Tag: customer experience strategy

28 Jun 2016
4 Examples of Successful Businesses Following a Customer-Centric Model

4 Examples of Successful Businesses Following a Customer-Centric Model

Guess what top companies worldwide all have in common?

Whether they’re service, manufacturing, or merchandising businesses, the most important shared element between them – a customer-centric model.

As companies transition from product-oriented to customer oriented, this process entails complete organizational planning and a long-term commitment to consistency.  The payoffs, which equal profits, often include one or all of the following: an improvement of operations, expanding of the customer base, and a securing and increasing of the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

By developing and executing a complete and effective customer-centric model, businesses are put in a greater position to align all strategic and operational priorities as well as enabling lasting and continuous structural growth.

Successful Companies that Live By a Customer-Centric Model

Many established organizations have come to realize that in order to maximize the customer life-span and CLV, it is not suffice to simply place customers at the top of the priority list.  The priority list itself has to revolve around meeting the needs of their customers.

There are a variety of innovate approaches, methods, and software platforms used for development and execution of customer-centric models across various industries. The following are four examples of organizations that exemplify this customer-first approach and prove the effectiveness of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

  1. Intuit drives customer delight with core principles

    Intuit has long maintained their reputation as a company focused on customer needs. From its earliest days, employees were encouraged to observe customers and look for ways to solve real-life problems for them. Testing and observation would be done to see how customers reacted to products and what problems they ran into. They would even do these product tests beyond the work environment and see how well the product functioned in the home. The company also instituted annual surveys to gather customer insights on an organization-wide level.

    At one point, Intuit launched “Design for Delight,” a major initiative meant to instill a culture of customer centricity using core principles as its basis. As outlined in Harvard Business Review, these principles were as follows:

    “Deep Customer Empathy – Immerse yourself with customers to know them better than they know themselves. To understand what really matters to customers, you should watch them, talk with them, and put yourself in their shoes.

    Go Broad to Go Narrow – Create options before making choices. There are lots of possible answers, so to get one great idea, you need to create lots. The first idea is rarely the best.

    Rapid Experiments with Customers – Get customer feedback early and often to understand the pros and cons of options. Watching customers react to prototypes through trial and error is better than relying on our own opinions.”

    With these principles in place, Intuit has become a leader in customer experience and innovation. These core principles have defined a culture that is constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience, taking on initiatives, and consistently putting the customer first in every regard.

  2. Amazon defines the customer-centric model

    The fact that Amazon is mentioned here shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. They are a model of customer-centricity and maintain practices that keep them leaders in this arena:

    • Did you know that the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, will often leave a seat open at his conference tables to remind all those present that the most important person in the conversation is “the Customer.”
    • Amazon installs practices to maintain excellence in customer experience by rewarding those who “raise the bar” for the organization.
    • From Kindle to FireTV to Echo, Amazon develops products that are meant to address consumer wants and needs. Their   rather than their development team’s opinion.
    • They cultivate a “culture of metrics” where they routinely engage in head-to-head tests of customers’ reactions to different features or site designs.

    Amazon is consistently mentioned in conversations surrounding the most customer-centric companies in the world. This approach has moved beyond just a philosophy, it has become their culture and it is working tremendously well for them.

  3. REI takes a stand and gains a following

    REI has become synonymous with outdoor recreation gear and services. The company is built on a consumers’ cooperative model where the majority of customers have membership that provides discounts and other benefits. The company fell into the annals of customer centricity when they began their #OptOutside campaign in 2015 by announcing that they would be closed for Black Friday. Instead, they erected a mini-site dedicated to providing information on hiking trails that would encourage families to go outside and enjoy the holiday weekend together. While most members of the Seattle based retail chain have been strong advocates of the brand, this move specifically (publicity campaign or not) resonated greatly with customers around the country.

  4. Hilton uses innovation to maintain customer satisfaction

    For almost a century, Hilton Hotels Worldwide have defined the hospitality industry, excelling at maintaining one of the most recognized hotel brands in the world. Hilton Worldwide employs a wide range of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to gather and evaluate customer data from all sources, including: guest feedback, social media, and online review sites. These methods provide insights for achieving their target of continuously catering to the customer, which increases long-term customer loyalty.

 

Making a Customer Centric Model of Your Own

Sounds like an over-whelming task – revamping customer relations every step of the journey.  Let there be no mistake, the challenges can be great, but the goal is attainable. Most of the challenges include investing time, money, resources, and manpower. Implementing a customer-centric model requires fundamental changes to every angle and aspect of the business, not just the way it interacts with customers.  Nor is it a one-time project; it involves building trust, relationships, and dedication to customers and services and for the long-term.

