Magazine article CRM Magazine

Who Are Your Most Profitable Customers? Chances Are, They're Not Who You Think

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Who Are Your Most Profitable Customers? Chances Are, They're Not Who You Think

Article excerpt

HOW WOULD you answer the question above? The majority of businesses and digital pundits would likely say it's their digitally savvy customers. Why? Because many organizations carry an unconscious bias about digitally savvy segments due to the lower cost required to serve them, and the greater opportunity to woo them through personalized content and tailored services.

It's a rational thought process, but it has led many to overinvest in digital experiences and channels without maximizing the bottom line, since digitally savvy customers are not the most profitable customers for most of the industries we studied--not by a long shot.

Accenture Strategy's latest Global Consumer Pulse Research (in its 11th year) suggests that the most profitable ones are actually the multichannel "experimental" customers. They don't want pure digital interactions; they want experiences that deliver the results they seek using unpredictable combinations of digital and traditional channels.

Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. consumers are comfortable crossing back and forth between multiple channels, even within a single interaction. Another 83 percent prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels when getting advice or resolving customer service issues, underlining the continuing importance of human interaction.

Organizations that have pushed their digital capabilities to the brink but abandoned the human element in customer service risk losing their most profitable customers, and not getting them back. The research confirms that consumers with the highest rates of profitability are multichannel customers, and this trend holds true across many industries and geographies:

* In the retail industry, customers who engage with companies through a variety of channels drive three times the volume of sales and more than twice the margin of store-only customers.

* Among U.K. banks, customers who interact via multiple channels buy one and a half times more products than digital-only customers. And because the extra products they buy tend to be of a higher value, those purchases can significantly impact margin growth.

* Globally, customers who engage with their providers via multiple channels are 15 percent more likely than digital-only customers to serve as advocates for those providers.

This is not to suggest that investing in digital is a mistake--quite the opposite, given a decade's worth of customer research showing a seemingly insatiable appetite for digital capabilities. …

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