Note: Today’s guest post is the first in a three-part series provided by Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar, a research consultancy focused on customer strategy and CRM solutions. InsideView is a client and we have sponsored Esteban’s research on this topic.

There is little doubt that interactions between customers and organizations have changed in the past decadeacross all functions. While traditionally organizations engaged customers by moving them along a “customer lifecycle” with four stages (targeting, acquisition, support, and retention – see picture below), that is no longer the case.

While this was working well for organizations, customers were not always satisfied with the outcomes. As the “social customer” was born, and data about them and their actions became more easily available, a new model emerged.

Traditional Customer Lifecycle

The Traditional Customer Lifecycle

I have been working with my friends at InsideView to look into this phenomenon and this is the first in a series of posts in the coming weeks to let you know what we found out. I have written some of this in the past, when introducing continuums, but I have now gone deeper and created a new interaction model–which will be introduced in a later post.

This first post will introduce the basic concepts, the next two posts will explain in more details the new model.

Let’s begin.

Using continuums, instead of lifecycles, and data as the foundation, organizations can now easily deliver entire lifecycles at each interaction. This change in how they work with customers resulted in greater insights, more value, and information (consisting of data, knowledge, and content) being used better.

Using information also resulted in a shift in what’s being sought for these interactions. The relationship moved from goal-driven to outcome-driven with five key outcomes:

  • Intent – organizations need to understand the underlying reason customers entered the interaction and deliver the right information for it
  • Satisfaction – satisfaction is moving away from being measured by surveys to using real-time data to know if they get what they need
  • Knowledge – knowing what the customer wants and if they get it leads to understanding better what actions the organization must take
  • Resolution – applying the right resolution at the right time in the right place is the goal for all interactions; this is resolution
  • Engagement – the ultimate outcome that is derived from engendering trust at each step by leveraging information to co-create value

All of these outcomes have the same thing in common: they use insights derived from the exchange of information at the moment of interaction to co-create value for both the customers and organizations.

As organizations adapt to this new model of interaction, the modern customer interaction, they must realize that it is no longer about goals, selling, marketing, or supporting the customer only. It is about delivering complete interactions at each step that co-create value to both sides resulting in long-term engagement.

That’s the ultimate outcome.

Stay tuned for the next post where I will explore outcome-driven customer interactions and the new model for interactions (more detail on the outcomes will come in the third post).

Thoughts? As always, drop them below and let’s chat.

Author’s Disclaimer: InsideView is a client of mine and they have generously sponsored this research. This research was conducted as part of my sponsored research model, where kind and generous clients pay me to do research I needed to do anyways and in exchange they get to use the content and their name associated with it. If you know me, and my work, you know this research is a continuation of work I’ve done in the past few years – and that no one, not even sponsors, has a say in editorial control or content. In other words, they kindly sponsored me to write what I find out there.

About the author

Esteban Kolsky has over 25 years experience in customer strategy and CRM solutions. Prior to founding his consultancy, ThinkJar, Esteban spent eight years as a Gartner analyst. Esteban is an industry speaker who has presented in more than 15 countries, and has engaged in literally thousands of customer conversations that, combined, give him a solid perspective to align research with real world positions. Esteban was also previously named by CRM Magazine as an “Influential Leader.”