Customer-centricity is based on the idea that businesses must transform and engage to a model that is built on the needs and desires of the people they serve. Customers are no longer loyal to companies, brands, product or services, they are loyal to the best customer experience they consistently receive.
Products and service alone will not develop relationships with customers and you cannot get away from the fact people like people interaction. The challenge is to manage your customer preferences and relationships with real personality although parts of the journey may be automated.
You must continue to deliver something of value to your customer to ensure loyalty. Loyalty is created when you provide a level of service that exceeds their expectations and continues to delight your customers. Customer delight is the willingness to go above and beyond normal relations to provide a customer experience that will leave an indelible impression. Customers expect to be surprised and delighted by the pre-purchase experience and the post-purchase interactions. The most memorable businesses, like Starbucks and Apple, no longer sell products, they sell their customer experiences with a product.
To go above and beyond you need customer insight which gives the customers perspective. Get to know your customers and understand what they expect from you, only then, can you do more than what they expect and delight. Managing customer relationships is about establishing, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers for mutual benefit.
When was the last time you conducted mystery shopper activity for your own business to experience some of what your customer experiences? When you do it can be scary but enlightening. It makes what you do real and the impact you have compelling.
You must get to know your internal customers along with your external customers. Your workforce is the key to success in delighting your customers. If your employees are disaffected, your clients will be dissatisfied too. Engagement starts with your employees first as there is no customer delight without employee delighted.
Customer delight is a competitive advantage in transforming indifferent customers into loyal advocates and promoters. You must establish interest and trust to create long-term valued relationships. There are a lot of moving part! Customer centric cultures focus on customer delight through exceeding customer expectations.
Here are the 11 Steps to Creating Customer Delight:
- Start with an overriding top-down focus on customer experience. The right message must be delivered from the top, by your words and your actions.
- Make sure the team understands the ‘why’ this is critical. Customer experience is not a fixed point, you must get buy-in on the ‘why’ first, then the ‘how’ will follow as each team defines the best process to intersect with those of others to achieve the goal.
- Make customer core to every business decision. Listen to customer feedback and share these insights across the whole company to ensure you remain realistic and relevant.
- Be responsive. Customers are relentless, technology has enable their expectation of speed. If your company delays in responding to customers, you’re missing a huge opportunity to capture valuable insights and feedback.
- Practice Co-Creation a Fundamental Business Strategy. The co-creation process is where businesses and customers work together to create better ideas, products and services. Always Listen to Your Customers to develop products that are test by customers to create valuable products and services.
- Go above and beyond giving customers things when they least expect it. One way to a customer’s heart is showing them you care about them more than the bottom line.
- Humanizes your key relationship by giving Customers a Personal Point of Contact. Don’t you get sick of endless automated responses sometimes you just want a real person to sort it out!
- Be transparent with your policies and flexible with your implementation. Every situation and customer is different so treated it accordingly
- Keep customers in your loop. People like to know what’s going on so, explain the steps to solve the problem, follow-up with updates until the problem is resolved to the customers satisfaction.
- Invest in the right things. Tie customer experience to all compensation and recognition and Give your front-line people the mission and freedom to practice delighting customers.
- Make it real. Real stories are inspiring and more powerful than any marketing message, both for internal teams and potential customers. Stories illustrate concepts better and evoke emotions in a way that even the best facts and figures can’t.
Once a customer is lost to the competition, rarely does that customer return, and the investment of both financial and human capital is lost. Creating a culture of providing great customer experiences doesn’t happen by chance, and it requires more than just excellent operational procedures.
Delighting customers as the new norm requires a strong leadership, customer feedback loops, deliberate iterative planning and implementation. The quality of your outcome is direct consequence of how much you align the centricity of customers.
I will be talking through each of the 4 most powerful practice of a customer centric business (people, products, customers, process) in this blog series, you can get first access to my video training LIKE my Facebook business page or subscribing to my YouTube channel.