Guest post: Solving your customer crisis with a culture of relevance


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In this guest post, Rick Kenney, VP and Industry Strategist at Zaius, shares how utilising the culture of relevance can help you solve your customer crisis.

You have a customer crisis. 70% of your best customers have tuned you out. Yup, a massive share of those “best customers” that are driving more than 80% of your revenue and you worked so dearly to attract have put on their figurative headphones and are hoping you will go away. And no, you can’t ignore them too. We’re way overdue in doing better by our customers, and developing that amazing customer experience we’ve promised. But: What. Does. That. Even. Mean?

The foundation of customer experience: relevance

Yes, the vaunted customer experience. The buzz-phrase that stole the mantle from omnichannel as the most overused and under-defined industry axiom.  Most definitions say something like “the sum of all customer interactions” so, let’s go with that. To do better, then, your focus needs to be on the interactions between your brand and the shopper… especially those “best shoppers”.

The good news is that we can measure these interactions a variety of ways; through NPS scores, conversion rates, repeat visits, etc. But, one of the most telling customer experience metrics is: shoppers interacting with product recommendations spend 5 times as much as those that don’t. Clearly, personalisation – which falls into the broader category of relevance – is a critical component of making a terrific interaction, and sets you on your path to boosting the customer experience.

A culture of relevance

If relevance holds the key to better interactions, how can brands create a relevance-infused customer experience? Simply put, brands must create a culture of relevance. A data-driven approach will point you to unlock all of your customer data, applying data science to surface great insights, developing a true contact strategy and of course rigorous measurement, but you need to go much further.

Realising relevance is a strategy in and of itself, and it requires a true cultural shift across the entire retailing organisation. A culture of relevance means that the entire go-to-customer team is focused on delivering relevance, optimising every interaction, from marketing, to commerce and service.

Far too often, brands focus on delivering relevance only into marketing channels. Providing marketers with great tools and expertise, brands are collecting more data than ever; Deloitte found that retailers are collecting consumer data across more than 50 systems. But, marketers need to take on an expanded role –not simply collecting and campaigning, but stewarding data across the organisation to lead the culture of relevance.

And this culture of relevance is helping Innovative brands win;  Mizzen Main is improving CSAT by providing customer intelligence into service engagements. Helix Sleep is curating relevance into site engagements. And Strut This is bringing relevance into the confluence of social and email marketing.

As your customers move across marketing, service and commerce throughout their journey, take note – is every interaction relevance-ready? Does your service team have access to customer data? Are your landing pages personalised? Is your loyalty program speaking to each individual shopper? A culture of relevance means that each function across the organisation has access to customer intelligence, the tools that power great interactions and is focused (and incented!) on creating a relevant conversation within their traditional engagements, as well as identifying new opportunities to engage shoppers.

Your loyal shoppers have become fluent with your brand across your site, your service and your marketing. Are you delivering relevance across every one of those interactions?

About the author

Rick is Vice President of Industry Strategy at Zaius and a thought leader on data-driven retail trends. Previously, Rick was Head of Consumer Insights at Salesforce where he spearheaded the Salesforce Shopping Index and pioneered Demandware’s benchmarking practice. Rick also led segmentation strategy while running a portfolio of enterprise retail and media client engagements while at e-Dialog (acquired by GSI Commerce). Rick holds dual BS degrees from Boston College and an MBA from Babson College.  

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This article was originally published by our friends at LoyaltyLion.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.