Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In Customer Relationships, Context Is King

Developing context-rich relationships with customers requires you to treat different customers differently, by zeroing in on the different preferences that individual customers have, and remembering them. This may sound particularly difficult if you’ve come to think of your product or service as commodity-like, with competition taking place largely in terms of price and promotion. But even for the most commodity-like of products, there will still be differences in the way customers perceive, desire, and use the product. Here are a few of the questions you could ask yourself, in order to uncover context-building differences among your customers:
• How might different customers prefer your product in terms of its features or capabilities, size and fit, weight, color, design, style, timing, or frequency? 
• What do different customers do differently with your product? 
• How might different customers prefer the invoicing to be done, or the packaging, palletization, promotion, communication, or service support?
• Can you save your customer time or effort by remembering some detail or specification?
• What additional tasks does your customer have to accomplish to gain use out of your product, and what role could you play in helping them to accomplish these tasks?
• Are there particular types of customers with more complex problems or management issues?
• What ancillary services do your customers need in conjunction with your product?

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