Companies have always created value for their customers but those with more than a simple customer focus have created real and long lasting business value. Today customer-centricity means much more than before, referring to business and digital transformation, customer engagement and customer experience management.
However this is more than just people, process and technology, it’s about the culture of the company, how the company sees itself, its employees, partners and suppliers within a bigger, rapidly changing picture driven by the “connectedness” of everything and everyone. What does a high performance company culture look like?
Corporate social media and a customer centric culture
Social media has created a knowledgeable and powerful customer-base so companies must improve their customer understanding to create an unrivaled customer experience that maintains and extends their competitive advantage. Using social data to create a more personalised customer interaction will be at the heart of customer centric service, moving from a product-centric to a customer centric business.
The future of corporate social media is customer centricity, becoming more customer centric is key. Social media has changed the way customers behave. Achieving a deeper customer understanding from social data is important in implementing a customer centric model.
Customer centricity is built on an employee centric culture
To be a customer centric business you need to be employee centric first. Establishing ways to engage your workforce, bringing their day to day experiences of delivering value to your customers into your decision making processes will help to create the right customer service focus. You need the most engaged, loyal, and customer-centered employees like that of Disney, Virgin and Zappos. The customer centric business sees suppliers, partners and employees as customers too interacting and dealing with the company as they do.
The internal customer is also key. For an exceptional customer experience to be delivered externally, employees need to show the same dedication to internal customer service too. They need to feel valued by each other, supported by the organisation and with a shared vision of success, including with the senior management team.
This high performance corporate culture needs to be aligned with the business strategy. So while a highly engaged and motivated workforce is essential for achieving the strategic objectives and goals if it’s not properly aligned you’ll pulled in the wrong direction. For example if the goal was to sell more to existing clients or deliver your services at a lower cost than your rivals. The adjustment from product, job or work focus to a customer behaviour focus may take some time so to mitigate the impact of that, employees need to be on-board with the change, feel a part of it, rather than have it imposed on them. If they do not feel engaged, they will not feel any ownership. This, then, requires the senior team, management to set a corporate goal of engaging with the workforce, motivating them and creating the high-performance company culture they desire.
Managing customer centric innovation requires a focus on delivering market leading customer satisfaction, from reviewing the current product or service definition to the teams behind delivering an extended customer lifetime value.
Four benefits of a customer centric business
- Establish cost saving opportunities.
- By delivering your products and services more efficiently you can identify hidden cost saving opportunities. Delivering your product or service right first time, in the minimum time frame, makes your company more productive.
- Identify opportunities for growth
- In getting closer to your customers and your market you’ll discover new ways to sell or promote your services, new niches you could target to raise revenues.
- Evolve a differentiated service and a unique competitive advantage
- Your company will have its own way of doing business, you may not know just what your customers like about the way you work, the way you deliver your value. What makes you unique to your customers, why did they buy from you? If you don’t know or your customers don’t recognise it themselves, then being customer centric will help you develop and promote your unique competitive advantage.
- Build a productive company culture
- A focus on customer service will create a more rewarding company to work for, a more rewarding company culture. It is hard to find a top performing company that does not have its employees’ well being, training, support and involvement as an important focus of their operations.
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