The 10 Habits of Customer-Centric Organizations in the Age of Digital Business
Continuously Listening to Customers
Customers are actively and passively giving businesses information that can be used to drive a successful CX. Businesses can learn:
- What customers buy,
- What is important to customers
- Where customers are located and where they usually go
- The interests of customers
- Who customers are friends with
Listening is the first step to building a customer-centric culture.
Consistently Following Up With Customers on Their Feedback
While many organizations employ listening and VoC techniques (as noted above), most do a poor job of communicating with customers from whom they’ve received feedback.
Understanding that the customer relationship is about reciprocal value, customer-centric organizations realize that customer feedback is voluntary and their customers will stop talking to the organization if they don’t feel their feedback is being heard.
Acting Proactively to Anticipate Needs
As organizations collect more accurate and relevant information from customers, application leaders can use customer data to be proactive in creating a positive CX based on situational needs. In a cloud software sales scenario, a customer success manager will be able to generate good insight through the usage pattern of his client and similar clients, and identify proactive actions on training, escalations, or cost-saving measures such as reassigning dormant users.
Building Customer Empathy Into Processes and Policies
Organizations that don’t view the customer journey from the point of view of the customer risk alienating the people they need to reach.
A lack of coordination among internal customer process designers, and between the various customer process designers and the customers themselves, can undermine businesses in their attempts to build customer empathy.
Respecting Customer Privacy
We’ve talked about the extensive amount of customer data that application leaders have on individuals, but customer-centric organizations make a habit of respecting customer data privacy just as much as they make a habit of using it to anticipate need. Respecting privacy doesn’t just mean being compliant with regulations.
Sharing Knowledge Internally and With Customers
The best organizations understand that knowledge flows both ways. Knowledge is generated both by organizations and customers and should be shared. Doing so creates a rich knowledge sphere that is directly available to customers and employees. This improves efficiency, customer satisfaction and revenue growth.
Motivating Employees to Stay Engaged
Companies like The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Zappos and Singapore Airlines are famous for their advanced levels of customer service and, in particular, their friendly employees.
High levels of employee engagement contribute to higher levels of customer satisfaction. When employees are engaged, organizations enjoy higher productivity, improved retention and reduced absenteeism.
Acting Systematically to Improve the Customer Experience
An organization’s CX will only improve when it establishes a compelling vision and develops a systematic approach to improvement. In the majority of cases, CX management is an initiative or program composed of multiple projects. It takes multiple years to get some initiatives right (such as altering compensation plans and corporate metrics), whereas only a few weeks are needed for other initiatives (such as quick fixes to the web-user experience).
Creating Accountability for Customer Experience Improvements
The best CX plan won’t help if no one in the business is accountable for its execution. Major surveys have found that responsibility for improving the CX is often spread among many departments, with marketing, sales, customer service, operations and the strategy and planning department most heavily involved.
While the CX cuts across many parts of a business, choosing a point person for the whole business is the best way to get and keep a plan on track.
Adapting to Customer Demands and Circumstances in Real Time
Technology is disrupting the nature of businesses at an ever-faster pace. More than ever before, digital business means engaging with customers and adapting to customer demands and circumstances in real time. Organizations now must:
- React quickly to unexpected business events
- Allow decision makers to instantly understand the state of the business