Question: What distinguishes customer-centric organisations from other companies that proclaim their customer focus?
Answer: In short, they’ve moved beyond lip service and re-orientated their entire operating model around the customer, increasing customer satisfaction and their own profitability in the process.
Customer-centric companies understand not only what the customer values, but also the value the customer represents to their bottom line. They align their operating models behind a carefully defined and quantified customer segmentation strategy and tailor business lines – product/service development, demand generation, production and scheduling, supply chain, customer care, etc – to delivering the greatest value to the best customers for the least cost.
From our experiences, we have distilled the aspects to consider when embedding the customer at the heart of your organisation:
The steps are summarised:
- Visible customer focused leadership. The top team need to walk the talk and engage the whole business on the importance of customer advocacy.
- Understand your customer. Research their needs and understand how they feel about your brand/product/service.
- Design the customer experience. End to end detailed design of the customer journey. Remember the physical and emotional journeys are of equal importance.
- Empower the frontline. Empower your staff to serve the customer and create those “magic moments.”
- Align and engage the back office. Engage the support departments in the delivery process. Create awareness/understanding of how the support activity facilitates the overall customer experience.
- Customer metrics. Use meaningful metrics to measure progress. The customer promoter score and the employee promoter scores are good starting points.
- Feedback and continuously improve. Drive change and improvement through continuous feedback. Use the metrics and feedback in a positive sharing/learning environment to garner results. Don’t employ blame tactics – it becomes dysfunctional.
In our experience the consistency of effort and focus on the customer experience delivers customer advocacy, which leads to a unique brand position – one that can form the basis for unassailable competitive advantage.