Today, customers can interact with your company in more ways than ever, across unique channels, devices, and time zones. Your customer might see your company’s ad, visit your website, browse your products, read customer reviews, and go on their way—all without speaking to a single human. While technology and automation have unquestionably improved our lives, they’ve also made the modern customer experience much noisier since countless customer interactions happen around the clock, and many fly below your radar.
Further, Customers today are no longer brand loyal as they used to be. They shop around more than ever, can easily compare products online and have increasingly high expectations. This has forced many organizations to transform their businesses and one of the biggest challenges facing them is how do I build Customer Centricity? For that matter who is your Customer? In that context what does Customer Centricity mean to you and/or your customer? And how do you create a better Customer Experience?
Most would think, regardless of time, creating customer value and placing their interest first generates most and longest lasting business value. But, much will depend on how you define your customer and increasingly so in today’s connected, digital eco-system – Is it your existing customer? Prospective customer? Customer’s customer? Your Social Influencers? Your employees? Your Partners? Your suppliers? Your critiques? Your Fans? Your government? Your regulatory bodies?
The ultimate goal is that we want to ensure that the person who consumes your product or service has a positive experience in a holistic sense. How is this possible? How can you impact something that you are not in control of? Do you have to own the entire value chain to do so? Can you do it by focusing on what you do best and partner with like minded organization to create the end-to-end experience for the customer?
A Connected world.
Today’s context, you talk of a connected world and a connected customer. In such a context, it’s obvious a customer will demand to consume what he or she wants from wherever he/she is. What does this mean for customer centricity and customer experience? You should know who the customer is? Where he or she lives? what he or she wants? What’s the best way to get them what they need? What are their preferred methods of payments for such products or services? And much more to create Customer Centricity & Customer Experience with a WOW!
In reality, you would have some of this information and do what’s barely necessary to fulfill their requirements within your business model as well as operational limitations. What you need to bear in mind is that is that the customer is looking for a seamless experiences with at the very least a means to finding what he needs in a fast and easy way, regardless of touchpoints and how well you are organized.
He wants to be seen as a person and wants to find what he needs fast, easy and with convenience – be it the store, website, mobile application, contact center, kiosks, chat bots, etc. They want you to focus on THEM.
What is it to create CUSTOMER CENTRICITY in a connect world?
Customer centricity is a way to foster exceptional customer experience at every stage of the customer’s journey. A customer-centric organization results in one that builds customer loyalty and satisfaction which leads to repeat purchases, referrals for more customers, brand ambassadors, promoters, etc. This is worth much more than their original purchase and given that it costs more to acquire new customers than retain existing ones besides it cost at least 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a n existing one.
Customer centricity means that every time you make a business decision – whether it be a strategic, tactical or operational – you should have the CUSTOMER’s interest at heart.
Why better CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE is not an option any more?
Customer experience, also known as CX, is our customers’ holistic perception of their interactions with our business and/or people and/or brand – from awareness to actual usage. Customer experience is the sum of all experiences our customers have with our business and/or brand, over the duration of their relationship.
Why is CX so important today? Today, every individual wants to be identified personally and expects us to know his demographics well before we start engaging him. This expectation keeps growing with enabling data and technology that could put same to use to create an engaging, personalized interactions.
Consumers are no more looking for cheap, one off deals nor loyalty points and are not willing to commit blindly to be loyal just to get cheap deals and discounts unless they are meaningful or creating better engagement or experience for them. We have to look for innovative means of identifying and collecting the data required to deliver personalized and contextualized based experiences that they demand.
How does one build a CUSTOMER CENTRIC culture?
First and foremost, we must comprehend that to build a customer centric culture we need to understand our customers journey, from the time they encounter our brand to the point they become our engaged, loyal customers. The questions that we have to ask ourselves is when does a customer’s journey begin with our brand? That’s the key reason as an organization we must be context sensitive and must gear ourselves to impact the customer journey across all the channels and ensure all our stakeholders including employees, partners, etc are sensitized to the same context. To achieve same it’s advisable to adapt the following steps,
@ Communicate frequently and widely to all stakeholders
@ Build Customer Centric skills across the organization & partner ecosystems
@ Measure & Track Progress continuously and improve on same
How does one build better CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
First and foremost, Customer experience is what sets you apart. It is the sum of all interactions that a customer has with your business, including interactions before and after a sale. It can include how they research products on your site, how they complete their transaction, what happens when they receive their product, and so on. Customer experience is one of the main factors that determine whether or not consumers will buy from your brand and become loyal customers.
This makes it crucial to set up a definitive strategy to ensure that you deliver a positive and meaningful experience for your customers across every interaction. That’s why you need to have an effective and a structured approach to enhancing customer experience. In order drive better customer experience it’s vital that an organization has a clearly articulated strategy which encompasses the following,
@ Focus on the X-factor whilst optimizing the O-factor
@ Build a customer-centric culture within the organization as well as across your value eco-system
@ Know your customer: clear understand your customers across your value chain
@ Map out the customer journey across all personas & touchpoints
@ Identify points of friction and pain points vs value benefits & gain creators
@ Identify and build a data ecosystem to give you deeper insights on the above
@ Create better engagement vis personalization
@ Build a long-term value proposition which is sticky
As customers, we have endless options. If your company isn’t meeting their needs, it’s pretty easy to find an alternative. Sometimes all it takes is a Google search. For companies like yours, that means there’s more opportunity than ever to gain and lose customers rapidly. It’s not about price or product or place or promotion or any other.
It’s all about EXPERIENCES. Customers are shopping for better experiences—for companies that understand their needs, make their lives easier, and treat them like actual humans. When companies prioritize the experiences they’re delivering, they’re already leagues ahead of their competitors.
In order to embark on this journey it’s highly recommended that you pursue a structured workshop and leverage tools such as Design Thinking, Jounrney Maps, Strategy Canvass, etc which will help you prioritize and drive value in aligning your strategy as per what was outlined herein.
Wish you the best in your journey to create BETTER & LASTING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES.
Stay safe. Stay blessed.
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