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Relationships are everything.

At the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit, Vision Critical CEO Scott Miller explored why, more than ever, authentic customer relationships matter in today’s technology-driven business.

The way you think about people, the way you communicate with them and the way you understand them matters, Miller said, adding that companies like Airbnb have built businesses built on relationships. Relationships are how businesses become successful.

His keynote challenged Summit attendees to prioritize customer relationships above all else. Miller said that despite the billion of dollars businesses spend on CRM software, companies aren’t really developing authentic connections with customers. Most business are very good at capturing simple demographic data, but this approach reduces customers as resources to be harvested for data, not a potential relationship.

Reframing how to think of relationships

Customer intelligence pros need to embrace a fundamental change to the way they research and how they collect data, according to Miller. Intelligence-gathering should enhance the experience of the customer. Intelligence should be foundational to creating and enhancing the customer relationships.

Why? Because doing so elevates intelligence gathering to an entirely new level of importance, visibility and necessity in your organization, said Miller.

The reward for focusing on customer relationships will be the ability to uncover the data and insight you need effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, a strong bond with your customers leads to insight that will otherwise be virtually impossible to secure in any other way.

Customers are ready for this shift

Forrester says customers already provide a lot of personal and behavioral data to companies. But in exchange for that data, customers want valuable, personalized experiences.

So how do you provide value? Sharing is key. According to an Edelman study, 90% of people globally want brands to share—but only 10% of brands do it well.

Miller said that this need to share back valuable insight and content to customers drove Vision Critical’s decision to acquire Pressly, an enterprise-grade platform for the curation and distribution of content.

Integrating Pressly’s technology into Vision Critical enables customers to easily curate, present, and share insight, said Miller. 

Miller promised that Vision Critical will continue to invest in more innovations that will make creating real relationships faster, easier, more fulfilling and rewarding than ever before.

The time to disrupt your approach is now

Miller also challenged the notion of customer-centricity. Knowing about your customers so you can sell them more things isn’t customer-centric. Rather, it’s about empowering your customers with knowledge that elevates their understanding such that they choose your product and services to make their lives easier.

The opportunity to be truly customer-led is a big one. If companies put customer relationships above all else and deliver shared value, both customers and stakeholders will actively engage and share information. Instead of brands begging or paying customers to engage, customers will want to be involved—because they get value from the relationship.

There has never been a bigger opportunity, according Miller, and realizing that opportunity starts with a change in approach. 

Watch Miller's keynote below. Check out the Customer Intelligence Summit site for more information about this event.

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was formerly a Content Marketing Manager at Vision Critical.

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