – segmentation, differentiation, selling experiences. The change this time around is that customers are giving marketers copious data which AI-ML engines can now process in real-time. A new world beckons where the organisation transforms its processes and offerings around the needs of the Best Customers – because they are the true growth and profitability drivers. If marketers do not do it, all they need to remember is that their today’s Best Customers are their competition’s Next Best Customers.