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Good Customers vs. Bad Customers: How CRM Can Help You Understand The Difference And Do Something About It

Many organizations strive to treat their best customers well – providing them with rewards, dedicated customer service options, recognition of their importance, and attention from senior executives, etc.  Many organizations also treat their “problem” customers differently – changing price and other terms for those that threaten to leave, replying to those who complain, or sending those who don’t pay to “risk management” for extra special attention.  These efforts are typically designed to address specific opportunities – to further engage a valuable customer, or particular challenges – to resolve the issue of about which a vocal customer is complaining.  With the right plan and the right team, many companies successfully operate loyalty programs, retention programs, save programs, etc. 

But even the successful ones are missing out on the real impact these tactics can have, because they aren’t thinking about how these separate programs can and should work together.  And they don’t have a cohesive strategy that defines how these programs connect, and how they work together to strengthen the customer relationship, optimize it over the customer lifecycle, and create value for the enterprise in the process.  And that is precisely the way leading firms think about things. 

 Leading companies take a comprehensive view of managing customer relationships, create the capabilities needed to quickly understand the difference between “good” customers and “bad” ones, and design connected programs that anticipate customer behaviors and offer treatments that are appropriate for each. To determine how close you and your organization are to this standard, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have a definition of customer value that allows you to distinguish good from bad - or at least good from not as good – and is consistent across your organization?
  2. Can you distinguish between good and bad customers early in the relationship, ideally while they are still prospective customers?
  3. Do you change the treatment of a customer based on your determination of how good or bad they are likely to be in the future?
  4. Are your customer management teams, processes, and tools designed to support treating good and bad customers differently, or do you attempt to do it despite barriers presented by the existing infrastructure?

If you can’t answer these questions affirmatively, then your organization is likely to be missing out on some of the impact that a connected customer management approach can help to create.  In subsequent posts in the “Good vs. Bad” series, we will dig into each of these areas in more detail. And if you want to dig faster than that, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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