Businesses exist to meet the need for products and services within the marketplace. Customers are the consumers of these products and services, and without customers the need for your business will cease to exist. This means that customers are the most important factor in determining the success of your business.
A customer-centric business holds customer satisfaction top of mind in everything it does; every process, every interaction, every product and service. A customer-centric business knows exactly what it feels like to walk in their customers’ shoes in every aspect of their journey. In this article we look at 5 key focus areas to place customer centricity at the heart of your business.
Vision and purpose
Articulate the reason that your business exists and the value you wish to add to your customers. Make it simple, concise and put the customer at the centre of it. The vision and purpose are what drive your strategy and organisational culture. The move from a traditional business-centric culture to a customer-centric culture needs to be driven from the top down, and requires buy-in the at highest level. When people see their leadership teams living the vision and values in everything they do, it is infectious, and filters throughout the entire business.
Communicate the vision and purpose and why they are important
Change management is crucial when driving organisational wide change. Words in a vision statement do not make it a reality for everyone in the business. People are at the heart of change, and the vision and purpose need to be communicated clearly. The reasons why it is important should also be clearly explained. According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index 200 (CEI 200), companies with a customer-centric culture have a higher valuation than their competitors. Statistics also strongly show how much more effective it is to sell to existing customers as opposed to finding new ones. This makes customers your most valuable asset, and in today’s world it is very easy for customers to move to a competitor with the blink of an eye. You need every person in your business to be focussed on the customer, and doing everything they can to keep that customer happy.
Put your employees in your customers’ shoes
One of the most exclusive hotels in the world, The Royal Mansour Marrakech, gives each of their staff a 24-hour experience of being a guest in the hotel when they start their job. This experience begins with a chauffeur driven limo from the airport to the hotel where they are greeted by the whole staff team and then waited on hand and foot. The owner of this exclusive hotel says that it’s the only way that staff can truly understand the customer experience and emulate the highest standards required to satisfy their guests. This is an extreme example and not possible for most businesses but the concept remains valid. Find ways to allow your employees to experience your products and services first hand, in the same way that a customer would. Involve everyone in your business from the highest to the lowest in conversations with your customers.
Improving customer satisfaction is a key requirement for any initiative
Take time out to listen to your customers’ complaints. Join agents in your call centres and read customer feedback on your digital channels. Take time to understand areas of your business that customers find challenging and frustrating. Immerse yourself in the experience alongside your customers. Communicate and share your experiences and learnings with everyone in your business. Give all your employees (whether client-facing or not) exposure to the front line to hear complaints directly from your customers. Then build the learnings into the evaluation and decision-making processes of everything you do. For every initiative you undertake ask yourself, “How will this improve my customers experience?”
Incorporate customer satisfaction measures into your performance management
A business’ culture is influenced by the way its leadership team and employees are rewarded. A large-scale, organisation-wide change is required to become a customer- centric business. By measuring work and rewarding people for behaviour and deliverables that directly improve the experience of a customer, in any part of their experience with the brand, you will actively drive the required change. At the heart of any organisational change are people and it is a simple but very effective strategy to reward people for demonstrating customer centricity in everything they do.
We often think we understand our customers and their interests well, but there is only one way to be sure and that is by interacting directly with them. Focus on defining your target customer personas, identifying people who represent these personas and engaging in conversations with them covering all aspects of their current and desired end-to-end experience with your brand.
Do you need assistance in finding effective ways to make your business more customer centric? Please get in touch to discuss with us.