Outdated Analogies

Modern customer engagement strategies tend to focus on ‘owning’ a customer, or at the very least, capturing a greater proportion of the ‘customer universe’ (i.e. having a greater presence in the mind of the customer). Aside from being a useful call to arms, it does not provide any clarity on the business motivation for building such a presence, nor does it provide a framework for achieving its purpose.

This lack of clarity convinced me that a more useful model for developing clear and coherent customer engagement strategies must be possible – this is where the Customer Constellation Model was born.

The Customer Constellation Model

I applied the customer universe analogy to my own world and noticed, whilst staring into the darkness of the night sky, the main elements of the universe and their application to my daily life.

Stars

Stars are the individual products and services that I consume. The Stars which shine more brightly than others are those that I am particularly fond of. Clearly, the aim of every business is to create shiny bright Stars in the customer universe.

Black Holes

These are products and services that I view as lacking value. They are faint specks in the night, sucking money in without providing demonstrable value. Businesses definitely want to avoid being viewed as Black Holes by their customers.

Milky Way

These are the products and services that I interact with on a regular basis. The Stars within the Milky Way are easily and regularly visible to the customer and provide frequent opportunities to provide positive (and negative) interactions.

A Galaxy Far Far Away…

These are a collection of products and services that I interact with on an infrequent basis. They are so far in the distance that they are often obscured by the brightness of closer Stars. When the customer gazes in their direction they need to shine the brightest in order to be recognised and valued by the customer.

Constellations

These are a collection of linked products and services across the universe. They are very easily recognisable to the customer and have the greatest impression on the customer universe.

The Customer Constellation Strategy

From gazing into the darkness I realised that the most noticeable and front of mind aspect of the night sky was the brightly lit Constellations.

It seemed to me that a customer engagement strategy that connected a number of shiny bright Stars (products and services) throughout the customer universe to create a Constellation could, therefore, provide organisations with a strategic framework that could deliver competitive advantage. It would do so by:

1) Ensuring businesses focus, firstly, on improving customer experience within their existing product set

2) Encouraging businesses to seek new and innovative ways of engaging throughout the customer universe

3) Challenging the motivations for adding new Stars to the Constellation

In the next article in this series, I will be examining how businesses can set their Customer Constellation Strategy up for success by firstly creating shiny bright Stars.

I have attached a document outlining the model in more detail and providing some real-world case studies. If you would like to discuss the model further, please feel free to contact me at: samuel.c.church@uk.gt.com.