We are now living in a customer experience economy where the customer is (or should be!) the heart and soul of your organization.
This post will give you 4 ways to create a customer centric culture, but before getting into the solutions, let's take a look at some of the pains the market currently faces when it comes to CX:
Customer desires are often hard to identify
Customer Loyalty is not what it once was
It's difficult to pinpoint which customer experiences are driving buying decisions
Customer responses can be overwhelming and difficult to interpret.
Internet and social media have empowered customers with reviews and instant priced comparison
Commoditized market with multiple players competing through price wars.
These are examples of common challenges organizations face, but what about the solutions?
4 Ways to Create Customer Centricity
Here are 4 ways to create a customer centric culture in your company. I'm not going to say it's easy, but it's also not impossible. It just takes a bit of grit.
1. See things from the outside in
Understand your customers' perception of value. See your company’s offerings from where your customers are standing.
The days of sitting around with colleagues brainstorming on what customers “might” think are over. Your company’s opinions of what comprises a great experience, or what you consider your most valuable product doesn't matter unless your customers feel the same way.
So, unless you want customers to bee line for the door, catch up with the times and start listening to the voice of your customer by:
Reading customer reviews
Monitoring social media platforms
Conducting voice of customer surveys
Deciphering buying behaviors
Seem like too big an undertaking? No problem! Technology has already provided the market with tools to make listening to your customer a whole lot easier with things like chatbots, A.I. surveys, and natural language processing.
2. Walk a mile in your customers' shoes
On our Voices of Customer Experience Podcast, CX thought-leader Jeanne Bliss talked about the importance of empathizing with your customer, and treating them as you would your own mother. You need to understand exactly what your customer goes through throughout their relationship with you.
Why not try putting yourself in your customers' shoes by personally purchasing your products or services, whether online or brick and mortar; try returning an item or requesting a refund; file a complaint to see how it's handled internally; or, escalate an issue to see how leadership deals with it. Most importantly, objectively take note of strengths and weaknesses in the processes.
You can also look into designing a customer journey map. Here's how.
3. You can't manage what you can't measure
Business Intelligence is definitely having a moment. New tools have emerged on the market on a daily basis, like A.I., Predictive Analytics, and Data Governance to name a few. Also, new forms of measuring customer experience have emerged, such as Worthix, CLV, Share-of-wallet and CES.
If you consider yourself a little more old school, or if you're just getting started with your CX, you might prefer more traditional methodologies such as Customer Satisfaction or Net Promoter Score.
4. Rally through the Ranks
One thing is certain. The most successful cases of Customer Experience have one thing in common: the executive leadership is on-board. Even more powerful is when the CEO has a customer centric mindset.
Two great examples are Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Richard Branson of Virgin Enterprises. Both companies have customer centricity ingrained in their DNA and consistently strive towards delivering amazing experiences to their customers.
But not every company has a Bezos or a Branson. How can you get your C-Suite not only on-board, but excited about Customer Experience?
Show Me The Money (or at least the ROI)
Customer Experience is not a methodology or a mind-set; it's a growth strategy. The C-suite answers to the board who answers to shareholders; and they all want only one thing: Show me the money!
So, when in Rome, do as the Romans and talk money to your leadership. Provide hard evidence that proves customer experience is profitable, and show decision-makers the correlation between your CX efforts and increased revenue. Here are a couple examples of material you can use to back you up:
The Tempkin group does a great job with their annual Tempkin Report, as does the traditional Forrester Report. A study by Forrester Research and Watermark Consulting tracked the six-year stock performance of companies on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.
According to this article on Ttec, it seems that even during the recession years of 2007-2012, customer experience leaders averaged double-digit gains in stock performance, beating customer experience laggards by an impressive margin.