If you were to answer a question, “What is that one thing that customers hate the most?
What would you say?
Without a doubt, it would be struggling to find a solution to their problems.
Customers don’t want to go out of their comfort zone to solve their own problems. They like instant and effortless solutions.
So what can you do to provide a smooth and delightful experience to customers throughout their journey?
You might have a hard time believing, but the most effective solution is building a customer centric organization.
But what is customer centricity? A few staff meetings. Maybe a couple of customer surveys.
That’s not it. You need to do a lot more than that.
For decades, companies of all sizes across the globe have been working on their customer centric business strategy. And the results are starting to show because these companies are placing customer centricity in the midst of their core brand and mission.
For these businesses, customer centricity is not just a buzzword. What they do is basically put a premium on the customer and their experience with the product, service, or brand. They will go above and beyond so that their employees do what it takes to ensure that the customers are always happy and satisfied.
But that is not where it ends.
Do employees figure anything somewhere in the larger scheme of things? Of course, they do.
The degree to which employees within the business are empowered can actually determine the success of building a customer centric organization.
Statistics say that 79% of employees in companies that have high ratings on their CX are engaged in comparison to only 49% in companies with below average CX.
The elements that can drive empowerment, retrieve information and tools, be motivated and the licence to resolve issues.
Ways to Build A Customer Centric Organization
In spite of such efforts, why do you see so many businesses struggling to get customer centricity on track?
It is quite possible that the volume, velocity and variety of customer data can be overwhelming for many businesses. Or perhaps, their strategies may not be adequately supported by systems and technology. Maybe they just lack processes and operational capabilities
In the face of such hurdles, how do you build a customer centric culture? These baby steps can help you get started:
1. Listen, Think and Act on Customer Opinion
Are you just hearing or actively listening to what your customers are saying?
There’s a knowledgeable difference between the two to the extent that hearing can break your business and active listening can make your business.
Customer experience metrics have penetrated most organizations. So, the chances of your business relying on these insights are quite probable.
But it is not just about customer satisfaction surveys or getting to track the Net Promoter Score although both can be part of the overall equation. These solutions have their own set of inherent flaws because they do not direct you towards the issues or delights of what helps you arrive at this score. Moreover, it is not a one-time act but a continuous investment.
Therefore, what you should be doing instead is to start listening to your customers proactively. Ask them what they think and tell them that your opinion is valued. Analyze these inputs and then act on it. Like in ProProfs Chat, not only do you get to initiate a chat with your website visitors but also take their feedback at the end of the chat through a post-chat survey form.
ProProfs Live Chat also helps your operators understand the customer pain-points and improve response time to make sure that no customer feels left out. This allows you to boost customer satisfaction and keeps customers delighted.
Remember that emotional connections are the ones that you recall and retain. Let’s understand this with an example:
Example: Zappos, the online shoe store shows us a great example.
It so happened that a customer wanted to return a pair of shoes but could not do it within the store’s stipulated time frame. There was a bereavement in the family which resulted in the delay.
What most businesses possibly would have done was to refuse the return. Instead, Zappos did the exact opposite. Not only did they accept the return but they arranged for the shoes to be shipped at zero cost to the customer.
In fact, they went beyond usual protocols and sent a bouquet and a note offering their condolences.
Wouldn’t you say that this is customer service with a human touch?
And how do you create these connections? Simply by listening, understanding and responding to the situation.
This is a perfect example of how a customer centric organization works and create bonds with the customer that lasts a lifetime.
2. Remember That Customer Perceptions Are Real
We are at a turning point in human history where there is constant connectivity. With such dramatic intrusion of technology what exists now is a ‘know it all’ environment. This, in turn, is redefining the manner in which you, and your customers build their perception of a brand.
Think about your brand and ask yourself these questions.
Why do your customers like your brand?
Why do your customers like using your brand?
Does your brand trigger emotions when customers think about it?
And where do you think the experiences that the customer has with your brand lives through for years?
They are etched in their minds as memories for life.
So, if you are looking to change your customers’ perception, you have to really understand their expectations.
And this starts with understanding the gap between customer perceptions and their expectations of the actual experience. That is your first step forward in adopting a more customer centric approach.
Ensure you deliver what your brand promises.
Otherwise, even with the most well-intentioned marketing initiatives, customers are bound to counteract with their perceptions of the brand.
Looking at the example to get more clarity on the concept:
Example: Facebook’s strong brand perception hit a rough patch in 2018. This primarily happened because of their privacy scandals, electoral controversies, hate speech, and misguided information, shaking the very foundation of democracy.
The Edison Research found that Facebook today has an estimated 15 million fewer users in the US in comparison to 2017.
Mark Zuckerberg opened his keynote address at Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference in 2019 said, “Let’s talk about building a privacy-focused social platform” which made it obvious that he is making an effort to change the negative brand opinion of his brand to a positive tone.
