Engaging Customers.

Top businesses in these times of recession struggle, seem to focus on those who can support them most: their own customers. According to a new study of senior-level executives from over 200 organizations, lead by CGA and Vovici (enterprise feedback management consultants; www.vovici.com), a remarkable higher percentage of leading businesses consider customer experience management (CEM) more important today, in 2009, than last year (63% to 47%).
The study also defines seven key principles of companies with highly loyal costumers:

1. Create a formal customer experience management strategy and execute against it
2. Integrate customer relationship management data into feedback efforts
3. Include customer ideas for both strategic initiatives and tactical process improvements
4. Planning cycles include formal processes for obtaining customer input
5. Systematically share feedback with customer-facing employees
6. Engage customers in co-creation
7. Share Voice of the Customer data across organizational boundaries

Vovici's study portrays a well known reality: consumers are now more reluctant to spend and more value-conscious and price-careful. But discounting and cost-cutting is not the right ways to woo consumers. And here comes some challenges and suggestions the study launches to retailers. For instance: are you doing enough to engage your customers? You need to find new ways to enhance customer experience and spread that approach throughout your retail action. Technology can free retailers for greater customer engagement. Do you have an in-store personalized digital marketing program? You could maximize your multichannel and cross-channel capabilities as people continue to choose the Web shopping.