Journey to the heart of customer.
Long, Nguyen Quang
“Customer managing is a journey” – Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung, Marketing Manager of YanTV
Taken by author.
Customer Relationship Management is not a process as many people may think. It is a journey that you, as a service provider, will go with your client, together. Customer is not a factor in your process, not a name and number to manage and control in company’s database. Customer is a human and to earn loyalty from them, it has to be more complex than a process, it has to be a journey.
Ms. Nhung is a Marketing Manager of YanTV which was a music forum in Vietnam and then became a well-known music and entertainment channel. YanTV stands for Yeu Am Nhac and this channel was first published in 16th June 2009. It quickly becomes a popular entertainment channel for Vietnamese young people, especially teenager. YanTV is now expending to providing 360o media and communication solution for clients, Coca Cola is one of the clients of YanTV. She has been working in YanTV for nearly 3 years and she has many experiences in dealing with customer or client. She believes building a long term relationship with client is not a process but a journey where both client and agency go together.
From the journey of “customer”
What is the difference between a journey and a process? Nhung said the difference is the company care about the emotion of client. How do they feel when they use your service and how can we be a part of that experience. Many companies now focus too much on providing additional value cost to customer but forget to take care about the emotion of customer. Nhung believes client and customer are human and they do not want to be simply treated as client who brings profit to our company, they want to be treated as human, they basically want to be cared. “The basic characteristic of human being is want to be cared, everybody afraid of loneliness so it is the same to client” Nhung said. Mascarenhas, Kesavan and Bernacchi (2006) also states that only by managing and understanding customer’s experience, company can earn loyalty from customers. Therefore, when customer starts using our product or service, they start their own journey and as a service provider, we have to take care of their experience by caring about their feeling during the whole journey, to make sure that customer has the best experience after they use our service. By this way, we show that we are caring of them.
To the journey of “us”
According to Davies and Prince (1999), client tents less invent in new relationship with new clients when they trust another one. Therefore, it is important to earn trust from them so they will return in the future. For this reason, Ms. Nhung indicates that to provide the best experience for the journey of client, we have to go with them, create an “our” journey and only by this way, you can create your own journey to the heart of client. Consequently, they will return to you next time. To create this journey, there is something that an Account Executive or an agency should know:
Emotion does matter
It is important to take into consideration every single emotional signal such as their smile, language or body language. A good account executive is the one who can read through those things and have suitable reaction. Showing professionalism is not enough because that is just the way you impress your client but not care of them. According to Berry, Carbone and Haeckel (2002), that is emotion that company should care more about their customer.
Feedback, it is two way communication, not one.
During three years dealing with customers, Nhung can see the importance of feedback. In the beginning of her career, she thought, and currently also many people may think that, feedback is something to give to our client in the end of our process to measure the effectiveness, result and success of our service. It is true in some way but feedback is more than that. Waldersee and Luthans (1994) state that feedback is used to manage the satisfaction of client. To create the satisfaction for clients during their journey, the feedback has to come from both sides. Nhung sees that it will be better to give feedback to each other several times during the whole campaign not only in the end. It shows that we are trying our best to help you and by giving back our feedback, it shows that we are honest and straightforward because we consider them as a friend, a member of a family. Therefore, they will trust us even more.
Be flexible, be patient and be a family
Ms. Nhung also said that to work with clients, we need to be flexible. She divides client/customer into 2 groups: the first group is new comer who just starts stepping into the communication and media industry, the second group is demanding client who has experience in communication and media industry. For the first kind of client, the service provider or account executive has to patient to explain for the client. It will take a lot of time but if the client feels comfortable working with the company, there will be high chance that they will return next time. For the second one, because they already have experience so they will demand a very high quality service. For this reason, showing and maintaining the professionalism is very important during the whole process such as keep them updating and set clear expectation for each size in the beginning. However, the most important here is how you make them feel they are being cared as a member of a family. Nhung suggests that the closer you and your client are, the more comfortable they will feel when they work with you. This is true because according to Beverland, Farrelly and Woodhatch (2007), the conflict between agency and client happens due to a lack of closeness between parties. Nhung recommends that to create closeness and friendliness, we can be less formal such as having a meeting in a coffee shop or even go shopping, having dinner or hanging out with each other. “Just take them as a friend, it will be easier” Nhung said.
Building a long term relationship with client is not only a process but also a journey. A journey that an agency has to go with its clients to create for them the best experience ever during their journey. Then you, as an agency, you will create your own journey to the heart of your customers.
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Berry, LL, Carbone, LP & Haeckel, SH 2002, ‘Managing the Total Customer Experience’, MIT Sloan Management Review, 15 April, viewed 1st September 2013, < http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/managing-the-total-customer-experience/>
Beverland, M, Farrelly, F & Woodhatch, Z 2007, ‘Exploring the dimensions of proactivity within advertising agency- client relationships’, Journal of Advertising, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 49-60.
Davies, M & Prince, M 1999, ‘Examining the Longevity of New Agency Accounts: A Comparative Study of U.S and U.K Advertising Experiences’, Journal of Advertising, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 75-89.
Mascarenhas, OA, Kesavan, R, Bernacchi, M 2006, ‘Lasting customer loyalty: a total customer experience approach’, Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 23, no. 7, pp. 397-405.
Waldersee, R & Luthans, F, ‘The impact of positive and corrective feedback on customer service performance’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, November, vol. 15, issue 1, pp. 83-95.