Krishen Iyer’s Successful Customer Engagement Fundamentals

January 22, 2022

Some people say that empathy is an important business key to a healthy customer relationship. Krishen Iyer, as the founder of MAIS Consulting and an expert on profitably engaging customers, would agree with that sentiment, at long as it’s clear what empathy means in a business setting.

Customer Empathy Is Not a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling

Some people, when they hear the word empathy, think of an emotion. For example, that heart-tugging feeling viewers get when they watch a movie and start to care about what happens to one of the characters. But the empathy brands need to show customers isn’t merely a sentiment. It’s grounded in action.

After all, customers don’t care what a brand’s emotions are. They care about how they’re treated. When customers learn that they can trust a business to treat them well in every interaction on every platform, they’ll keep coming back. Customer empathy equates to seeing the business from the customer’s point of view. It means taking the specific actions that satisfy the customer and make it easier for them to interact with the business.

According to surveys, the majority of customers believe that brands don’t care about their needs. That’s because too many brands talk to customers in terms of what the business wants to talk about. That isn’t customer-centric. Instead, businesses should be figuring out what customers themselves need most to hear at the moment. They must talk to them about those things.

According to Krishen Iyer, “Brands that provide the most seamless and straightforward experience perform best in the stock market while also having the most loyal customers.” A business can’t provide this kind of experience without knowing the customer. Thus, a critical element in the path to empathy is centralized customer data. Centralized data in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) or Data Management Platform (DMP) provides some important benefits.

For one thing, it keeps track of everything the brand knows about a customer, so the customer doesn’t have to tell them twice. Few things frustrate customers as much as reentering or repeating something the business should already know based on previous interactions. If the customer has specified some of the characteristics of a product they’re searching for, they shouldn’t have to repeat them when they come back next week. They shouldn’t have to reenter contact information each time they order.

More importantly, good customer information allows the brand to market to customers with information and products that are specifically relevant to them. This is the opposite of broadcast advertising where a generic message goes out to millions and hits home with relatively few. When customers go to a web page, they want to see materials and offers that they care about. They like banners and sidebar ads that are relevant to the search argument that got them there, not info aimed at some other demographic or some other geographic region.

Krishen Iyer: “Simplification Is the Best Policy”

Businesses should always be striving to make their customers’ lives easier. “Simplicity” is a word that requires some caution. Simplicity for the customer does not imply simplicity for the business or simplicity for the systems and processes that lie behind the customer interface. When it comes to satisfying the customer’s need at any particular moment, the brand should be doing the heavy lifting so that the customer doesn’t have to.

To do this, the business needs to understand the customer’s experience from start to finish. As Krishen Iyer has noted, no customer wants to go above and beyond what’s necessary to obtain the products and services the business has on offer. It’s not only important that working with a business is easy for a customer. It’s also vital the customer perceive the process as being simple. Businesses should even tell the customer in advance how simple the process is going to be. Of course, they had better live up to that promise.

It’s not easy figuring out exactly what the customer wants. That’s why so many businesses choose simply to offer a menu of products or services. The brands that succeed in the future, however, will be those that go beyond mere product delivery and learn how to make a connection with the customer.

A good place to start: figuring out what frustrates customers the most. One example, as Krishen Iyer points out, is a lack of consistency and transparency in pricing. Another example is an excess of screen jumps and data entry to make an online purchase. Yet another is a bombardment of messages for products they have no interest in, along with advertisements for goods they’ve already bought.

A business should endeavor to be a consistent, reliable, relevant partner in every customer transaction. When that happens, the customer will consider the business simple to work with, not only because of what they offer but also because of who they are. Businesses that can manage the internal complexity and present a simple interface to the customer are being empathetic in the best way. The reward will play out in customer loyalty and more revenue and profitability.

Krishen Iyer and Business Consulting Services

Krishen Iyer comes by his expertise through years of experience in marketing and consulting, particularly in the insurance industry. He’s a Southern Californian whose first work in the business world was in insurance sales and creating traffic for insurance distribution centers. Eventually, he founded a company called Managed Benefits Services, which provides consulting and marketing support for insurance companies and insurance agencies.

Recently, Krishen Iyer sold this company and founded a new firm, MAIS Consulting. This organization works to help other companies succeed in insurance distribution. MAIS provides services in strategic development, marketing, contracting, and establishing operating policies.

Iyer emphasizes that customer satisfaction is critical to business profits. There are customer-oriented facets of marketing that never change, such as transparency, regular communication, and a passionate understanding of the wants and needs of customers. Though the principles haven’t changed, the technology to help a business live by these principles is advancing rapidly.

Krishen Iyer insists that it’s impossible to present a simple, personally focused interface to customers without the richness of data. Modern digital tools can manage a wealth of customer demographic information and purchasing history. This allows businesses not only to present coupons and offers to individual customers but also to build a profile of their ideal customers. One of Iyer’s key mottoes is ABCD, or Always Be Collecting Data.


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