Are You Ready for the Relationship Economy?

Today’s customers won’t settle for a decent experience or value, they know their worth — and expect an authentic relationship with brands built on mutual value

Introducing a powerful method for measuring the strength of your customer relationships and understanding the human emotions behind them

Up until even 10 years ago, it was relatively simple for brands to compete for customer affinity. We were only just beginning to get a glimpse “behind the curtain” at our favorite brands, and companies still firmly held the reins on brand perception.  

This meant it was still possible to compete on factors fully within a company’s control, i.e., price, features, distribution, and promotion. 

But fast forward to 2023…  reciprocity is the name of the game — with the customer firmly in the driver’s seat — and the pandemic has only accelerated this shift.

Welcome to the Relationship Economy.  

Today’s customers hold the brands they engage with to extremely high standards. It’s not enough anymore to churn out the best product, lowest price or most intuitive UI.  

Brands are expected to also be responsive, deliver on unique preferences, align with personal values, earn trust and take a stand for something in the world.  

It’s time to shift from a Business Strategy to a Customer Strategy

As expectations continue to evolve into the future, a company’s most important competitive advantage will be the strength of the relationships with its customers.

The companies that invest in building, maintaining and nourishing these relationships will outperform the competition and stay relevant in the long term.

This means companies need to shift from having an internally driven business strategy to developing an externally informed, sophisticated customer strategy.   


Relationships and Relevance Lead to Business Results

A customer strategy that…

Recognizes customers as strategic partners. . .  not passive targets

Actively designs different relationships for different customers. . .  understanding that not all relationships are the same

Is crystal clear on who the brand is really for. . . and creates deeper shared valued for these most synergistic customer groups

Facilitates decision-making and measures success based on specific customer centric goals. . . instead of detached business objectives

Is committed to shaping the future with core customers. . . instead of deciding for them what it should be

This is a fundamental shift in the way companies do business

Requiring a more robust system for understanding critical nuances in the customer / brand relationship.

As customer relationships become more complex, traditional, behavior-based measures of customer engagement are no longer enough to fully understand the relationships you have with your customers 

In the Relationship Economy, it’s critical to understand the specific factors that truly matter to your core customers — and how those elements influence the way they feel about their relationship with your brand.

To maintain and grow market share in the future, you must be able to tie performance metrics not only to what your customers do, but also to the emotions and beliefs behind the action.

Once you know WHAT these specific factors are — you’ll need a clear method of identifying where you are successfully meeting customer expectations and where you fall short.

Introducing the Customer Experience Code (CXC) System

A powerful, yet easy-to-use system for understanding the strength of your customer relationships today, and where to focus your efforts to drive future growth.

After 20+ years of bringing companies closer to their customers, we anecdotally knew companies that invest in customer relationships outperform those that don’t. 

In 2018 we set out to prove it.

After analyzing over 300,000 brand / customer relationships across 20 industries and 4 major markets worldwide (US, UK, Germany and Japan), C Space developed…

A validated method for demystifying—and accurately quantifying—the “emotional dimensions” of the customer / brand relationship and identifying which are most closely tied to business success. 

It’s called the Customer Experience Code (CXC) System and can be used alone or as a complement to other popular customer experience metrics like NPS and CSAT.  

Our research consistently shows that companies delivering against the human needs underpinning those relationships perform highest on key business metrics — and are best positioned for sustainable growth

Factors such as…

1. This company… treats me like a human being

2. This company… shows they know me

3.This company… makes me feel good about choosing them

4. This company… has my back

5. This company… makes it easy

6.This company… is trustworthy and does the right thing

Companies with higher CXC scores have been proven to drive superior revenue performance, better return on assets, higher NPS outcomes, and Increased recommendation & repeat purchases  

There are 3 ways we use The CXC System:

1. Brand & sector-level analysis

Your CXC Score: Measuring your brand’s overall customer relationship strength to provide an overview of what matters most in your sphere of influence.

2. Audience-level analysis

Your Relationship Status: Describing the predominant kind of customer-brand relationship your customers have with your brand based on thresholds correlated to positive business outcomes. (Developed in collaboration with the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative.)

Your Customer Relationship Portfolio: Surfacing the breadth and diversity of existing relationships within your customer base and then Identifying high-impact segments within that overall audience ecosystem. This approach uncovers valuable opportunities to deepen and nurture your relationship with your most important customers.

3. Your action plan

Developing Your Unique Customer Strategy: HOW to deepen and nurture your relationship with your most valuable customers will look different depending on each customer type and their relationship status with you. An effective Customer Strategy will include a series of bespoke interventions across brand, communications, service, product and experience, all within the context of what truly matters to your high-impact segments, both functionally and emotionally.

The CXC audience-level analysis is the key to unlocking success in the Relationship Economy

CXC audience analysis uncovers high-impact opportunities for growth

Enabling you to confidently place your bets.

When resources are finite, you must be laser-focused on those relationships with the greatest potential for future growth (lifetime value).

Regardless of your company’s overall relationship status, you have customers that experience a range of relationships with you, depending on who they are and their value exchange with your brand.

This allows you to clearly define — and achieve — your company’s ambitions to grow and stay relevant, by identifying the right long-term customers to help you get there.

Companies who can effectively lean into these learnings and use them as a beacon in driving overall business strategy, marketing spend, messaging and innovation will have a competitive edge over those without the level of clarity the CXC System provides.

Want to start leveraging CXC to drive sustainable growth for your brand?

Want to know your predominant brand / customer relationship status?

At C Space, we believe in a better way of doing business

Of treating customers as humans. Not as targets, data points or subjects who need convincing. Being human is about valuing what’s important to people – their emotions, their lives, their dreams, their realities. It’s about building relationships between a company and its customers on equal ground. Because relationships are the source of results.

By humanizing business – breaking down the walls, departments and structures that keep customers on the outside – companies can integrate the people they’re trying to serve into the ways they work. To create change. To weave customers into the fabric of a company’s culture. To see bigger possibilities for customers, employees and business.

To maximize growth and minimize risk. Working with customers, on equal ground, for mutual benefit, creating something we call Customer-Inspired Growth.

From Captive to Captivating: The New Customer Journey Model

Download our free report to learn more about leveraging the power of CXC for sustainable growth

Dive deeper into C Space’s framework for quantifying the emotional relationship customers have with a company, how to locate your company’s current level of customer closeness and how to chart a path forward, with proven results.