While it may not seem like a significant move to begin with but pair it with the brand and product tweaks and you have an image restoration project underway.
Now that’s the trait of an ideal customer centric company.
3. Involve Customers by Making Them Part of The Solution
Can you ever get your customer centric strategy right if you do not know your customer’s point of view?
The successful launch of any product or service in the market is customer-controlled and smart brands have long since realized this as a fact.
The idea is to co-create. Work together in an involved process that includes design, experiences, services, products, physical environments and more. Even though brands will continue to drive product innovation, but the customer will sit at the head of the table.
Rely on customer feedback. Get their honest opinions. This will help in establishing a more robust customer centricity model for your company.
Take a look at this example of the perfect customer centric innovation:
Example: As one of the world’s largest logistics companies, DHL has long since known the impact of innovating products and handles the challenges of improving the efficiency of their supply chain and logistics processes with the assistance of their customers.
By organizing over 6000 hands-on workshops on a regular basis in Germany and Singapore, loyal customers have been able to co-create solutions that have significantly influenced customer satisfaction. One such product that is an outcome of these engagements is a test drone delivery service known as the Parcelcopter.
And how do you know that DHL has actually found success through this process? That’s because numbers don’t lie.
Forbes reported that DHL’s customer satisfaction scores increased by 80% as a result of these co-creation initiatives.
Now, wouldn’t you call this a customer centric strategy?
Another such impactful customer-focused strategy is to create an online knowledge platform using ProProfs knowledge base software. It’s a powerful tool that comprises unmatched features and functionality to help you build a self-help platform where customers can search for the information they need and solve queries on their own.
To know if customers are finding your knowledge base helpful, you can go through the insightful knowledge base reports offered by this software. These give you detailed information regarding -
- Total number of searches
- Failed searches
- Popular & poorly rated articles
- Broken links, and much more.
This treasure trove of information is instrumental in giving you a clear picture of customers’ pain points and the areas where your knowledge base needs improvement.
4. Mapping Your Customer Journey Is A Must
Getting in the minds of your customers can be challenging. With several avenues of customer touchpoints, pinning them down can be tricky.
But you do want to know what your customers experience as they interact with the several touch points across the lifecycle that you have set up for them.
By mapping your customer journey, you can actually put yourself in the customer's shoes and replicate their experience with your brand. It also benchmarks the customer experience against your brand promise.
There are various customer support tools that help you map out customer journey efficiently. And some of these options are inclusive of live chat and help desk software.
For example, in ProProfs Chat you can map out the customer’s journey by getting access to:
- Their website behavior that gets captured via visitor monitoring feature
- Their details like name, email and even the problem (via offline message form) through pre-chat form feature
- Their conversation with your operators and whether they were convinced to invest in your products through chat transcripts
- Their feedback towards the services they received via your operators through post-chat survey form
- Their history as regular customers via chat history
And the list won’t come to an end. Whereas for help desk, customer journey mapping becomes a piece of cake.
ProProfs Help Desk allows your agents to:
- Find all customer emails and answer them via shared inbox
- Track how long it takes for an agent to provide a solution to the customer and when was the ticket closed
- View tickets of the same customer (if any) to track what approach was adopted by another agent to provide seamless customer experience
- Track child tickets to understand how much time did the other teams take to collaborate and offer a solution that instantly resolves the customer’s query
Plus, both the customer support tools allow you to get access to insightful reports that help you understand a customer’s journey hassle-free.
The outcome of this exercise is vital. As you move towards becoming a customer centric company, you want more in-depth access to customer insights, including their perceptions, their needs at each point of interaction, your ability to meet them and finding opportunities for improvement.
Maybe this example will give you better insights:
Example: Tap into the power of emotion with Disney Parks, the undeniable leader in creating outstanding customer experiences. They have successfully used customer journey mapping to gain insights into new opportunities.
The objective is to add a touch of magic so that no part of your Disney vacation remains boring. The Disney Magicband is the result of their customer journey mapping efforts.
Now, customers do not have to wait in queues to get on their favorite rides. These wearable devices come with built-in technology and act their FastAccess pass.
Moreover, you can also use it to open hotel rooms. It goes a step further and allows you to use the same wristband to pay for your meals and even do some shopping en route.
The importance of the lesson lies in the fact that what seems like a relatively ordinary part of the vacation experience, can be turned into an opportunity in the full context of the customer journey.
And that is what a customer centric brand should always try to do – customize experiences and deliver on your brand promise.
5. Don’t Forget to Track Customer Interactions
While you may have started listening to what your customers are saying, it must also be complemented with thorough monitoring of all customer interactions.
