In this day and age, an average customer experience just doesn't cut it — the new standard is delight.
In days gone by, it used to be acceptable for organisations to design their operating model and to expect customers to interface with it, for all it’s strengths and flaws. Over time, especially in more recent years, innovative organisations have raised the bar for delivering customer experiences and as a result customer expectations are now much higher.
These days, in all of its interactions with an organisation, whether these be online or offline, customers expect it to know who they are. They expect to receive tailored service based on their previous interactions, to be able to get what they want quickly, to receive personalised recommendations based on their interests and needs, and much more. Above all, customers expect to be seen and treated as a human.
To put it bluntly, a customer doesn’t care about how a business organises itself or operates, they just want their experience dealing with that organisation to be smooth.
Now, most of us have heard of the term “customer-centricity”.
Commonly put, customer-centricity is the act of putting your customer at the centre of everything you do.
But it really is, and needs to be, more than that.
True customer-centricity is making it your organisation’s mission to truly understand your customers and then designing what you do around what they need. This can’t be done in a one-time project, it’s something that must be embedded in your culture.
The good news is that making it your mission to serve your customers is great for business.
PWC’s “Future of CX” report shows some eye-watering stats that show the value that can be gained from serving your customers well —
The long and the short of it is that organisations who provide better customer experiences are more likely to have higher levels of loyalty and retention, in turn generating more revenue from a single customer and saving on the costs of acquiring “replacement” customers, amongst other benefits.
If you’ve read this far, then you are probably starting to see how important it is to adopt a mission of customer centricity in your organisation. But how do you get started?
It’s actually quite simple and takes only three steps.
It might seem obvious, but many organisations fail to engage the people within and outside of their organisation to learn how they can better service their customers, leaving a whole lot of insight on the table.
Adopting customer-centricity must start with opening channels of ongoing dialogue with your customers, talking to them about what their pain points are, asking the hard questions that might be uncomfortable to ask, doing something with that feedback, and then doing it all again, regularly. We recommend having in-depth conversations with a smaller number of people over sending out blanket surveys as you tend to get more useful insight this way. For bigger organisations where you need a wider cross-section, there are other options such as focus groups and market research — get in touch if you’d like to discuss these options.
The other goldmine that is often missed is that of talking to your frontline staff who are in direct contact with your customers, who receive their complaints, and their praise. This is usually your customer service and sales teams.
Another simple concept that is often missed from this process, is actually refining and writing this insight down.
The reason why this is important is because it solidifies all you know about your customers as a snapshot at a given point in time, and allows you to share it with your whole team, so they all know who they come to work to serve, and what’s important to them.
We recommend keeping these as a simple document, using the common Customer Persona format, with a maximum of 5-6 key personas. Customer Personas allow you to encapsulate a cross-section of the customers you serve, including demographic data such as their job title, age, use of technology, how they buy, their interests alongside their pain points and goals.
We have designed our own Customer Persona templates for B2B and B2C organisations – feel free to send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to share them with you.
Having completed the previous steps, you will have had some insightful conversations with your customers and refined these down to key customer personas. That was the easy bit.
The next step requires you to actually do something with that insight and it can sometimes be unclear as to how you proceed.
While every organisation is different, we recommend that you start off with creating a vision of what you would like your customer experience to look like in the future, taking into account the various pain points identified in your research.
Once you’ve done this, you should then break down the key deliverables that will be required in order to deliver on this vision. This activity will likely require input from a technology specialist who will be able to advise on the technology infrastructure and architecture required to support this roadmap.
We appreciate that adopting customer centricity as part of your organisation’s mission isn’t an easy task. As Theodore Roosevelt aptly put it “Nothing worth having comes easy”.
But, as has been shown the world over, organisations who are bold enough to overcome the inertia of change won't just survive, they’ll thrive.
The question is: will your organisation be one of those that thrives?
For organisations who don’t have the internal resources or capability to undertake this work, or would like to get a third party in to provide an independent view of their customers experience, Flume provides a range of Customer Experience related services which you can read about here.
This article is part two in our “Demystifying digital transformation” series — a guide to understanding digital transformation, the value it can provide to your business, and how you can get started so that you, too, can benefit from a remarkably transformed business. Sign up to our newsletter below or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to be notified of this series as it unfolds.
Don't stop here...
Part 1 – What is digital transformation?
Part 2 – Adopting a mission of “customer centricity”
Part 3 – Going agile; slowing down so you can speed up
Part 4 – Technology and infrastructure; from the ground to the cloud