"Again With the Business Model" We've been harping on the importance of keeping your business model at the center of your programs (along with your customers of course). Well we're at it again. This time we're not talking about programs or products -- we're talking about the customers themselves and how they interact with your business model.
You shouldn't want every customer
Unless you've found that magic place where all customers are wonderful and positive, there's a good chance that some of your customer base isn't making a net positive impact on your business. Whether it's because of a different perception of value or a low literacy around your products -- some customers simply don't deliver ROI.
Assumptions and Optimism
It's a question we've asked ourselves enough times to know the answer is valuable. What assumptions are you making (about customers) about what's critical to your business model but you have absolutely no proof are true? A lot of companies don't pay attention to the negative realities of their customer segments -- partly because they don't have the information they need and partly because they don't want the complications that go with see those negative realities.
The trouble is those negatives eventually come home to roost -- meaning they impact your businesses ability to grow and be profitable . We're all for optimism but only if it's seasoned with some reality -- which means proactively looking for negative signs in some of your customer segments -- and reducing your involvement with them.
Knowing your target segments
What would you characterize as the key factors in picking your target segments? We asked some of our clients what their answers were to this question and here are some of the answers:
- Their perception of value
- Their business model
- Growth potential
- Price sensitivity
- Brand loyalty
Underestimating the damage
Some people will tell you any customer who pays you is a good customer. If they do, they're obviously not business model focused --- because if they were they would say that some customers just aren't worth the money they pay you. Consider the impact of a troublesome customer type on your loyalty programs.
- Do you find yourself making your terms more complicated to avoid rewarding them?
- Is the parking brake on the whole time while you're designing the rewards -- because you're reluctant to reward those customers?
How do you identify them?
We're big advocates of keeping your business model front and center when building programs -- VOC programs are no different. While VOC programs are meant to be customer centric, it's important to leave room for being business model centric.
How? By designing your VOC programs to unearth both the wants and needs of the customer as well determining their alignment with your approach to delivering products / services. In particular, identifying any core misalignments -- which would suggest a poor likelihood of future customer satisfaction -- is an absolute key. That leads the way to steadily shift your customer base towards those buyers that will deliver your company the greatest ROI.