Customer Centric is defined as a process which starts and ends with only one thought, and that is customer satisfaction. It is neither a one-time action nor an event instead is described as a culture that has been created to solve problems, meet demands and fulfill needs of the customers.
Meaning of Being Customer-Centric
Remember, it is the customer who is running the show as it is because of his purchasing powers that an organization can show revenue margins. In return, they expect the company to deal with their problems and make life easier by resolving any issues during and after their dealings.
The focus of an organisation is no longer limited to the traditional service-based approach as the usage of technology has facilitated easy and quick comparisons between services and products anywhere and anyplace. It has learned a valuable lesson of pleasing its customer because customer dissatisfaction results in monetary losses for an organisation, whereas satisfaction aids in financial gains and customer retention.
This is why major companies have decided to go the extra mile and use a Customer Centric approach that will ensure customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. It has now been integrated as a core value, and now the only question asked when implementing new strategies is whether this will help and please the customer. If the answer is yes, then it is a go-ahead but if no then the idea is either revise or sent into the Dropbox.
A Customer Centric organisation has the following characteristics
- Identify the customers across every channel
- It identifies its best customers
- Design and implement processes and policies that are beneficial from the viewpoint of the customer
- The company uses customer data and information to segment the customer base
- It tries to understand the customers so that decision-making becomes easier
- Keeps its onus on the products and services
- Foster a culture that encourages Customer Centricity
- You must use customer lifetime value for customer segmentation
- Encourage customer engagement
- Commit customer success
- Demonstrate customer commitment
- Identify customer wants and needs
- Measure the things which matter to customers
- Encourage customer satisfaction and retention
Achieving company goals via a Customer-Centric approach
The customers have gained the upper hand in their dealings, and the important thing is that they know about it. If a business relationship is not working for them, then they will not hesitate to cut off the ties. A customer expects and wants personalised services, and the primary goal of a Customer Centric organisation is to deliver whatever the customer wants. It also expects high service standards, and if an organisation can pull it off, it results in lifetime value because of customer loyalty. The end-goal of an organisation is a success and future growth, and this is possible only through recurring revenues. Remember when an organisation surrounds its customers with responsive and attentive services, they are encouraging more exceptional customer experience that will help it in achieving company goals. An organisation can achieve its goals via:
- Understanding customers- It is imperative that you have all the information about the customers wants, its needs likes and dislikes if you want to understand them better. Know about the products and services that a customer uses so that you can create a responsive and personalised service for them. Go through customer interactions, product usage statistics, demographic profiles and feedback to connect the dots and turn it into actionable and favourable insights. It is essential to have related information about customer actions to serve them better and achieve company goals.
- Deliver value early – Focus on your customer goals and help them to meet them so that you can deliver value. Make sure that the customer can familiarise with the product and integrate it into its lifestyle because only then an organisation will be able to deliver value early.
- Nurture and monitor customer growth – The Customer Centric approach helps to achieve company goals by engaging the customer base throughout their life cycle. It means making adjustments during the journey of a customer, for instance in stages like Onboarding, renewal or adoption. Monitor customer growth and success by looking at the outcomes.
- Modify practices – To achieve customer goals through a Customer Centric approach, the organisation needs to encourage the practice of personalised services. It is essential to use your knowledge and information about the customer to predict future events and take action accordingly. Anticipate bottlenecks and issue that may hamper customer progress. Monitor product patterns and anticipate future needs if you are looking for ways to achieve company goals via a Customer Centric approach in an organisation.
- Build the enterprise around the customer – Remember Customer Centric approach is all about the customer hence build the enterprise and its policies and strategies around the customer you are looking for ways to achieve company goals. It is imperative that the customer feels he is taking the centre-stage and is a valuable addition to your company if you want to gain his loyalty. Make sure that every employee can play a vital role in customer engagement because ultimately, it reflects through business outcomes.
Advantages of Customer-Centric
The advantages of a Customer-Centric approach in an organisation are as follows-
- Helps to understand the customer’s journey – A Customer Centric approach helps to understand the customer’s journey so that it is possible to encourage customer satisfaction, repeat sales, loyalty and of course customer retention
- Satisfied customers boost sales figures – When a business entity keeps its focus on the customers, it aids in improving sales figures, and this ultimately leads to customer satisfaction and increased revenues
- Increase referrals – Customer Centric approach is a blessing in maintaining customer loyalty. Customers become frequent patrons and the more loyal they are; the more likely is the chance of referring the company and its products and services to other people. Referrals have proved beneficial for an organisation as it encourages new customer without any extra cost that a company would /typically have spent in advertising and marketing. The referral customers are already satisfied by hearing the viewpoints of people they trust; hence, the chance of them becoming a customer from a potential customer is more.
Disadvantages of Customer-Centric
The disadvantages of a Customer-Centric approach are as follows-
- Can prove costly – The Customer Centric approach in an organization is about making adjustments so that you can keep making customer-friendly policies that will please the customers. Sometimes it backfires because a company fails to realize its actual impact on the bottom line of the financial statement. For example, if a company allows a customer to return a product anytime and if the customer sends back it after three months then it is a drain on company resources because by this time the product might have lost its actual worth in the market
- Not every customer is right for your organization – The Customer-Centric approach is built around the fact that customers are to be treated like gods, but what if every customer was not right for your firm. For instance, if a specific customer has the habit of mostly returning the products then why should the company give him the same facility as it is providing the essential clients. He must be discouraged from his habit, and this is not possible if you have a Customer Centric approach in your company.
- Ever-changing needs can cause problems – Customer needs and wants are always changing. In order, o meet them successfully a company also has to keep improving its strategy, and this can prove costly in terms of money, time and effort for the organization.