Remember that any feelings, either good or bad, are a direct result of the interaction between the business and the customer. This, in turn, impacts the overall CX.
Your monitoring should not be just restricted to your website touchpoints only. Instead, cover all possible bases, including tracking transactional surveys, whether pulsed or planned. Check your call-center and complaint logs, feedback, and reviews received on your website, email, and social media platforms too.
To track customer interactions, you can also use data collected via live chat software solutions. Like in ProProfs Chat, you can view chat transcripts and history. These two features allow you to understand the type of solution your operators provided to make sure that the end result was customer delight.
In fact, discuss and set KPIs based on customer centricity examples for your employees to follow and deliver.
Refer to this example to know how brands can create personalized experiences for their customers by merely tracking conversations on social media.
Example: Tommy Tippee Cups, a well-known baby care brand based out of Northumberland, came across a customer tweet requesting a replacement of a limited editing Tommee Tippee sippy cup. The brand had discontinued this specific model.
It was important for the dad to get this for his severely autistic 15-year-old son, Ben Carter. Why? Because his son loved these cups and had been drinking out of them since age 2. No other alternative would suffice.
What Tommy Tippee did was beyond imagination. They searched for factories worldwide to locate the original mold of the model. They ordered production for 1000 of these cups just for Ben. They even promised to send these cups to Ben’s family all the way to Australia, on-demand, absolutely free.
Isn’t this a fantastic example of how a little social interaction between brand and customer can result in something so memorable and touching. If this is not customer-centricity, then what is?
6. You Must Know That Data is The King
A global survey by Adobe and EConsultancy in 2018 reported that 65% of respondents felt that “improving their data analysis is a very important factor in delivering better customer experience.”
Even with access to a wealth of customer insights and data, it should not be analyzed in isolation. For instance, putting your sales data in one bucket and marketing in another, digital insights elsewhere, product and service information in a completely different area, is a big no-no.
Integrating information at a unified platform is a must to arrive at evidence-based decisions. Along with that, you have to make this data easily accessible across all levels of your organization. It is only then that your employees will be able to actually see the true relationship between you and the customer and make decisions accordingly.
This is probably one of the critical roadblocks that all customer-centric businesses are trying to solve.
Still not clear? This example can help:
Example: Casper, a mattress company developed a chatbot dedicated to insomniacs. What customers simply had to do to use it was text “Insomnobot3000” from their mobile phones.
In return, they could converse with the bot till the wee hours of the night. Much like you would talk to another human being about anything that’s on your mind.
Casper quickly found out that customers basically wanted to talk about what’s keeping them awake – work, stress, relationships, etc. The bot development team promptly created adequate responses to these often repeated subjects.
Through this process, what actually happened was a smart way of collecting customer intelligence. Since Casper drove people to text from their mobile phones, it automatically received access to a database of phone numbers for a specific customer base.
This campaign was followed by sending this specific customer base with promotional offers and discount coupons. At the end of their first year of bot launch, Casper ended with a sales figure of $ 100.
But the real goal of this entire exercise was to offer their customers exceptional experiences.
7. See Your Customers Digitally
The beauty of data is not just in what it tells you. It is in the decisions that you make based on those insights.
Looking at your customers through the digital lens can offer valuable insights that can help in enhancing the overall customer experience positively.
Study after study has shown that digital monitoring is what modern-day companies need to incorporate within their operational structures to imbibe a more customer-centric culture. The methods are transparent and straightforward that can help businesses ‘see’ their customers’ digital footprint.
Every customer transaction generates data and trails. All of this data that are already being stored digitally can be a part of the overall business evaluations and assessments to forecast customer behavioral patterns.
Let’s dig deeper with this example:
Example: Netflix is the ultimate example of disrupting an entire industry with its relentless pursuit of perfect CX. You would not be wrong in calling them customer-obsessed.
With their cutting-edge algorithms, Netflix has cognizance of the massive amount of data collected that has taken its customer personalization to another level.
With their assistance, viewers are able to whittle down their selections that are served in a customized artwork in the form of thumbnails to trigger the feeling of exclusivity.
Because it has been created keeping in mind customer preferences, which is why they keep coming back for more!
For Netflix, being customer-centric is to deliver top-notch experiences, every time a customer interacts with the brand.
8. Have A Well-Defined Customer Experience Strategy
For many, customer experience and customer-centricity may sound synonymous. Instead, they are quite different.
Customer experience is what the consumer ends up with as opposed to customer centricity that motivates the business to offer that experience.
The flow of how well you establish a customer-centric service within the periphery of your business landscape will be based on a well-defined customer experience strategy. This, in turn, should be ideally linked to the company’s business and brand strategy.
While your brand goals may be to create and manage customer expectations from the business, your customer experience strategy should typically plan to meet or exceed customer expectations.
