Companies that understand their customers best, even at scale, will win market share and disrupt their competitors. Know thy customer! The importance of customer understanding has never been more obvious than it is today. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, and Google have woven customer understanding into the very fabric of their products. These companies have an advantage over their competitors because they can continuously hone their features and services based on a deep understanding of their clients. This essential business strategy is called direct customer engagement.

Overcome customer engagement weaknesses

What does direct customer engagement have to do with spin cycles and curveballs? Everything. Whirlpool, Electrolux, and Fisher & Paykel account for most of the household appliances sold on the planet. All three companies are undergoing massive transformations towards direct customer engagement.

Historically, these businesses have sold, distributed, and supported their products through third-party partners. Their former strength in the market—a sales, distribution, and customer service network—has become their greatest weakness as new competitors like Amazon come to market with competitive offerings.

The San Francisco Giants, yes the baseball team, has been experiencing a similar challenge. With the proliferation of third-party ticket sales, the MLB franchise has been struggling to understand who is filling the seats at their sold-out games. The people attending games are not the same people who bought season tickets. How can an organization market, personalize, and adapt to changing customer demands and preferences if they don’t even know who their customers are?

Direct customer engagement enables deep customer understanding and brand affinity. Customer understanding determines the fate of your business.

In recent years, visionary leaders from Whirlpool, Electrolux, and Fisher & Paykel have recognized their market weakness and moved swiftly to strengthen their customer engagement and customer analytics strategy. These leaders in customer experience are moving away from an indirect customer engagement model through partner networks towards direct engagement and customer self-service.

The San Francisco Giants have devised ingenious means of connecting with their fans, employing advanced technology to combat the reality that a single ticket purchase often changes hands many times. Not knowing your client makes it extraordinarily difficult to price your product. If you do not know who is attending the games, how do you market to them? Or build a message that connects with them? Furthermore, how can you even maintain a competitive product or develop new features without it being entirely guesswork?

Additional categories: Customer Experience