Differentiating customers is the second step in implementing customer relationship marketing. Customers are different in 2 ways, they show different levels of value (some are so valuable, while others are not very valuable), what is meant by value here is the profits obtained by the company from these customers, obtained from the results of a number of purchases of products done by the customer. In addition they also have different needs (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 4).
This differentiate step is carried out so that the company can prioritize business and gain profits from the most valuable customers and underlie every behavior of the company based on the customer's individual needs and desires.
Differentiating Customers by ValueAccording to Peppers and Rogers (1993, p. 41) to find out the value of a customer or customer lifetime value (CLV), it is done by calculating the net present value (NPV) of all profits from these customers. All profits include margins obtained by the company from sales and services to these customers in the future, then reduced by the cost to serve these customers.
According to Peppers et al (1999, pp. 56-59) by calculating the CLV of each company's customers can find out which customers are profitable and which are not profitable, based on that, the company can group these customers into 3 types of customers. The three types are MVC, MGC, and BZ, where the understanding of the three types will be explained as follows.1. Most valuable customers (MVC), are very profitable customers for the company.2. Most growtable customers (MGC), are customers who from time to time show a growth or increase in their value to the company.3. Below zero customers (BZ), are customers who have never provided or made profits in accordance with the costs incurred by the company to serve them.
Differentiating Customers Based on NeedsTo be able to differentiate customers based on their individual needs, companies can first conduct market research. From the results of the market research, the company can segment consumers, then proceed with choosing which segments will be served by the company (targeting). To further deepen the company's understanding of individual customer needs, it is necessary to do what is called learning relationships (Peppers et al. 1999; Winer, 2001).
By conducting this learning relationship, between the company and the customer there is a two-way communication, where customers say what they need from the company so that the company can better understand the needs of its customers and can customize the product with the aim of meeting the customer's needs. And at every interaction the company can get closer to customers so that the company can understand the choices of customers. Based on what the company gets from doing this learning relationship, it can be used by companies to differentiate customers based on their individual needs. For companies that can face-to-face with their customers, the process of learing relationship is done through a dialogue conducted between the company's employees concerned with customers, while for companies that cannot face-to-face with their customers, the learning relationship process is done through customer interaction media center (CIC).