How to Build a Customer-Centric organisation?
The following steps will help in building a Customer-Centric organisation-
1. Create an awareness in the company
Create awareness in the company about the Customer-Centric approach and make it a part of the company philosophy if you are looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organisation. The organization needs to implement a strategy where the customer is always first concisely and clearly and integrate this philosophy in its values and mission if it wants its employees to uphold it all times.
It will have a profound impact on the strategy-making policy of the firm and revise the employee’s attitude and behavior towards the customers. Lay the groundwork as it will boost monetary gains, enhance brand image and provide a competitive advantage of the rival brands. Create corporate clarity that is reflected via the thoughts, action, and behavior of both employers and employees during decision-making and implementation stages.
The awareness and message about Customer Centricity should come across every employee of the firm via conversations, meetings, message boards, and emails until it becomes a part of the company DNA.
2. Focus on the employees
The process of a Customer-Centric organization starts with your employees. Make sure that the hiring managers are hiring the right kind of applicants for the job if you are looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organization.
Focus on the employees if you want to create the right expectations. Make sure that the professionals joining your firm are aware of your Customer-Centric approach and are ready to make an extra effort in ensuring the success of the policies. Focus on the employees so that they are aligned with the core value of the company from the onset.
3. Offer training to the employees
Every change will seem like a big one at the onset and will need numerous adjustments on the part of everyone in the organization. It is a dramatic shift and will require a change in behavior and mindset so that the employees can make a positive influence on the customers.
Offer relevant and practical training to make the transition smooth if you are looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organization. The training will provide the skills and know-how for process improvement, collaboration, and teamwork, proactivity, innovation, communication and creativity that is necessary for the initiative.
Follow up the training with reinforcement strategy so that the impact of the training is not lost and the employee does not once again return to what was once a familiar setting. Remember, it is practical retention that will help in implementing a Customer-Centric approach in an organisation.
4. Focus on the customers
Remember it is all about the customers hence put your onus on the wants and needs of the customer if you are looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organisation. Anticipate the needs of the customers even before they realise what they want and make helpful suggestions accordingly. It is necessary to focus marketing efforts on every customer, but it is equally important to pay special attention to customers who belong to the high-value segment.
This means identifying those customers and creating a unique strategy for them. Make sure that all the employees are aware that if they have to make sacrifices, then it is ok to do so but pleasing the customers is of prime importance.
It is imperative to ensure customer satisfaction even if an employee has to revise schedules, sacrifice holidays or give off occasional profits. Significant companies are empowering their employees so that they can make on-spot decisions that will prove beneficial for the company as well as the customers
5. Involve everyone in the organisation with the concept
Involve everyone in the organisation with the concept if you are serious in your efforts to implement a Customer-Centric approach. Make sure that besides the customer service department all other related departments are also drawn in for instance service department, sales team, engineering team and product development along with the decision-makers who need to understand the wants of the customer.
Some organizations have specialized teams that stay in direct contact with the customer to know what new is happening, whereas some members of the team are involved in identifying dissatisfied customers and making critical decisions regarding their issues.
When middle and lower-level employees work together in tandem, then they are serious in their efforts to implement a Customer-Centric approach.
6. Track and report progress
If you have a culture shift is an organization, it is essential to track and report progress to know if you have been successful in your endeavors of building a Customer-Centric organization. Set relevant milestones and goals and keep a track through numerous metrics like fewer complaints and fewer product returns from the customers.
Determine the areas of improvement and continue with activities that will support the Customer-Centric approach. Remember customers are the heart of an organization as they are placed in the driving seat and if they are happy, then it is evident that the organization will grow and prosper because of it.
7. Collect customer feedback
Listening to the viewpoint o a customer is an integral part of the Customer-Centric approach. Communicate with the customers regularly as well as frequently as part of your strategy if you are looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organisation.
This is done so that the company can collect valuable customer feedback through message boards, FB messenger, In-app messages, phone calls, SMS, email and chats. Make sure that employees are using all the available channels of communication that are at their disposal to gain an insight into the mindset of the customer. Consider other research techniques like survey and user testing so that the company can adjust its product roadmap.
Ask your customer sales and support team if they are aware of any personal things about the customers like birthdays and anniversaries. Send greetings on auspicious days to make viable connections because it will inevitably be reflected through customer feedback.
8. Rewarding employees for customer satisfaction
Employees are an integral part of an organization, and they must be motivated to ensure customer satisfaction if you are looking for ways to become a Customer-Centric organization.
The best option for the company at this point is to link the incentive and growth of an employee with customer satisfaction.
This is to ensure that the employees know that rewards and benefits are around the corner if they are ready to go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. Create an environment by integrating employee reward and appraisal system into your culture so that the employees take into consideration customer satisfaction before making any small or big decisions. Remember if a person has a personal stake in any process, it will move heaven and hell to make it a success because everyone is working to achieve personal gains.
9. Celebrate customer success
The traditional organisation believed that his liability to the customer ended with the product delivery but so is not the case in a firm that has implemented a Customer-Centric approach. These organizations are concerned with the actual value they are delivering before and after the product delivery.
The employees of such firms lend a helping hand if the customers are in need, offer solutions to any problems they face after the delivery and celebrate with them in their successful ventures. An organisation must celebrate customer success if it is looking for ways to build a Customer-Centric organization. Use the stories of customer success with others so that you can enhance your brand image in the market and also motivate your employees along the way. Treat it like a celebration or a grand event where you reward the involved employees and appreciate their efforts in front of others. Create a company culture where things like customer acquisition, retention, onboarding, and renewal are all celebrated like events.