More Revenue through Satisfied and Loyal Customers
Optimizing customer centricity means aligning a company in a holistic way with the needs of its customers and optimizing their buying experience. Today, we speak of customer centricity in this context, but what does it actually mean for companies?
The way in which customers are addressed is still in a state of transition. As a result of digitization, consumers have many more opportunities to compare offers and also gain insights into the experiences of other buyers. Through customer surveys, market research, and other sources, companies can understand what issues their customers are concerned about and what is important to them. The challenge, however, is to also carry these insights back into the company and use them as the basis for actions and strategic decisions—with all departments on board. Among other things, this can be summarized under the term customer centricity. But how exactly can companies achieve this?
3. Obtain Customer Feedback
Once the contact points of the customer journey have been defined and an overview of the path from interest to purchase has been created, it is now important to understand the customer experience at the respective touchpoints. By asking customers about their experience at key touchpoints, any pain points that cause them to break off their customer journey can be uncovered and remedied. Likewise, companies learn what is already working well and delighting customers and should therefore be continued. To gain these insights, short and precise surveys such as the Net Promoter Score® are particularly well suited, as they achieve high response rates and collect both quantitative and qualitative data.
4. Analyze and Evaluate Customer Feedback and Use It as a Basis for Action
After collecting customer feedback, the next step is to evaluate it. This should determine whether the ratings and comments received are positive, neutral or negative, and what the topics are in each case. With feedback software and platforms such as zenloop, this process can be automated using features such as sentiment and impact analysis and prepared in clear dashboards. Alternatively, a manual evaluation can also be carried out, but this becomes increasingly difficult, especially with a high survey volume.
5. Bring Customer Feedback into the Entire Company and the Individual Departments
If customer feedback has been collected and evaluated, it is now important not to let it disappear in a document or to share it only within a specific department. Therefore, all employees from all departments should be given insight into the general feedback and the insights gained from it. This should not only happen passively but rather the management level or responsible department must take action here and actively share insights. Good options for this are, for example, regular meetings or live dashboards that can be placed at various locations in the office and online. Department-specific feedback should also be provided to the respective teams so that processes can be optimized and team members trained on the basis of the received feedback.
6. Establish a Dedicated Customer Experience or Voice of the Customer Department
To clearly define responsibilities and ensure that customer feedback is communicated and used within the company, it can make sense to set up a dedicated department for this purpose. The task and goal of this department is to listen to customers and share insights within the company in order to initiate strategic decisions and courses of action. The department thus exists as the superior, first and final authority on the subject of customer experience, largely holding an advisory role rather than an implementation role. This approach has slowly become established in recent years and is still only successfully implemented by a few pioneers. However, these companies benefit massively from it and are praised by their customers for their outstanding customer experience management.
But beware: If you want to do everything right, you always run the risk of making mistakes: Some people overshoot the mark in a highly motivated manner, others miss the mark unprepared. A healthy self-perception is important in order to question the company’s internal actions and to optimize them if necessary. Self-perception and external perception of customer centricity are not always congruent. For example, around 75 % of companies may see themselves as customer-centric and yet only 30 % of customers share this perception.
Nevertheless, it pays to build on customer centricity because
Customer-centric Culture: Dos & Don’ts
1. Of course the conversion rate should always be in focus, but it should not be the first and last key performance indicator (KPI). What is the benefit of successfully converted customers who have been channeled through a funnel that is not designed for long-term retention and loyalty? For example in such a funnel that is purely revenue-oriented—the real value of customer centricity gets stuck.
2. The optimization of existing processes and models is not always in the interest of the customer. Sometimes a completely different approach or something completely new is needed to meet customer needs. For example, those who only conduct A/B tests to improve the customer experience are only addressing what is already in place. A meaningful centering, on the other hand, measures all variables and also allows innovations.
3. It’s all a question of consistency. Just “a little customer centricity” does not work. It is all or nothing: the importance of embedding it in the company’s strategy cannot be emphasized often enough. Half-hearted commitment is quickly exposed by prospective customers—good customer centricity leaves no questions and takes place holistically at all points in the company. All responsible employees must therefore be able to consistently assume the customer perspective. This is the only way to understand the customer and tailor content to their individual needs.
4. Contact with the customer should be neither top-down nor groveling. A company should always appear professional, both in direct and indirect contact with customers. This does not mean that the exact answer must always be at hand, but helpful information and, in the best case, solutions should be presented for every problem.
Luise Hübbe (Chief Digital Officer at Geometry) sums up the dos. She sees customer centricity as “a holistic marketing and innovation management that doesn’t get lost in the nitty-gritty of optimization, but thinks and analyzes journeys along all possible touchpoints.”