What does ‘becoming Customer-Centric’ mean? – to some, it’s merely a new focus away from products and services – to the more enlightened it’s the alignment of organisational outcomes with customer outcomes.
We are all familiar with many of the commercial benefits: greater customer retention lowers marketing costs and improves revenue & profitability; better alignment with outcomes leads to higher loyalty levels as shown by increases in purchase frequency and recency as well as customer advocacy; faster growth is driven by more impassioned, empowered and knowledgeable staff.
Despite some views to the contrary, becoming Customer-Centric as an organisation is not just about technology, it’s not about tweaking the way you run the business, or indeed improving the processes that connect functions, it’s about the adoption and relentless focus on a ‘new’ philosophy that sees everything through the eyes of your customers.
It’s arguably true that for retailers and brands there are few survival strategies in today’s Amazon-dominated, low-cost, data-led world – and the most compelling of these is to be customer-centric. The dominant era of the traditional middle market is over, established brands have been disappearing rapidly, along with the retailers who have serviced them. In the age of mass consumption, we needed traditional distribution to support growth – but the advent of agile online businesses has ruthlessly exposed underlying weaknesses in the old model.
Becoming Customer-Centric is not a trivial exercise, it needs to be driven from the top and its key attributes need to be understood throughout the organisation. As Forrester puts it – you need to be customer-obsessed.
As part of our drive to help retailers and brands become more customer-obsessed, we at Prospero are teaming up with Martin Newman’s Customer First group to work on Customer-Centricity. We want to bring a diagnostic appraisal approach to customer-centricity – to evaluate the status of brands and businesses who support this new philosophy, much like we’ve already done in the eCommerce sector.
Martin has written a White paper which outlines his vision for customer-centricity. This provides the basis for how we think retailers and brands should react in today’s market.
As a starter, the most important four things you can do to become more customer-centric are:
- Ensure your Purpose, values and CSR are clearly articulated, understood & embedded
- Put your Employees First so that they are enthused to deliver for customers
- Really understand what your customers want – across product, service and experience
- Measure what matters via customer-focused KPIs
We will explore the more detailed aspects of Customer-Centricity over the next few weeks in a series of blog posts:
- Evaluate your status using our Customer Diagnostic Wheel (knowing where to start)
- The new KPIs and how to pivot from the old set
- Agile Technology that supports customer-centricity – digital transformation underpins CC
- How to make your information architecture (IA) customer-focussed
- The Contact Centre – Is yours a Cost or Profit centre?
- Other additional practical steps you can take to become Customer-centric
By being customer-centric (and obsessing about your customers) and aligning your efforts with your customers’ needs and wants, you will be on the path to surviving as a business and generating better returns for the future.