What you will study
Why is connecting with customers so important for you and your organisation? This course aims to address this question by presenting a number of ideas about how to create value for customers with a number of key objectives in mind:
- increasing the relevance of current products and services to the market
- better profit margins
- increasing speed to market
- reducing the risk of failed innovation
- improving agility of organisations to exploit potential opportunities and respond to early warnings of threats
- greater customer and employee satisfaction
- competitive advantage
- more efficient working
- more engaged employees
- greater brand awareness
The benefits achieved by organisations can be measured by profitability, increased efficiencies, customer and employee satisfaction and therefore a more sustainable strategy for ongoing value creation. Customers on the other hand gain through a better overall experience that is more aligned with their expectations and ongoing needs and wants.
This course starts with examining the reasons for connecting with customers and asks what’s in it for them? What’s in it for you? It then moves on to look at how organisations can connect more effectively with their customers. The course also focusses on how to create a customer focused culture and finally, managing loyalty and satisfaction.
Key concepts of understanding customers, segmentation, the customer life cycle, loyalty and engagement, customer profitability and customer centricity will be covered in this course. Case studies will help students to understand what effective organisations do. The course will outline some of the main models, principles, features and benefits of strategies to build effective relationships with customers, always remembering that customers ultimately decide with whom they connect. A connection in this context begins with the recognition or realisation that both parties have something that the other needs and therefore an exchange is possible.
Throughout the course you will be encouraged to draw upon your own experiences and reflect on how well your own organisation relates to its customers. The activities you will undertake throughout aim to help you to evaluate where there is scope to improve on current practice in managing, engaging and developing your key customers or customer groups. This should enable you to produce an action plan of how you can connect more effectively with customers and implement the improvements you identify are needed.
The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. It requires no more than 25 hours of your time in total, over whatever period suits you. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!
The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:
- The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
- The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
- A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. A learning adviser will review your work-based activity and provide personal feedback.
- Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB The course does not carry academic credits.)
You will learn
After completing this course you should be able to:
- Examine the potential benefits and challenges of connecting with customers and apply it to their own organisation
- Explain the customer lifecycle and describe how it is currently managed in their own organisation
- Use the principles and features of good relationship management to evaluate how it is practised in their own organisation
- Apply the concept of loyalty and retention in relation to their own customer base
- Plan to improve engagement with a key customer or group of customers.
Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the course forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.
The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.