What is customer-centricity ?
Customer-centricity, as a term, first trended when businesses started using customer relationship management (CRM). The Oxford dictionary suggests “It is designed to keep customers happy by finding out what they want and dealing with their problems quickly”. Businesses are now operating at the age of the customer; therefore, it is vital to put the customer at the forefront of all operations. In recent years, we have shifted away from the more product-centric cultures. With all this in mind, here are a few ways to make your organisation one that’s more customer-centric.
1. It’s all about the people
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients” – Richard Branson
These words are ones for organisations to live by. Creating positive internal relations greatly contributes to making your organisation overall customer centric. Businesses that struggle to look after their employees often suffer the knock-on effect of poor customer service. Your people are your key resource. Additionally, this means treating them so well that this will transpose to your customers. Awarding staff with incentives when they perform well and staff outings will overall positively contribute to their interactions with your customers. That is to say, just as you listen to your customers, do the same for your employees. By circulating employee feedback surveys every now and again a more pro-active approach can be taken to internal relations.
At Arema Connect, we have recently received a certificate of recognition under The PSYCHED initiative. This involved numerous activities to promote well-being in the workplace. Overall, the initiative was hugely successful and we are continuing it to date.
2. Welcome positive or negative feedback from your customers with open arms
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – Bill Gates
Customer feedback should be treated as a gift from your customers. By gathering such feedback, you can retain more loyal customers and grow your business rapidly. Meanwhile, customers’ feedback can guide you to make your organisation as customer centric as possible. The Customer Feedback Loop is a useful tool to utilize the feedback from your customers and put it to optimum use. When gathering feedback from customers:
- Ask: Clear and simple ask your customers for feedback. There are many methods that can be used to gather feedback. Ranging from a comment box near the check out to direct mail surveys to your customer database. To encourage customers to give you feedback give them an incentive. For instance, these can include being entered into a draw for a prize or offering promotional codes.
- Categorize: After you have gathered the information you need, analyse the results. Furthermore, categorize the feedback into the suitable areas which can include: Customer Service, Marketing and Product Feedback.
- Act: Take the necessary action needed to amend the issue highlighted by the customer. Sometimes greater action will need to be taken than others. That is to say, you may have to re-evaluate the processes in place, in the given category highlighted.
- Follow Up: Let your customers know you have listened to what they had to say. Send them a thank you email, publish a report with your findings and corrective actions.
3. Keep the customer at the forefront of all your plans
No matter what decision you are making, never forget how it will impact your customers. Mapping your customer’s journey is hugely beneficial. Many struggles to create a customer mapping journey. However, “the how to” start is explained in depth in the boagworld blog post. In turn, by mapping your customer journey you can pinpoint possible points of failure within your customer’s experience. This powerful tool can assist you in gaining insights into each of your customer segments. That is to say, not every interaction with the customer will be flawless. Nevertheless, taking a proactive approach to problems rather than reactive will greatly reduce customer dissatisfaction.
4. Make it your organisation’s culture
“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. Throughout Google’s evolution as a privately held company, we have managed Google differently. We have also emphasized an atmosphere of creativity and challenge” – Larry Page & Sergey Brin
Google refer to their Human Resources as their People Operations Team. One of their key functions is to inject some fun into the lives of their Googlers. While to some this may not be traditional it greatly contributes to their overall fun and creative culture. This approach can be modeled for creating a customer centric organisation. Ensure potential candidates are customer focused during the recruitment process. Hire for the culture. Furthermore, this means echoing customer service and satisfaction to all departments within the business. To sum up, when evaluating your employees’ performance, take into account their interactions with customers. Don’t let excellent customer service go unnoticed. Give praise and merit where it is due.
Is your organisation ready to be one that’s customer centric?