The customer is always right. This is business advice we accept and can often be central to the development of a business. However, what about companies that are customer-centric?
What does it mean to place the customer at the focus of everything you do? This is not just a small change; it involves changing company culture.
We are now living in what some experts refer to as the ‘age of the customer’, which means that customer’s demands and expectations are not only higher, but also more crucial to the development of your company. Customers not only want to be satisfied with your business but delighted or even surprised. The consumer also has much more power in the social media age.
In the past, if someone didn’t like the service or product they received - they could vote with their feet and not return - or maybe write a formal complaint to the head office of a multinational company. Fast-forward to 2018 and customers can like, share, tweet, retweet, post and have much more direct contact with the company. Not only does the power lie in the customers’ hands, but if they want to complain they can do so publicly and reach a much wider audience than they ever would have done previously.
But complaints are not the only reason that the customer should be the focus of modern business. Working towards a positive brand representation in the digital sphere is crucial for any successful business. Brands and companies often achieve huge success through social media, which is reliant on customers being delighted with their product and service.
Positive customer experience must be encouraged at each level of the company and by all employees - therefore it is essential for employees to realize just how important customers are to the success of the business. In a recent survey compiled by Econsultancy they researched what the most important characteristic of a company is in order to be established in our digital-native culture. An astonishing 58% of responses voted that being customer-centric was the answer. This shows just how important this element of a business is and that a focus on the consumer is only becoming more and more important in the digital age.
How Can You Become More Customer-Centric?
Enhance the Experience
There are several key ways to develop your business to become more customer focused. First and foremost, think about their experience. The experience starts from the beginning upon discovering your brand, through to finding your business online or in physical form and finally using your services or purchasing your product. There are a few essential questions to ask yourself here;
- Was their journey a good experience?
- Was it seamless, easy and fast?
- Would they want to repeat the experience?
Whatever you are selling, be it a service, product or something else entirely - repeat business is the best feedback you can ask for. Would you tell your friends about the company? Or even better, would you be motivated to share it on social media? If it’s unclear what the answers to some of these questions are - you may need to rethink your customer journey.
Make a detailed plan of each step of their experience - if they have a problem with your service, what’s your customer care or help team like? It doesn’t matter what type of business you are - there are always ways to help the customer’s experience and to improve it. If something went wrong, you must work on reassuring the customer but also boosting their interaction in some way.
Use Data to Understand Your Audience
Another fundamental basic of working towards a customer centric workplace is understanding your customer. Working with data and technology is one way to obtain more information about your customer in the initial stages of interaction. Look at your demographic, what other products or services are they buying and how are they interacting with your business? Do they use social media a lot? If so, which platforms are they most drawn to? This kind of information is indispensable.
Let's look at an example; if your customer’s are mainly teens, you may find they use social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram the most and that advertising through these platforms is highly effective. However, if your target market is focused more towards middle-aged parents, you may find they briefly use Facebook but interact better with weekly online mail outs.
Obtain data when you can and provide surveys with initiatives to give you feedback on your services, but make sure you are GDPR compliant. Feedback on your company is indispensable and authentic customer feedback is invaluable, opening up ideas for change.
In conclusion, the customer-centric workplace is the business of the future. But, to become customer centric requires taking many small steps to place your customer at the forefront of your business. Focus on experience, data and feedback as incremental ways to work towards becoming customer centric.
For more useful insights on workplace trends, visit the Okappy blog.
Author: I believe business can be a force for good, but all too often work ends up being painful as companies are overloaded with admin, paperwork and masses of emails. My mission is to improve the working lives of construction companies, giving them complete control of every job every step of the way and have some fun!