We are now experiencing a digital age in which the customer persona has the choice and control over how a product must perform and meet their needs more than ever before.
In such a scary business environment, the fact that customer expectations are constantly evolving doesn’t help relax, either.
This is why it has become more crucial than ever for businesses to define customer intimacy and continuously deliver excellent customer experiences.
Today, this article will talk about Customer Intimacy as a business strategy, provide its definition, tell you why it’s important & how exactly to measure it, and share some inspiring examples.
What is Customer Intimacy?
Customer Intimacy is a specific business strategy aiming to shed light upon particular customer requirements and offer the optimal solution accordingly. It helps you cater to specific client needs and easily meet expectations. It’s basically all about paying attention and putting the focus on relationship marketing and gaining and maintaining successful and personal relationships with your customers in the long run. A solid customer intimacy strategy consists of resource creation and effective customer communication to assist customers in getting the most out of their personalized experiences.
But why is it so critical, though?
Why is Customer Intimacy Important?
Customer Intimacy, at its core, is the optimal business model. Being customer-centric and effective for gaining long-term relationships is the most profitable strategy and a total win-win for you and your customers.
It is actually so great that it helps you:
1- Skyrocket customer loyalty.
With the help of a thorough customer intimacy strategy, you can easily increase customer loyalty, retain your customers, reduce churn, and drive customer value as a natural result.
2- Increase conversions.
When you take the extra step and put the effort to really study and understand your customers’ needs and work on your product so that it can speak to those needs, you consequently cause an increase in sales.
3- Enhance client relationships.
Putting your customers’ needs first helps you develop a successful and long-lasting relationship with your clients.
4- Boost Customer Lifetime Value.
Once your services are more focused on keeping up with customer expectations, you will see that your customers begin to stick around with your product and keep choosing you daily. This increases the CLV, also known as the Customer Lifetime Value.
How Can You Measure Customer Intimacy?
If you wish to track Customer Intimacy, several key indicators will allow you to evaluate and control Customer Intimacy at the right time and in the right way.
The key metrics to follow Customer Intimacy are as follows:
1- The Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The NPS is a key indicator that tells the clients’ willingness and the likelihood of suggesting your services to their friends, family, or colleagues. It measures long-term customer satisfaction -😉- and tells you the exact percentage of your most devoted customers.
With its help, you can monitor user actions, study and understand them, and learn more about customer intimacy, loyalty, and user engagement.
You can calculate it by asking a simple question: ”How likely are you to suggest us to others?”
Following this question, the user ranks their likelihood on a scale of 0 to 10, allowing you to understand their possibility of talking to others about you. They can also provide you with valuable customer feedback or comments.
2- Customer Health Score
The Customer Health Score is a key indicator primarily used to determine the possibility of any situation your customers might find themselves in – this could be churn, growth, consistency, etc.
Tracking this metric and using the results you get from it lets you monitor potential risks related to accounts, groups, or individual customers. This way, you’ll have no difficulty finding your power users and those who are about to churn.
📌 To create an overall customer health score, you need three indicators: Frequency -which indicates the frequency level of your customers interacting with your product- Breadth, which tells you the number of users in a particular account interacting with your product; and finally, Depth, that tells you about the key features that are being used the most.
Built on these, your Customer Health Score will tell you the number of users logging in frequently and using your product.
3- Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
The Customer Lifetime Value is a key metric that shows you the total amount you’re likely to gain from a particular customer within the time of their subscription process to your service.
When calculated right, it helps you come up with smart product decisions and shows you an accurate estimate of the future of your business as it tells you all about the revenue and profit you’re currently making.
This metric can easily be calculated by multiplying profit per year by the average duration of the business relationship. For the latter, you need to divide the number of clients by the sum of the years they have worked with you.
4- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
This metric lets you determine how much a customer is satisfied with your product or service on a scale of 1 to 10.
The results of this metric can be used to help enhance the employee training programs for your sales and customer service teams, educating everybody on customer intimacy and making it the core strategy of your company.
5 Strategies of Scalable Customer Intimacy
If you wish to reach a more profound connection with your customers but are not quite sure how to begin, here are five strategies of scalable customer intimacy to help you prioritize your customer in every aspect of your business.
1- Don’t think small.
One thing you always need to keep in mind while aiming for customer intimacy is permanence.
It’s absolutely vital to think long-term when it comes to generating an unbreakable customer intimacy strategy.
A sale you achieved today doesn’t really matter if that client decides never to buy from you again; intimacy, at that point, requires a solid relationship that lasts long enough for you to learn to commit to the customer so they will commit to you in return. Being completely loyal to your customers in the very beginning is what actually makes customer loyalty from scratch.
2- Take the time to get to know your customer.
Think about any relationship you’re in – this can be a romantic relationship, a teacher-student relationship, or a friendship.
They are actually all the same when it comes to ”maintaining” that relationship in that they all require a sufficient amount of interest, devotion, commitment, and time spent getting to know one another.
Achieving this on a deeper level is a critical investment in your relationship with that person. This is where you build the strong foundation of the relationship.
Companies, in that sense, should put a lot of effort and time into getting to know their clients as separate individuals each with their own field of interests, budgets, expectations, and requirements from your services. This isn’t something that can happen overnight.
However, it’s a solid investment in the customer/business relationship that really ensures customer intimacy at its finest.
3- Offer personalization.
After the second step, you’ll find yourself with a lot of valuable information about your customers that are waiting for you to use them to personalize the service and marketing you’re offering.
With the data in your hands, you can categorize your customer base into groups, subgroups, numerous titles, etc.
The smaller your circle is, the more personalized service you can offer.
4- Encourage them to speak up.
