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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.