According to research, 80 percent of global businesses recognize the importance of having a customer-first approach. However, many struggles to create a positive Customer Experience at every stage of the buying process. This is mostly due to inefficient communication between the product, IT and marketing departments, as well as their inability to process or make sense of their customers’ data. Moreover, most businesses lack a clear understanding of what it means to be customer-centric, so let us look into that first.
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What Does it Mean to be Customer-Centric?
Being customer-centric means putting the customer first at every stage of the buying process. Although this is not a new notion, emerging technologies are disrupting the ways in which businesses interact with customers. While AI, IoT, mobile devices, the cloud, and social media all influence Customer Behavior, businesses can use these technologies to personalize interactions with their customers.
Organizations should create personal experiences at each moment of the customer journey, i.e. from the initial search to post-purchase. For example, you can send returning customers personalized recommendations based on their purchasing history, followed by a discount offer the next day. But to be able to truly provide a personal experience to each customer at every stage of the buying process, you need to get all departments on board. One of the strategies includes creating a customer-centric culture across the entire organization.
Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
- Practice customer empathy. A report by PwC, states that only 38% of US consumers think employees they interact with understand their needs. To truly operationalize customer empathy, support teams should carefully read messages from customers and observe their behavior. For example, creating a mini persona for a customer helps better understand their problems. Support teams should also be able to effectively express empathy through the written word and avoid sending canned responses.
- Hire for customer orientation. When hiring, test each candidate for customer orientation regardless of their role. You want all employees to be on board with customer-centric thinking. This will send a clear message to hiring managers and applicants that your company puts the customer first.
- Open customer insights for all employees. Do not restrict customer insights into marketing and sales departments alone. You should open up a customer experience team to store up this information. Create listening rooms where employees can listen to customer calls and organize all-employee meetings in which leaders can give updates on how the company handles the delivery of CX.
- Enable direct customer interaction. Leaders can facilitate direct interaction with customers by giving employees access to sales and support calls. Employees should observe focus groups, customer visits, co-creation labs, and take part in customer events such as industry conferences or advisory board meetings.
- Connect company culture to customer outcomes. Tracking how company culture impacts customer experience enables managers to cultivate strong customer-centric cultures. It drives employee engagement as well. By offering your employees incentives based on customer retention, you can measure which employee interaction yielded the best results with a specific customer.
Creating a customer-centric company culture is the most important part of the strategy. When you have all the departments on board, you will be able to use customer data much more effectively. Data plays a vital role in a customer-centric business strategy, so let us take a look at how businesses can leverage its full potential.
Data-Enhanced Customer-Centric Strategy
IT departments without proper CX insight struggle to make use of data-gathering technologies. According to research by Monetate, 23% of employees stated that their main barrier toward personalization is poor data quality. Other problems include sustainable data architecture (17%), third-party data (10%) and silos (3%). The majority of businesses claim they require better quality of information to achieve greater levels of personalization, but this is not entirely supported by evidence.
Businesses need to employ data intelligence to the information they already have at their disposal. To organize and utilize customer data effectively, every department needs to work together. Executives can then leverage data lakes and streaming information sources from each and every department. This enables them to operationalize data-driven actions and better understand customers and their behavior. With better data analysis, businesses can extract the true value of customer information. Helping customers in an informed way is an integral part of a customer-centric strategy, as it helps businesses provide their clients with exquisite service and support.
One Step at a Time
Creating a customer-centric business strategy starts with understanding that the customer comes first. And since technology is constantly changing, you will need to learn to utilize the new technology that continues to influence customer behavior. This will help you learn more about your clients. And every department can benefit from this information. This is why creating a customer-centric company culture should be an essential part of your strategy. You want to leverage the full potential your organization has to offer. Data plays a major role in this as well. However, you must learn how to interpret it properly. Such insights can perfect your customer support, increase retention, and ultimately create loyal brand ambassadors.