Customer Themes 2015 – The Year for Engagement, Surprise, Relevance and Trust

Here are the leading themes we can look forward to in 2015 towards building better customer relationships:

1. 2015 – and onwards – will be the years of greater personalisation and higher
relevance. Technological advances will make this possible faster and to a greater extent.
You will get to know your customers better and better – and technology will enable you to
use this information to drive greater personalisation and higher relevance in all your
interactions with your customers. Not just on a one-to-many basis. Even on a one-to-one
basis on a large customer base.

2. It will not be about just loyalty. It will be about driving customer engagement regularly
and consistently at an all-encompassing level. Your customers will need to be engaged with
you not just at times of purchase or other necessary interactions with you – but all the time.

3. This means that your relationship with customers is not just built from transaction to
transaction. The context moves. It is going to be about interaction – not transaction.
Every time your customer gets in touch with you or you get in touch with your customer,
the effort will need to be focused on driving a lasting interaction that goes beyond the
transaction. Customers need to feel valued beyond the purchase they make.

4. What will help interactions become lasting and memorable? More of surprise and
delight. Go beyond the ordinary, expected and regular. Create moments of the unexpected
service delight or the delightful surprise that will make customers remember you
spontaneously and with affection and respect. In practical terms, keep aside a (substantial)
budget for surprise-delight initiatives.

5. If you do have a structured loyalty program in place for your customers, it now needs to
move from the mechanics of just currency to a series of interactions driven by
insights generated from data and leading to personalised experiences. When members
speak about your program, it is not about the currency any more. It is about the wealth of
experiences they have gained as members.

6. Which also means that if your loyalty program is based on points and redemption – the
points are no longer earned only on transaction. Points may not be only for
PURCHASE. They are also for PURPOSE. Currency is earned for a whole host of
multi-dimensional behavioural elements that you want to drive to the program. And currency is redeemed not just for rewards but also for options that have a larger purpose –
sharing with family and friends, for a larger social cause, for charity etc.

7. Lastly, the all-pervading issue of privacy. Will customers be willing to share personal
information about themselves or will they feel it is an infringement on their privacy?
Especially so as technology will now be able to very easily track where you go, what you
purchase and who you meet. An already important issue in the west. A growing issue in
India. The fact is that customers will share information with brands they TRUST.
And they expect such brands to use this information responsibly and not break the trust
reposed in them. It is the brand’s responsibility to continuously demonstrate (tangibly and
repeatedly) that it has earned this trust and is conscious of its moral responsibility to the

Lots to look forward to in 2015 as the paradigms of customer relationship building change for the

– Mala Raj