Customer centricity is often at the top of the list of desirable qualities in any organization. This is because customer centricity is when every person within the entire organization thinks about how their actions and decisions will affect the customer experience. Not to mention, a customer-centric organization focuses on improving the customer experience as a means of building loyalty and repeat business. While it’s common for people to think about customer experience solely within the context of sales and marketing, true customer centricity involves everyone, including those not in roles with direct customer contact, act and behave in the best interest of the customer.
According to a global survey conducted by KPMG, 88 percent of CEOs listed customer loyalty as a top concern, ahead of other areas of concern such as competition and industry regulation. The keys to building customer loyalty can be found in taking a more customer centric approach. Here are four considerations for achieving it within your organization.
Understand Your Customers’ Needs
Increased competition and the 24/7 availability of feedback mechanisms make it necessary to develop a deep understanding of customer needs and how to address them. In fact, today’s companies cannot settle for providing good customer service; instead, they need all employees to accept personal accountability for understanding and addressing customer needs as they apply to their role.
Some of the actions that support a better understanding of customer needs include:
- Mapping the customer’s journey – From the point of awareness to a possible purchase, it’s important to examine the different opportunities that exist for employees to enhance the customer experience.
- Seeking customer feedback – Analyzing results from “voice of the customer,” NPS (net promoter scores), and other surveys helps to dissect and explain what customers want and need.
- Speaking in the customer’s language – Avoiding jargon and buzzwords can streamline customer communications and build understanding.
Build Deep Customer Relationships
To achieve a more customer centric approach, it’s necessary for employees to view business dealings with customers as a relationship in which the goal is to address the customer’s unique needs. No customer wants to feel like a number. Each customer interaction should feel like a natural part of a relationship, rather than merely a transaction.
In a survey of B2B buyers, respondents said they wanted more relationship-based interactions with salespeople, based on listening, credibility, communicating value, and curiosity about their business. In a customer centric organization, every employee is focused on communicating and delivering value to customers in a way that helps each feel appreciated and understood.
Create a Customer Centric Culture
A more customer centric approach is the outgrowth of a culture where employees are empowered and know how to engage in behaviors that enhance the customer experience. Therefore, it’s important to hire, train, and reward employees based on their ability to support and help build a customer centric culture. For example, one company leveraged its customer-centric culture to provide a personalized experience that transformed customers into brand ambassadors.
The key to success will be customer centricity training that helps employees see their roles from the customer’s perspective and take personal ownership for actions that will improve the customer experience. Once employees possess the necessary skills and knowledge, their behaviors change, and a customer centric culture begins to take root.
Ensure Leadership Support
Any important corporate initiative or shift in culture requires that organizational leaders are fully on board and driving the change. All leaders, from the C-suite to the front lines, need to champion customer centricity, lead by example, and help to support customer-focused behaviors among employees. Leaders can support customer centricity by demonstrating their commitment to training that teaches employees how to walk in the customer’s shoes. They can also play a critical role in mentoring and coaching employees, helping them to embrace new customer centric behaviors even after training has taken place.
The keys to a more customer-centric approach are rooted in developing a culture where every employee learns to understand customer needs and see their role as one that impacts the customer. Once employees are trained to see what they do from the customer’s perspective, they will begin to see their role with new clarity, paving the way for behaviors that enhance the customer experience.