In 1996 Don Peppers and Martha Rogers wrote a book called the ‘One to One Future’ from which they outlined what became know as the One to One Marketing approach. The premise of the book and the marketing concept it advanced was about moving away from the mass marketing of products and services to starting to think about how to design customer relationships in a more personal, individual and tailored way. What proceeded was a flurry of company initiatives to get closer to the customer – implementing all manner of customer centricity initiatives, slogans and groups proclaiming ‘one customer’ strategies. Sales departments fell in-line with a One to One selling models which started to examine customer lifetime value and re-assigned sales territories and quotas to key target accounts and customer segments. As companies used One to One to drive customer acquisition and growth strategies – when it came to delivering service the concept started to fall apart. Personalized service has been long talked about, but outside of small businesses very hard to implement. It doesn’t scale very well when you start to handle hundreds, if not thousands of customer interactions daily. It gets really expensive to deploy personalized service — and the technology at the time was built to handle customer interactions in a triage manner like a MASH unit, automating whatever we could, and putting barriers between the company and the customer to avoid the expense of a human interaction. What we ended up with was far from One to One Service and instead service for the masses, more of a zone defense service strategy to use a basketball analogy. And that’s where the problem lies. Customers today don’t want to be handled in a reactive or defensive mode, and they don’t want to be treated like the masses. They want a personalized and engaging experience from the moment they decide to become a customer. Our ability to deliver on the service promise earns us the right to engage in a more profitable and mutually beneficial relationship. That concept, called the One to One Business – requires companies to redesign their customer engagement process for marketing, sales and service from what’s convenient for them to what’s required by today’s customer. It reveals some surprising and new insights that highlight new ‘moments of truth’ for when offers should be made, when customer churn can be prevented, and when sales opportunities best present themselves. Fortunately, technology and analytics offer us the opportunity to scale One to One today in a way not available when Peppers & Rogers wrote the book on One to One Marketing nearly 20 years ago. A Customer Experience Platform that can address inbound, outbound and self-service customer interactions – as well as the back office process which is key to engaging the customer at the right time – central to enabling the One to One Business. If you’re interested in learning about how this applies to you, check out our 2013 G-Force series, we’d really love to see you there!