Even without detailed customer value data you can still implement policies that will have the effect of increasing customer value – you just won't be able to quantify it. The most effective such policy would be to ensure that every customer action is designed to increase the trust customers have in your business. Customers overwhelmingly choose to do business with the vendors they trust the most. Earning a customer's trust, however, requires you to always act in the customer's own interest, even if that means foregoing an immediate sale opportunity. If a customer wants to buy something from you that you know is larger or more expensive than they really need, acting in the customer's interest would require you to counsel the customer not to make the purchase. While this means giving up current revenue, you are securing immense customer loyalty in the process, not to mention word-of-mouth benefits.
So, even in the absence of data, metrics and analytics, my advice to you is this: If you want to maximize the value your customers create, then always treat the customer the way you yourself would want to be treated if you were the customer.
Hear more in Creating Customer Value, a SearchCRM.com monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.
This was first published in February 2008