Editor’s note: The modern business world evolves incredibly rapid. That is, to keep you in touch with the changes, we are glad to present you with the following expert’s opinion. So, meet an interview with Yuping Liu-Thompkins, a tenured professor at Old Dominion University, a scientific researcher at customer relationship management and digital marketing.
Youping will help us to discover the main aspects of the company success, recommend business learning resources and give useful insights into the social networks using.
So, explore how to build the improved client relationships and empower your team to achieve the desired results.
1. Please, tell about the methods and means you recommend for improving the business performance?
It is difficult to give a concrete answer to this question because it really depends on the particular situation for the customer. Sometimes a customer can benefit tremendously from better customer segmentation and targeted marketing communication. In that case, some type of clustering analysis such as k-means clustering would be helpful. Sometimes one may be interested in identifying the return on investment (ROI) of a previous decision (e.g., investing in a loyalty program). A longitudinal analysis involving dynamic models may be suitable in such situations. There are a wide variety of methods for using data analytics to improve business performance. It is difficult to recommend a single one. I usually try to talk with businesses I work with about their challenges and goals. From that, we work out the best solution to the problem. One thing I will say is that all the fancy math does not really matter so much if we do not know how to ask the right questions and if we do not properly interpret analytics results into usable business insight.
2. How useful is the inclusion of customer information from the social networks and other online resources?
Data from online social networks and other online sources are definitely helpful. Social media data can give businesses an in-depth look into what people are thinking and feeling. The answers you find there will be much more naturally expressed than the answers people may give on a survey. Social network structure can also reveal important information about consumers such as who the influencers may be and who may be easily influenced. For years now, online clickstream data have also helped websites and retailers in particular better manage their customer visits and customize content offerings. All of these can lead to a more nuanced look into what consumers think, feel, and do. Understanding customers well is a fundamental prerequisite to the success of a business, and that is where these data sources can be very helpful. Of course such data also bring with them substantial challenges such as the sheer quantity of data available and the privacy issues surrounding such data.
3. Please, tell our readers some more about your publications.
As a tenured professor at Old Dominion University, scientific research is an important part of my job. Most of my research is focused on one of two topics: customer relationship management and digital marketing. On the customer relationship management side, I have looked at the effective design and management of loyalty programs (e.g., how purchase behavior change as a result of joining a loyalty program; how loyalty program data can be better leveraged to gain customer insight); and at how companies should leverage habit versus true loyalty differently in their marketing to customers. On the digital marketing side, my early research looked at how individuals interact with websites and how that interaction influences business outcomes. In more recent years, I have moved more toward social media marketing, and my work has studied the diffusion of viral information through online social networks, the effects of online consumer reviews, and generally how brands should best utilize social media. For more information about my research, you can check out my website https://www.yupingliu.com or follow me on ResearchGate (an online research community) at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yuping_Liu-Thompkins.
4. Do you agree that “Good advertising is the key to successful business enhancement”?
I suppose this could be a trick question. What it is probably really trying to get at is whether advertising or CRM is more important to the success of a business. My answer would be that the two are really not substitutable. Investment in advertising is important for building awareness and building the brand. In the long run, that is critical to the survival of the business. At the same time, CRM is important for managing relationships with existing customers. It is not a secret now that it is often (but not always) much more efficient to keep an existing customer rather than pursuing a new one. Effective CRM strategies help businesses better connect with their customers and build loyalty and beneficial habits among their customers. So from a sustained growth perspective, CRM is absolutely critical to business success. The best companies effectively integrate the two, conveying branding messages through advertising and at the same time leveraging CRM to customize marketing communication to individual consumers based on what they do and like. That in my opinion is the best path to long-term success.
5. In your opinion, what role does play a competently built CRM in the business growth?
I already touched upon this in my answers to the last question. Competence in CRM can contribute many things to business growth. I will list only a few things here: (1) well-managed customer relationships can reduce customer defection and therefore reduce the need to have to constantly look for new customers; (2) it can help make marketing more effective as businesses understand their customers’ needs and desires better; (3) it can help identify and leverage upselling and cross-selling opportunities, creating new sources of revenue; (4) beyond managing individual relationships, it can also help businesses identify new opportunities to explore at a strategic level because they know their market better. These are just a few examples of what a good CRM system can do. As we move into an increasingly competitive marketplace, good CRM system and strategies are going to be a necessity for staying in business.
6. What books or blogs or other sources you can recommend for our readers?
There are two CRM books that I would highly recommend to readers:
- Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage by Peter Fader
- Profitable Customer Engagement: Concept, Metrics, and Strategies by V. Kumar
CRM-related blogs that I would recommend:
- PGreenblog (https://the56group.typepad.com), more on the philosophical and principles side
- Insightly Blog (https://www.insightly.com/blog/), more on hands-on and implementation side
- Colloquy magazine (https://www.colloquy.com/magazine/), not exactly a blog but an industry magazine that I find quite informative on customer loyalty.
- Loyalty Today (https://loyalty360.org/loyalty-today), again not exactly a blog but an aggregation of relevant CRM postings in the blogsphere.
We are grateful Yuping for such an in-depth interview and useful insights. Hope, it will help the readers to get the business succeed and customer experience enhancement.
P.S. In case you wish to try the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or change the existing platform into the new one, stop by here.