André Chaves: Developing Lasting Customer Relationships in the Digital Age

A clear strategy is crucial in developing lasting relationships with customers. André Chaves, a partner with Bain’s Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, outlines three major steps companies should take to create a solid customer strategy, before investing in technology.

Read the Bain Brief: Customer Lifetime Value—A Better Compass to Guide Your Marketing Automation

Read the transcript below.

ANDRÉ CHAVES: We're seeing companies more and more concerned about creating a personalized and deeper relationship with their customers. And they are making huge technology investments to do so.

Well, in our experience, it's not only the technology that would bring them there but also a clear customer strategy. We see the way to create this strategy as having three major steps.

The first step is actually to get to know the customer. So gather customer knowledge. It's about the data.

And in the very first stages, it's about demographics and some basic behavioral data but also understanding how to segment the customers because different segments have very different values. And you want to put the money and you want to put your efforts on your highest-value customers.

With that in mind, we move to the second phase, which is customer insights. So the data we collect on the customers bring us to understand their behavior and bring us to understand what motivates their actions and what triggers different types of behavior that we want. And that's where technology plays a huge role with predictive modeling and artificial intelligence.

And then we move to the third step. Having understood the customer behavior, we now have to create the way to relate to them. So we create actually the customer relationship.

Customers respond to different ways of relationship. Some customers respond better to emails, others to text messages, in store, in a push, in person, doesn't matter. What matters at this stage is that you have a systematic process to test and learn and to really figure out how each segment or each individual customer responds better so that you can take the best out of your market investment.

Having a relationship strategy is what extracts the most out of any technology investments. And to be clear, it's not about the customer strategy or the technology investment but how they mix with each other to make the best of your relationship.

Read the Bain Brief: Customer Lifetime Value—A Better Compass to Guide Your Marketing Automation