How well do you know your customer?

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Every successful business connects with customers by using purchase history data. How well you maintain and use your customer insight can make an enormous difference on the quality of customer service provided.

How to connect with your customers
If you are going to be using customer database to help foster loyalty and promotions, it needs to be managed well. Maintaining current and relevant purchase history is one step. Integrating the information into promotions and customer service is the heart of the process.

The best way to understand how to effectively leverage customer information in your organization is to look at an example. FreshDirect has incredible success using customer information database to promote loyalty and engage customers with amazing service. Highlighted in a Business Week’s Interactive Case Study, FreshDirect attributes much of its success to using customer purchase history in everyday operations. (You can read the amazing numbers in sales growth FreshDirect has achieved in the BusinessWeek article.)

How the System Works
The way FreshDirect uses their customer data seems very basic but it is incredible effective. Much like other online retailers, customers create an account. Once the customer has a sufficient history of purchasing certain products or brands, FreshDirect then utilizes the data to offer virtual service. As an example, say a customer has a history of purchasing a cleaner but for this visit does not add it to the shopping cart. FreshDirect prompts the customer at checkout to ensure they didn’t forget the item. The virtual shopping list reminder is a great opportunity to provide personalized service.

The process and use of a customer database seems extremely logically. If you start to brainstorm outside the box, one can imagine the numerous customer service possibilities.. Think of a customer who is brand loyal to Heinz ketchup. Considering the Heinz company is also the maker of mustard, Jack Daniel’s Marinades, pickles, gravy, and a dozen more commodities, a company can use brand loyalty to cross promote. If a customer purchases ketchup, hotdogs, and buns, it would make sense to suggest Heinz pickles. It’s using the strategy of Amazon, which suggests a product to try based on recent purchasing.

The same type of strategy can be used for in store or online promotions. Knowing which customers regularly purchase a certain brand or product, a company can specifically invite them to participate in a promotion. Whether it’s introducing a new product, sale, or simply highlighting a traditional brand, it is valuable to know your best customers. The key, is to offer custom service based on the information they naturally provide through shopping. It is customizing solutions, customer service, and making each experience an exceptional one.

David Rich
ICC/Decision Services
David Rich is President and CEO of ICC/Decision Services, a company committed to the customer experience. David has been cited in numerous publications including Smart Money and Fortune. David is a past president of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and an active member of National Association of Retail Marketing Services.

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