23 Jun 2016
7 Things You Need for a Successful Customer-Centric Strategy

7 Things You Need for a Successful Customer-Centric Strategy

It’s easy to talk about customer-centricity, but in today’s transparency obsessed marketplace, it’s going to take a lot more than that to convince your customers that you are in it for them. Your customers today are savvy and connected – and they know the difference between genuine commitment and hopping on a bandwagon.

In 2016 in order to convince your customers that they are your very first priority, you have to actually make them your first priority. To help your brand navigate the waters of building and maintaining the right approach with your customers, here are seven tips to get you pointed in the right direction and develop a strategy that puts your customers front and center.

 

Building Your Customer Centric Strategy

  1. Establish a true dedication and conviction to become a customer-centered brand

    Don’t assume your brand can change overnight. As much as you already know that the key to creating loyal customers who come back for more is letting them know that they are your focus, you have an uphill battle ahead to undo all your past strategies and methodologies.

    This is why you need to establish a true commitment to becoming a customer-centric brand from the get-go. So many brands jump on the customer-first bandwagon only to fall right off because of lack of dedication. So now at the very beginning, solidify your company-wide commitment to becoming a customer-first brand.

  2. Get your employees engaged and excited about implementing a customer-centric model

    “You only design the Customer Experience; your team delivers it” – Colin Shaw, Beyond Philosophy

    Your team of front-facing and internal employees can either be your biggest asset when it comes to your new approach or they can run it into the ground. But just how do you get your employees on board with this new model for the organization?

    By giving your employees the proper tools and training and through lots of communication.

    Be sure to give them the proper access to your current knowledge base so they have the right answers on hand at all times. Make it easy for them to follow each customer’s journey with the help of the knowledge base as well. Provide training on how to deal with all sorts of customers, from the delighted ones to the ones mid-freak out and make sure they can access assistance from higher ups as soon as they need it.

    Communication is essential at this stage as well. Explain why a customer-centered model is beneficial to the whole organization, and let them know that their input is valued (and really value their input!). Encourage them to become active partners and to put their own “stamp” on their interactions with customer, while never veering from your newly set strategy.

  3. Set your sights on excellence

    Now get ready to set some goals. We aren’t looking at KPIs and revenue markers here, but rather goals pertaining to personal and departmental excellence that will help keep your customer centric strategy on path.

    Having a strong goal of excellence provides direction for the future and lets you know how far you have come. Through that ever-important skill of communicating with your teams, figure out what your collective “best” is, and then set your barometer one notch higher.

  4. Use technology to understand who your customers are and what they really want from you.

    Today, we engage in a constant stream of conversation with customers, from well before they purchase to well beyond. And whether it’s through your website, your mobile platform or your social media pages, all of these touchpoints can actually be incredible sources of information if you know how to cull the data therein. Overlooking all that data would be a huge waste but aligning all the data from your fragmented platforms is really quite a nightmare without the proper resources.

    Harnessing the information from your digital touch points into one main knowledge base can provide huge insights into just who your customers are and what they want from you. Use it to track trends on an individual level and segment your customers into groups, for further information on where they are in your brand’s buying cycle and their habits and preferences, even before they know it.

  5. Listen to the voice of your customer

    Now that you are (hopefully!) gathering meaningful customer insights, it’s time to extrapolate the meaning and actualize the messages. According to Digitalistmag.com, lots of companies collect insight via digital knowledge bases and then essentially ditch that data in favor of setting up easy to implement promotions and giveaways. This runs completely contradictory to what the data they collect says but they do it anyway because they assume it’s correct.

    As long as you’ve got meaningful data, read it, understand it, look for patterns, get to know your customers in a meaningful way and delight them using insights from that data.

  6. Your customer centric strategy should empower your customers by providing an avenue for feedback

    Listening to what your data is telling you is one part of the equation. The other part simply involves just asking your customers what they feel.

    How do you do that?

    By giving them ways to provide feedback. This could be accomplished by short, polite surveys or by simply asking at the bottom of a page “Was this information helpful?” or though on -page product ratings and reviews.

    We all know that Amazon excels at creating and executing their customer strategy. They combine analytics with surveys and non-intrusive questions like “was this answer helpful” to create an experience that tells the customer that they are the “prime” priority. Regarding Amazon’s incredible success with implementing a customer-centric strategy, myfeedback.com notes “Feedback is placed directly on the product’s page and users are provided with multiples ways to parse the information to their liking.”

  7. Be accessible, be accountable

    Perhaps the most critical aspect of taking on a customer-centric strategy is being there, in the moment, with full attention, ready to drop everything and take responsibility. So be there and be ready to take responsibility for whatever may come, the good the bad and the ugly. At the end of the day, if your brand is really committed to developing and sticking to this strategy, chances are, you’ll be hearing a lot more of the good anyway.

Your customers deserve an experience that puts them front and center, and if they don’t get it from you, they’ll head elsewhere. Before they jump ship, change your course and give them what they want. The time to realign and start designing your customer centric strategy is now.