Monday, August 10, 2009

Customer Relationship Starts Before Customer’s First Purchase

Customer relationship management (CRM) aims to manage customer experiences. This implies to take control over the whole relationship with a customer, from its first purchase to the next ones.

But the journey to provide a great customer relationship doesn’t start when the customer buys its first product. Indeed, if loyalty is engaged after the second purchase, the relationship a customer has with one company has already started prior that.

Customer’s decision making process
A customer has already established some contacts with the brands during his decision making process. Either he visited a website, or ask the opinion of some friends, but he already has a picture in mind of who you are. Even prior the decision making process.

I believe the decision making process is indeed not taking into consideration as much as it should. Analysing this key event is important, because it will probably determine how to market a product and adapt its communication.

Branding Is Key Prior To Purchase
Hence, your brand, the way you communicate on your customer service and experience, will help you to set up a particular customer relationship with customers. A company

Promoting Customer Service
Also, as customer relationship management is starting before the customer enter the retail, it could have a clear expectation of what the relationship will be based on. Indeed, most of companies now promote their customer service policy and strategy on their website. By doing so, it alerts the customer that it is entering into a clear relationship where he'll get in returns of his loyalty some rewards and advantages.

Some Potential Tools To Evaluate Pre-customer Relationship
I believe the topic of CRM before the first purchase hasn't really been developped so far. Actually, it is difficult to have clear measure about this step, as company's can't really get any data, but still, some tools could give a good outlook. For instance, branding surveys or focus group based on non customers could help you define what potential customers believe the relationship will be about.

Do you have any other ideas about the topic? Let's discuss about it.