Providing your customers with a chat forum or social media blogs through which they can express their opinions is the key step to achieving effective customer intimacy.
With the help of these platforms, they can voice their worries, provide reviews, and share creative ideas about new products or simply tell you about their suggestions for improving the current ones. All you need to do after they do this is to listen to them wholeheartedly and give responses.
Remember, they already know you possibly cannot put every single recommendation into action, but it’s always great to make them feel heard and let them know their opinions matter.
5- Reward them.
Rewarding loyal and happy customers is an amazing way to let them know you do not take their actions for granted; on the quite contrary, it shows them how much you recognize their loyalty and appreciate it to the fullest.
There are a number of ways you can reward your customers – you can give them one product that they regularly buy at a special discount or even for free.
Cute gift cards for popular restaurants are also very much appreciated.
This way, you’ll be able to create customer intimacy and customer loyalty by being loyal and engaged yourself first. You’ll let your customers know that they’re a priority to your company and you’re completely devoted to improving their experiences with your services.
Top Customer Intimacy Examples
IKEA is a great example of a customer intimacy practice that managed to make dreams come true. When they decided to deepen their customer intimacy and marketing strategy, their primary goal was to find out what their customers in different markets require and make all their stores more local and customized.
To reach their goal and make their company grow, they made a customer intimacy plan: they were going to make 1,000 house calls annually at customers’ homes, and simply communicate effectively about the pain points of the customers, and be involved when necessary.
With this plan, a number of employees showed up at customers’ homes to take a closer look at how people spend their time in their homes, observe how the kids play around, and they asked simple questions like ”How do you like to set your table when you have guests?”, or ”Where do you like to put your salad bowl, your pans, etc.”
This is a phenomenal way to practice customer intimacy through which companies can reach their growth goals while maintaining customer relationships successfully and effectively.
Amazon has the most trustworthy and loyal customer base ever. And this is not a coincidence. As an online retail pioneer, Amazon offers customer satisfaction by being involved in every aspect of the customer journey and constantly enriching the impact of their services – practicing intense customer intimacy as a result.
There may be a lot of competition in this ”Customer Intimacy” race, but Amazon just nails it.✨ On the price leadership side, they offer a wide variety of reliable products, including the cheapest possible on the market.
What’s more is that thanks to their profound data analytics, they can easily direct you to the best product suitable for you in their category through their website.
And lastly, Amazon recommends 100% personalized offerings based on your data and it ships products to the closest distribution hubs before you even make the purchase so that you can get them in less than a few hours!
3- Kraft USA
In its step toward achieving customer intimacy, Kraft USA has decided to narrow down its operations, including advertising and merchandising in numerous stores/a single store, to be able to speak to the needs of those stores’ specific customer databases.
They did this by sending employees out into the field to see what each group of buyers really required. Ever since their sales teams have worked with store managers to come up with a relevant strategy for each region.
To accomplish this, Kraft had to make some changes from scratch – they first created the organization plan, built the information systems, and educated and motivated their team members to wholeheartedly pursue the making of the strategy.
These salespeople are now able to work with regional managers and learn from them to come up with personalized promotional programs and relevantly targeted strategies for each and every store.
4- Home Depot
One major thing about Home Depot is its individual customer service.
The company’s clerks take all their time to figure out which product might solve the problem of a customer, making it the number one priority to make sure their customers receive the right product regardless of the amount they need to pay for it.
This is crucial and effective since the company’s whole business strategy is actually built around selling affordable home-repair items while making sure the service they provide is relevant to the customers’ needs.
For the sake of customer intimacy, they have also updated their in-store signs and mapping in almost 700 locations to enable easier navigation within the store.
Last but not least, they have invested in greater product availability recently and have implemented refilling strategies that include a smart app that shows employees the most sought-after products and gives storage info. This was done manually before, and ever since this app, Home Depot has managed to reduce the number of out-of-stocks by 24%.
Nordstrom is a big popular retail brand that’s over 100 years old.
People always loved them because of their solid reputation for excellent customer service, but as technology and the world we live in rapidly changes, Nordstrom had to step up their customer intimacy game.
In addition to having customer-friendly platforms online, Nordstrom has decided to pay more attention to mobile marketing. They have come up with a devoted mobile application that enables users to make purchases, curate looks, create a wish list for later, reach out to customer service, and more.
With this app, they were able to provide an all-in-one experience for their users and encourage them to connect with Nordstrom in a way that benefits both parties – customers were able to reach out to customer service from the app in an instant, and they were provided with convenient customer service at every stage of their purchasing process.
This focus on customer intimacy through the help of innovative mobile apps shows Nordstrom’s devotion to making customers happy by meeting their primary needs and requirements in the era of smart technology.
Customer intimacy continues to be one of the most critical aspects of value creation and is a key strategy to help you achieve product excellence along with phenomenal customer relationships. Therefore, it’s high time you redefined what customer intimacy means for you and your business in the digital era we’re currently living in.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you create customer intimacy without proximity?
Creating customer intimacy is all about putting extra focus on relationship marketing and gaining successful customer relationships that last for a long time as a result.
To be able to create it from scratch, you need to make sure it includes resource creation and efficient customer communication to assist your customers in making the most of their experiences with your services.
How can customer relationships enhance customer intimacy?
Maintaining efficient customer relationships is actually the key to a lot of things – including customer intimacy.
Having a solid connection built on mutual trust and communication helps you enrich and practice the most efficient customer intimacy possible, enabling your customers to feel heard, secure, and deeply connected with your brand.
What does customer-centric mean?
Customer-centric is a strategy that primarily focuses on offering the best possible experience for the customer, making the customer the center of all the goals, philosophy, ideas, and improvements.