By Francis Wandera
With the liberalisation of the Ugandan economy and the globalisation of firms, it’s becoming difficult for local businesses to keep and serve the same customers for a long. Today, many enterprises struggle to strike a balance between acquiring new customers and making the existing ones loyal to their products and services.
To overcome this growing challenge and disruption from competition and start-ups across many industries, businesses need to recognise the essential role of Customer Value Management (CVM) in not only understanding their customers but also in driving a substantial customer base. According to Forbes, the ability to communicate, sell, realize, and expand the value your offering delivers to prospects and clients has become the basis of differentiation and competitive advantage in B2B.
It starts right from the first step of customer onboarding where the customers are introduced to the product. At the heart of CVM lies the thorough navigation of the customer lifecycle, a journey that spans from the onboarding of new customers to ensuring long-term loyalty and satisfaction. The first interaction between the business and a customer should be meaningful because it sets the tone for the impressions the customer will have about the product.
How the company handles this interaction is critical to the development of a relationship between the customer and the seller. If handled well, this interface can result in influencing product and service uptake. The true magic of CVM, however, lies in its ability to personalize interactions with existing customers. It is usually expensive to acquire customers and it is therefore paramount that organizations maintain these acquired customers or consumers.
Data and advanced analytics emerge as the unsung hero, enabling the team to generate different customer behavioural or usage segments which allow us to tailor offerings based on individual preferences. For instance, in our space, a certain group of customers prefer local content, while others may prefer sports and we must treat these differently. Customer segmentation, a cornerstone of CVM, enables businesses to understand and address the unique needs of diverse customer groups.
The power of data comes to the forefront in demographically targeted strategies for more fruitful segmentation. With the festive season for example, by identifying customer preferences, whether it's Christmas movies or children's content, businesses can proactively communicate relevant updates. This not only prompts customers to consider upgrading their packages but also encourages those who may have lapsed to re-subscribe, thereby growing the customer base.
Traditionally, customer retention strategies were reactive, triggered only when a customer has left or stopped using a product. With the advent of data analytics, CVM takes a proactive stance, identifying potential churn risks early on. This allows for early intervention, initiating conversations to understand and address customer concerns, whether they stem from product issues or system glitches. The result is a higher retention rate and a stronger bond between the customer and the brand. Value Added Services (VAS) emerge as another facet of CVM.
Once customers are entrenched in using the primary product, CVM steps in to introduce them to additional services, creating opportunities for upselling. For instance, in the realm of pay TV services, offerings like extra view (expanding viewing areas) or explora (enabling pause and record functions) are presented to customers, enriching their viewing experience. No business goes to these lengths to please a customer just for the sake of it, value should be realized on both the customer’s side and as well as the organisation’s side.
While businesses mostly service customers while doing CVM, they must align this process to the goal of any business which is building solid relationships with customers. Beyond the realm of products and services, CVM extends its reach to customer appreciation. Loyalty programs, in the form of points systems or cashbacks, which are deployed to reward and retain customers.
In conclusion, Customer Value Management, fuelled by the insights derived from data analytics, is a dynamic force that propels businesses towards enhanced customer satisfaction. It is important to note that if a customer attains perceived value in your products and services, the more loyal they will be, the more they will take on more services and products from your brand and are more likely to recommend the same to friends and family.
The writer is the Head of CVM at MultiChoice Uganda.