However, to exceed customer expectations, you should first learn what they are in the first place. For this, you can use customer satisfaction surveys. Tools like ProProfs Survey Maker allows you to create a survey and send them across via different mediums. You can even create a satisfaction survey and send once a chat comes to an end.
A clear view would allow you to develop services that are meant to exceed customer expectations. And the use of a satisfaction survey would help you achieve the goal efficiently.
This is the only vehicle at your disposal that can help the business turn these expectations into reality. And only a customer-centric business can successfully deliver a winning customer experience.
Let’s understand this situation via an example:
Example: Target was undertaking a major revamp of their physical stores to fit in better with their app and web experiences. The objective was to offer their customers options on how they shop.
So essentially a customer can shop in-store and have the bags delivered to their given location or shop on the web or app and pick up the stuff in-store. This basically blurs the line between the physical and virtual and creates a shopping experience that is smooth and seamless.
The result was phenomenal as Target celebrated its best year in terms of revenue generation since 2005.
In terms of delivering customer experience, there could not have been a better script than this.
9. Always Empower and Reward Your Employees
In this mission to be a more customer centric organization, remember that it is your employees who are always at the frontline. With their immense knowledge gained from one-on-one interaction with customers, they are adept at improving customer experience with their quick behind-the-scenes decision-making abilities.
Therefore, it is time for companies to empower these front-liners with more authority. Moreover, take a look at your general reward structures which should not just be based on revenue, versus meeting the needs of customers. Instead, link employee growth and incentives with customer satisfaction.
Remember that you need every aspect of the business to be aligned to a singular purpose of creating the optimal customer experience.
Let’s look at this example to learn more:
Example: Great customer experiences starts with your employees. If your employees are happy, your customers will be happy too.
And that’s exactly what you see from Southwest Airlines, consistently ranking as one of the best employers to work for. With their culture of ‘employee first’, they constantly motivate their employees to take pride in what they do.
This attitude often leads to the heart of delivering lasting customer service experiences. So the mission is – Go the extra mile for your employees and they will go the extra mile for you.
10. Celebrate All Victories, Great and Small
The relationship of any customer centric company and its customers does not end with product or service delivery. Their role involves caring about the actual value that they deliver to their customers.
When their customers find success, the business should celebrate the victories, however, great or small. On the other hand, they can lend a helping hand, if they notice that their customer is finding it hard to derive the full value of their service.
Moreover, do not skip celebrating those who matter most in the process - Your employees. A little recognition of their good work can certainly do a lot of morale-boosting. Go a step further and share their success stories, wins and praise from customers that will help in setting the right customer-centric tone within the organization.
Let’s look at this truly inspiring example.
Example: MonetizeMore, an ad-tech company, crossed $ 10 in gross revenue in 2017. So, what did their CEO Kean Grahams decide to do?
He planned a company retreat for the entire staff, who were located in every corner of the globe, to the Philippines.
When asked why was he spending so much? Because flying 100 people to a tropical island in Southeast Asia was going to cost a bomb. To that, he said, “The retreat will be a great opportunity for team members to meet face-to-face for the first time, build rapport, bond as a team, and, of course, celebrate together.”
Unquestionably, the return was immense.
Now, what could be more customer-centric than this?
You Need A Proactive Approach to Build a Customer Centric Culture
Customer centricity has long been a subjective topic but draws long-term monetary and branding benefits for the business. Hence, to develop a customer-centric culture, you need a proactive approach, but it cannot be done overnight.
Remain dedicated and committed to your goals, give voices to your customers, and celebrate team wins. With the focus on meeting these needs and expectations, you can lead your business towards a holistic customer-centric transformation.
What are customer centric skills?
To be customer centric, you need to possess some special skills. You need to be empathetic to your customer problems and pain points and also train yourself to see the business through the eyes of customer experience. Pick specific areas that you would be personally responsible for and simultaneously inspire yourself to be innovative and growth-oriented.
What is customer centric innovation?
A rigorous research and development process that is evidence-based on customer feedback is what drives customer centric innovation. Simply put, it is learning how to ideate for your business basis what your customer needs and expectations are from the brand.
Why do we need customer centricity?
Customer centricity is needed because it focuses on creating meaningful relationships with your customers. By adopting a customer centric approach, the company will be able to drive repeat business, retain customer loyalty towards the brand and increase profitability in the long run.
How do you promote customer centric culture in an organization?
It is a complex process to develop and promote a customer centric culture in the organization. Start by making it the core value and ingraining it into the DNA of the business. Get your entire team to back the approach through a series of communication, training, participation, and empowerment.
What is a customer centric website?
If you are looking for opportunities to interact, engage and eventually convert your prospects into confirmed customers, then a customer centric website can help you achieve your business objectives. The end goal is to ensure that your customer has a positive experience through this website.
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