A term widely used but little understood. Ask people in most medium to large organisations, and you will get a variety of different answers.

A generation ago, most businesses only had storefronts, customers and business representatives knew each other by name; when someone had a problem with their bank, they would see their local bank manager, see the doctor they had known for years or would ask their local grocer about the freshest produce.

They had a relationship; they had trust, they knew each other, and things just worked.

Fast-forward 25 years, and what was once a simple description of someone who buys a product or service now describes all manner of interrelationships with business. What was once a personal one to one relationship now holds layers of complexity, friction and frustration.

So, what has changed?

WWW dot boom: The advent of the Internet era has evolved to fundamentally change society’s fabric at scale. Consumers can now interact via multiple communication points, assess their interests based on crowdsourced reviews, and regularly publish their experiences via social media channels.

This complex integration of individuals wearing different hats from prospect to interactor to consumer to influencer at speed creates a challenge for businesses not willing to learn how to listen and communicate to individuals based on their immediate needs.

First Date Expectations: While older demographics have a level of tolerance and can still be quite brand loyal, younger consumers expect organisations to listen to their needs, be responsive to these needs, and do so with minimal tension and at a price that is market competitive. They don’t expect this once, they have this expectation for each interaction, continually, ongoing.

If they are not wined and dined with a level of respect and understanding, they are willing to shop around and find someone new that can offer a better service experience.

Customer Centricity: This disruption in technological and social structures has resulted in an explosion of commercial opportunities for those businesses that are willing to put the customer first and actively work to enrich that relationship. For those organisations or even industries not willing to change at pace with the dynamics of consumer behaviour, they will progressively loose brand appeal, significant market share, and in some cases, cease to exist entirely.

At Customer Crunch, we define customers more holistically. We are conscious of the depth of different commercial experiences and expectations across segments and relationship structures. This creates a hierarchy of sorts, which will differentiate for each unique business, industry, commercial size and market dynamics.

CUSTOMER: Any individual, Business or Government entity that HAS a relationship with your business.

This definition is anchored based on a keyword: Relationship.

Let’s review how Customer Crunch has defined this relationship in part two of Discovering Customer Universal Customer Definition [01/09/2021].