What is the Customer Intimacy Strategy? (+9 Strategies)

Companies that choose the customer intimacy strategy are communicating to their customers,

“Choose us because we can customize our products and
services to meet your individual needs better than the competition.”

Customer intimacy strategy is how the business creates separation from the competition. The customer intimacy strategy is done by:

  1. Going all-in on the customer intimacy strategy and simply meeting the minimum requirements on the other models
  2. Marketing to customers that place value on a wide variety of product and service options 
  3. Understanding the customer’s business and developing solutions for them
  4. Working with customers that value strong customer support
  5. Staying ahead of what the customer wants 
  6. Modifying solutions to fit customer needs 
  7. Empowering team members to make decisions that best serve the customer
  8. Letting managers make customer-focused decisions
  9. Educating the customer with industry-leading product training
  10.  Structuring the balance sheet with a focus on the needs of this model 
  11.  Training the HR department to make hiring decision to support the customer intimacy model
  12.  Inventory management knowing that customer needs may change quickly

If you choose the customer intimacy strategy, you have important decisions to make that have a profound impact on your balance sheet, hiring procedures, inventory management, product training, manager training, customer demographics & psychographics, and of course, on the sales and marketing strategy.

Your decision on which business model you choose should not be taken lightly.

Customer intimacy helps you connect with your customers on a deeper level, leading to a better understanding of their needs. This understanding helps you serve your customers better, which in turn leads to more customer transactions, improved customer loyalty, and better financial returns. Though implementing customer intimacy within your company may sound simple, it can be very challenging to keep your team focused and on the same page.

Please keep reading to find out how to connect with your clients deeper using the customer intimacy strategy.

What Is Customer Intimacy Strategy?

The customer intimacy model is based on the excellent book called “Discipline of Market Leaders”. According to the authors, Teasy and Wiersema, customer intimacy is one of the elements of the Values Discipline Model, together with operational excellence and product leadership; they make fundamental business growth strategies.

If you have studied our tutorial on customer intimacy strategy examples, you already know that companies that choose this model make it a habit of exceeding customer expectations. 

That’s because this business strategy enables you to understand your client’s needs to virtually deliver their perfect solution. 

A core function of companies that properly use the customer intimacy strategy build circular feedback strategies (think surveys) and procedures to measure how aware you are of your customers’ needs and how you have aligned your business to meet these needs.

A customer-centric focus requires all your employees, from the top-level executives to your support teams, to be ready to listen, learn, and quickly make the right decisions to achieve what is best for the customer.

How Can You Create Customer Intimacy In Your Customer Journey Map?

Regardless of your business model, it is crucial to add customer research to your business model before considering a new addition to what you are currently offering. 

Research helps you to better understand your customer, which is the basis of customer intimacy. To effectively understand them, ask yourself the following questions;

  • “Who am I catering to precisely, beyond just age, income and marital status?”
  • “What pain points and pleasures do my customers experience?”
  • “How does my service or product solve these pain points, or how do they bring immense joy to their life?”

The answers to these questions will help you understand your customers, their pain points, and how your services or products provide a solution. Besides, it assures your customers that you are constantly improving and are in tune with their needs.   

If you have a customer base now, regardless of the size of the database, a starting point for you is to do face to face interviews (called qualitative research) and have exploratory conversations with your customers. Go there to listen and learn. 

This process will not only tell your customers that you truly care, getting you closer to the customer intimacy model, but you may just discover ideas for your next message market product fit.

3 Reasons Why Customer Intimacy is an Important Business Model

Here are three reasons why customer intimacy is essential for your business;

1. The customer intimacy business model breeds customer loyalty

The benefits of customer loyalty are endless.

Two very important benefits are 1) Loyal customers will buy what you offer, thereby increasing the number of transactions, and 2) Loyal customers will tell more people about your business increasing your referral marketing.  These are essential for the growth of your business. Customer intimacy increases the number of these loyal customers as it helps you speak their language and create a sense of belonging, making it harder for them to get the service or products you offer from anywhere else.

2. The customer intimacy business model enables you to make your competition almost meaningless

Customer intimacy is your unfair advantage over your competitors. 

You can basically monopolize your marketplace by virtually creating your own category. That is, you are literally re-writing how the marketplace does business, your way.

How can you do this and confidently still win customers?

Because you are intensely focused on what the customer wants. And that in itself is a recipe for success.

It helps you dig deeper and creates a more personal relationship with your customers, which makes them feel at home with you. For example, suppose you run a restaurant and know how a particular customer likes their eggs done. In this case, they feel more understood and loved, hence giving you an advantage over your competitors in many ways.

3. The customer intimacy business model gives your team a clear roadmap for a successful outcome

Building a business leaves you with numerous choices to make to bring your vision to life. 

Due to the paradox of choice, all those options can paralyze your business rather than help you take the needed actions. One way of simplifying your decision-making is to follow the clues your customers give you. 

These clues serve as a roadmap for making the right decisions on growing your business. 

For example, if you are trying to decide whether to start an Instagram account, first research to see if that’s where your customers hang out first. This process literally takes the timely and costly guesswork out of many of your business decisions.

9 Ways to Increase Customer Intimacy And Loyalty

There are many tactics you can use to build your customer intimacy strategy. To help you start, here are actionable steps that can help your company build customer intimacy and brand loyalty;

  1. Have personalized communication with your customers
  2. Keep records of interactions with your customers for reference
  3. Have excellent customer support
  4. Collecting customer feedback which will help in decision making
  5. Do a lot of product education so that your customers have a better understanding of your products
  6. Have a customer stand-in during your strategy meetings
  7. Map the customer journey and simplify the process 
  8. Host customer events that may help you get more feedback from your customers
  9. Develop a brand ambassador program that gives your customers a chance to share more about your brand with others, increasing consumer advocacy

For your business to be customer-centric, you need to put client values, loyalty and needs above everything else. 

For these to be cultivated, there needs to be customer intimacy. If you wonder how to begin implementing it within your company, the points discussed above are an excellent place to start. They will make the implementation process more straightforward and shorter, leading to better results, hence the company’s growth.

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