We live in an era where customers are empowered. They are empowered to do their own research, share their opinions, make their own choices and shop competitively. They are constantly evaluating you based on your products, reputation, competitors, and service. To attract and keep their business, you must be attentive to their needs and provide them with an exceptional customer experience.
Most companies think of customer experience as a part of a linear journey, breaking it into touchpoints and individual engagements. But this siloed focus on individual touchpoints misses the bigger, more important, picture: the complete customer-centric experience, from pre- to post purchase.
SHIFTING THE PARADIGM TO A CUSTOMER- CENTRIC EXPERIENCE
Building a complete customer-centric experience is crucial because people form their opinions through multiple interactions with the brand throughout the customer journey - from the awareness stage, through the buying process and finally through the post-purchase journey. A recent survey also validates this - Companies that provide a customer-centric experience are 60% more profitable than their competitors. And, 86% of respondents to the survey said they would pay more if it would guarantee superior service. Finally, 89% of respondents had recently switched from a business to its competitor because of poor service.
CHALLENGES OF A CUSTOMER CENTRIC APPROACH
A lack of clear ownership of the customer is also holding companies back from a true customer focus. This lack of centralized customer ownership has resulted in a scenario where 48% of marketers are only moderately confident in the ability of their organization’s core touch points to reach and engage with the customer.
Although most organizations understand the importance of adopting a customer-centric approach to doing business, many fall short in their drive to do so.
BEST PRACTICES TO BECOMING A CUSTOMER CENTRIC COMPANY
Embed customer-centricity into your DNA
Weave customer-centered thinking into everything everyone does in your business. Don’t make it extra work, rather make it a context for all work. Synchronize company vision, mission, values, objectives, structure, policies, and rituals with your customer’s experience in mind.
E.g. A few of the most admired brands “born” with customer-centric DNA are Amazon, Google, Harley Davidson, IKEA, JetBlue, and Johnson & Johnson.
Put “customer first”, at the core of the business
Have that customer-centricity in your DNA… and then allow it to permeate your products and processes. Thoroughly understand your customers’ mindsets and build experiences for them. Define the ideal, holistic journey and customer experience from the customer’s point of view, from start to finish.
E.g. Amazon truly lives up to its mission by incorporating customer centricity in each activity and decision that it takes. CEO Jeff Bezos leaves one seat open at the conference table and states that the seat is occupied by “the most important person in the room – the customer”
See the world through customer’s eyes
Listen to your customers at every step of the journey to provide additional value. Understand their perceptions, pain points, and emotional states and create an experience that exceeds their expectations.
E.g. UPS knows their way into the hearts and minds of their customers through social media. They use social media as a tool to anticipate customer needs, to provide better customer support and to optimize efficiency. Resulting in more satisfied customers.
Invest in employees for a Customer-Centric Culture
Being customer-centric is not tied to a single department: it’s everyone’s job and good customer service begins at the top. Attract and retain employees who are aligned with your brand, who want to deliver your brand promise and your desired customer experience. Give them the freedom, tools, and responsibilities to help solve problems from a customer-centric standpoint. Spend time and energy motivating, inspiring, and rewarding team for providing excellent service.
E.g. Google has been known to take care of their employees on an incredible level. Google rightfully believes in “if you treat your employees right, they will treat your customers right.”