Bain & Company’s report on the delivery gap found that 80% of the companies they surveyed believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers, but customers stated that only 8% of companies were actually delivering.
Let’s be clear. Customer centricity goes far beyond offering great customer service, it means offering a wonderful experience from the awareness stage, through the purchasing process and continues past post-purchase process to build the customer relationship. It’s a strategy that is based on putting your customer first, last and at the core of your business.
A customer-centric organisation infuses principles of positive customer experience in every facet of business operation from leadership, management, product or service development, marketing, after-sales service, finance to sales.
The conversation starts with an understanding of who you serve and what service your customer needs. This is the company’s customers perspective.
Companies like Zappos & Amazon have built their entire brands around building a close relationship with their customers, anticipating and giving their customer what they want, this is the success factor in their business model. These companies have spent years creating a culture around their customers needs. To the extent that Zappos is happy to pay employees to leave if they do not fit within their customer centric culture!
These are the challenges in becoming customer centric today!
- During the economic downturn, companies look to survival which is a short-term thinking and this is contrary to customer centric longer-term thinking.
- Customers are more selective in which brands and companies they choose to spend their money with.
- Companies who treat their customers with respect, giving great service, building lasting relationship must invest in aligning their whole organisation towards customer centricity.
- The power has shift towards the customer, they embrace digital marketing, social media and social applications and tools faster than companies who are.
- Mobile has become a major part of the customer journey; so, customer have immediate and higher expectations.
- Customers can now compare products and services in real time and across multiple devices, which has presented a huge challenge for companies to stay ahead.
Research has found that the biggest challenge companies have is not sharing customer data and insights across all the functions.
If you are growing a business – Why Should You Care?
A report by Deloitte and Touche found that businesses with a customer-centric strategy were up to 60% more profitable than companies without a focus on their customers.
It is easier to start a business or grow an early stage company with a customer-centric approach than it is to change the culture of an establish company in to becoming customer centric. However, customer centricity is a critical imperative for all companies wanting to future proof the revenues, the early you start to refocus the better.
You need to start with your customers, not your products and focus on your customer wants, what drives and motivates them. By designing your company from the customer’s perspective, your organisation will be focused on meeting your customer’s specific needs.
Forrester’s research report 3 pitfalls companies face when transforming into a customer-obsessed organisation:
- “Lack of clarity.employees lacked a shared understanding of the intended experience they were supposed to deliver.
- “Failure to get broad-based buy-in. they don’t embed customer-centricity into all parts of the organization.
- “Loss of interest. embarking on a cultural transformation journey only to lose focus before the jobs completed.
Companies that fall out of favour with their customers, because the thing that makes them vital to customers has waned or they have lost track of what is especially important and relevant to their customer.
The problem is that customer centricity spans the entire organisation and the experience, is a mindset that must penetrate the whole company culture.
The 4 Most Powerful Practices for Stand Out Customer-Centricity:
- People must be passionate, and truly believe the customer comes first. They believe that without the customer, they cannot succeed in business (which is true) and want to see the world through the customer’s eyes. It must be everyone mission to please the customer. Customer data and insights must be openly shared this across the whole organisation.
- Products must focus on what the customers wants and needs, and the company develops products and services with them and around their customers. Jeff Bezos said, ‘find what they want and develop the skill to give them it.’
- Customer centricity focuses on building lasting relationships designed to maximise the customer’s product and service experience.
- A process committed to customer centricity analyses, plans and implements a carefully formulated customer strategy that is the focus of the process. It focuses on creating and keeping profitable and loyal customer.
In following a customer centric model brings with it the additional benefits businesses can draw from improved customer service, customer retention, and overall higher satisfaction across the whole organisation and beyond. There is no denying the importance of a customer-centric business strategy to the company’s success and sustainability.
I will be talking through each of the 4 most powerful practice (people, products, customers, process) in future blogs, however, you can get first access to my video training by LIKE my Facebook business page or subscribing to my YouTube channel.