Everyone talks about Customer Centricity and Customer First. But what does it truly mean?
A company culture is driven by a Vision, Values and Strategy and metrics. It is easy to forget the Vision and values and strategy and pull it out of the drawer when review times comes up and live by the metrics day-to-day. As our lives are filled with sales, forecasting, problem solving and a myriad of other things that are must dos. The metrics are easy to follow and are tangible measures for success while Vision and strategy can be a more complex and and are seen as more non-tangible and longer term.
So, where does customer centricity come in? Firstly, in a customer-centric organisation, the customer is at the core of everything you do throughout the customer lifecycle. All processes and company activities are done in support of what the customer is trying to accomplish and achieve.
Customer-centric organisations understand that, in order to be successful, their customers need to succeed. And there is a lot of emphasis placed on the “customer experience.” But customer success isn’t based on just having a good experience, although that is a very important piece. It is all about customers achieving their goals.
As an organisation we have many goals, targets and objectives that can sometimes be in conflict if we focus inwardly only. By turning our vision outwardly, we can provide a focus beyond your own organisation, function or team and focus on what truly matters to the customers and markets.
We want to anticipate customers’ needs and delight them with new ideas and solutions they might not have thought of, yet they immediately love and value. Thus, the customer-centric organisation creates products, processes, policies, and a culture that are designed to support customers in their endeavors and to provide them with a great experience as they are working towards their goals.
Customers will trust the organisation and stay loyal to your brand when you offer a consistent customer experience, through all your touchpoints, that meets the customer’s requirements for doing business and helps them achieve their goals.
As an oranisation, we must truly understand who, exactly, are the customers that we serve. It is important to realise that the person who gives you money might not be your end-customer—the one for whom you are providing products and services.
For example, if you have corporate customers, you might be paid by a purchasing department. But the procurement manager, is not likely to use what you offer and sell. They are buying on behalf of others. (Note, however, that even in corporate accounts, each person who deals with you is an individual and deserves a great experience that satisfies him or her.)
Similarly, a college is often paid by the parents of the students. But it is the students who partake of the products and services.
And a non-profit shouldn’t think that donors to the charitable efforts are the primary customers. For example, the American Cancer Society is set up to provide services to cancer patients and their families. If it focused on donors, all services would be about fund raising rather than providing medical information, transportation to clinics, and comfort to those in need.
A truly customer-centric organisation will work to understand what their end-customers are trying to do and help them get that done with ease, grace, and a positive experience.
An organisation committed to Customer Centricity and a Customer First Culture will build their Vision, strategy and values from this perspective and live this strategy every day from the top leaders to every function and role within the organisation. It takes effort and understanding of the markets and customers you serve or would like to serve but in the long run this is what will make your organisation successful.