Customer centricity is not a new concept. Until they changed their slogan in 2014, Burger King had been telling customers to “Have it your way” for 40 years. Harry Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store, coined the phrase “the customer is always right” in 1909. Focusing on pleasing the customer is nothing new. What’s changed are the tools we use to do it.
We live in the digital age and the rate of digital change is a challenge for all organizations to keep up with. This transformation is at the heart of creating experiences that meet the expectations of your customers. We have access to highly specific bits of information on our customers that can provide us with valuable insights on what they like. But how exactly do we make effective and profitable use of all this information? That’s the challenge.
Is it really that important? Can’t we just focus on delivering a great product? Yes, you can. However, if your competitors also offer great products and have put in the legwork on customer experience, guess where your customers are going to start migrating to? Smart companies put the customer in the middle of their products and experiences. It’s simple math: the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, but only 5-20 percent for a new prospect. Not only that but happy customers generate up to 14x more sales than customers who don’t have a positive experience on your website.
So what actions and attitudes can businesses adopt in order to make their company more customer centric? Here are some tips:
1) Create a customer centric mantra and shout it from the rooftops. Bringing customer experience to the forefront of your business’ mission is essential to making the adjustment to customer centricity. Find a phrase that expresses how your company plans to best attend to its customers. Ritz-Carlton chose “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” Spread your phrase throughout your contact points with customers, but, even more importantly, ensure that it’s not just talk by bringing your staff onboard. Make customer centricity a part of your staff training and make sure it’s clear what a priority customer experience is for your brand. Take a cue from Zappos, a brand that’s famous for its customer centric culture. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says “Even if a person is great at their job, even if they’re superstar at their job, if they’re bad for our culture, we’ll fire them for that reason alone.”
2) Hold your IT staff dear. Being a data analyst or a data scientist has been labeled “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” specifically because of the pressure for businesses to harness their data in order to spin it into gold. But it turns out it’s not so simple. 63 percent of businesses say that user experience improvements are important to their digital strategy but only 30 percent of businesses are able to execute those improvements. Some of the biggest challenges to customer centricity are:
- Data silos that inhibit the coordination and sharing of data
- Lack of data management software
- IT staff not skilled enough to analyze data
It’s not enough to buy a fancy data management program. Those programs are far from one-size-fits-all nor do they run on autopilot. Without an expert IT staff onboard to dedicate their time to analyzing how to improve your customer experiences, such as figuring out where users tend to click away why they abandon their carts, what marketing works best with which demographics, how to streamline customer service across all channels, then the programs may not show positive ROI. Working closely with your IT staff on creating a customer centric culture is a big step towards success and transformation.
3) Invest in omni-channel customer service. One big challenge for a lot of businesses is keeping up with real time. Many customers expect to be able to reach out to a business and get a reply at any time of the day or night. That used to be easier when people used call centers, but today customers use a wide variety of channels such as social media, text, live chat, voice call, email and more. A successful omni-channel service provides a seamless customer service experience across all channels so that a customer can start a conversation via social media and continue it with live chat without having to repeat information. It’s the perfect combination of convenience and service. In order to succeed at omni-channel:
- Hire trained and professional customer service staff to attend customers
- Be aware of customer expectations of response times (for example, 42 percent of customers who contact a company via social media expect a response in an hour or less)
- Make sure that there’s a smooth transition between channels by employing the skills of your rock star IT staff
Becoming customer centric is a process that involves an attitude adjustment as well as a technological adjustment. Embracing both will give your company’s customer experience a significant makeover.
How can we help your organization improve customer engagement? Let us create customer centric experiences for your business. Contact us to begin!