Divide and Conquer A Primer on Needs-based Segmentation
A well-designed, well-implemented database serves as the repository of corporate memory. And every customer-contact person in your company, from your service people to your telemarketers, should understand that part of their job is enhancing the resolution of the images contained inside that knowledge-base—making sure each pertinent insight is logged into the corporate database, through whatever processes you devise.
Step 3: Compare customer needs to your strengths
If you're typical, 80 percent of your customers buy from you for one or more of just a handful of reasons—usually, no more than four to six. What are they? And how well do they coincide with the external service values you consciously have worked at developing?
You may find that for some customers, the differential value you create may consist of quick response time, or quality of the product, or how often your rep calls on them—or conversely, how easy you make it for them to order via the internet.
In other words, one customer's perception of the value you add may be another's disincentive to buy from you; and it's important to know which is which, and for whom. The more you work with your database, the more leery you'll become of single, anecdotal comments—that is, the tendency we all have to think that if one customer feels this way or that, it must be true of all.
In the course of the research, you may well have the pleasant experience of discovering strengths you didn't recognize you had—or at least which didn't seem as important. What matters, however, is what your best core customers think. If something is important to them, then it's important, period. You should be nurturing it, refining your ability to deliver it and capitalizing upon it.
Step 4: Develop segments based on customer needs
Your best, core customers are those whose needs best coincide with your strengths—because it is within their ranks that you're most likely to be able to develop still more loyal, profitable customers.