In today’s business world, the balance of power has shifted towards customers, who now have a multitude of products and services to choose from, which must act as a cue for companies to embrace and promote a culture of customer-centricity. Ignoring the need to focus on being customer-centric can lead to tumbling sales and loss of brand equity. A customer-centric business aims to put the customer at the core of its operational strategy and molds the service delivery to enhance customer experience. In order to stay competitive in any industry, it is important to make the needs of customers the starting point for all strategic and tactical decisions. Creating a culture of customer-centricity involves identifying your customers’ needs and focusing on improving the overall customer experience.
Understanding customer needs is the starting point for becoming customer-centric. Businesses today need to consider the preferences of customers before designing any product or service. Companies should conduct thorough market research to understand consumer behavior and buying trends. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and understand their needs from their perspective. It is essential to realize that customers have diverse needs, which need to be considered.
Analyzing customer needs will provide insightful data on changing technologies, lifestyles and preferences hence enabling companies to design customer-centric products and services. The design process should be based on customer needs, which can be determined through extensive research and effectively collecting feedback on periodic basis. There is a need to adopt a customer-centric structure within organizations that will help promote a culture of production and service delivery that meets customer needs more effectively.
Customer-centricity within an organization comes from realizing the need to focus on the customer journey. Think of yourself as the customer and analyze all customer touch points and interactions to understand what is lacking in the overall service experience. Find out what is missing through customer journey mapping. A customer-centric approach would focus more on removing redundancies and adding more convenience for customers. For example, for e-commerce websites, customers should not be required to fill out complicated forms or asked to give out personal information more than what is required to carry out the transactions. From the first point of contact till customer feedback is acquired after the sale, the entire interaction and correspondence with the customer should be one which adds convenience and is pleasant. Moreover, companies should focus on enhancing the overall customer experience by offering a more personalized experience and ensuring the availability of assistance from CSRs throughout the customer journey. Enabling multichannel and well-integrated communication would help improve the customer experience, as interactions become seamless and smooth.
Managers often feel reluctant to truly empower their frontline staff members, which entails delegating more responsibility and power. According to Roffey Park’s annual Management Agenda survey, only 59% of the respondents thought that they have been empowered to do their job effectively. Managers often exhibit risk-averse tendencies, where they feel safer to hold on to more control and power. This eventually results in deterioration of customer support that is offered by the company and leads to customers feeling more frustrated. Managers must learn to delegate and truly empower frontline staff by allocating clear roles and responsibilities, and at the same time developing trust. Managers should connect CSRs to the overall customer service strategy by clearly communicating what the company is trying to do, and training them on how to go about achieving that. Customer Service Training Modules should be designed in a way that enables CSRs to deal with various obstacles on their own without having to depend on senior staff members. Additionally, CSRs should be allowed to make decisions independently when solving problems faced by the customers.
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