Article published in managerexpress.ro
Although focusing on the customer is not a new concept, it has become more and more relevant. Customer focus is a strategy that aligns the development and delivery of the company’s products around consumer needs. In the context of digital business transformation, and digital marketing, understanding and shaping the customer experience brings many benefits that increase the value of the company.
Why is customer focus important?
To understand why customer focus brings so many benefits, we need to establish why customer satisfaction is so important to the business. Here are some arguments:
- Loyal customers are worth values up to 10 times higher than one-time buyers
- It is 6-7 times more expensive to get a new client than retain one you already have
- 7 out of 10 Romanians say they would try a new brand or new company for a better experience
- 62% of global consumers and 73% of Romanians stopped buying from a brand or organization because of a poor customer service experience
- When it comes to sales, the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer
5 steps to make the company more focused on the customer
- Listen to the voice of the customer – This stage involves understanding the critical characteristics and customer needs, beyond the basic expectations expressed in relation to a product or service. What is the way the customer defines and prioritizes the needs and expectations of a product/service? Do a research on the level of satisfaction of your customers have with your product/service and find out how much your company’s Net Promoter Score is.
- Engage the customer in finding the solution – It’s the stage where you need to find ways to engage the customers in designing the experience, service/product, or interaction environment with your company by consulting them.
- Map the customer route and customer experience – Accompany your customers on their route to the company and the services/products you offer. Identifies their needs at each touchpoint. List the areas of improvement and monitor everything that is relevant to you (call-center logs, complaints, web feedback, social media).
- Integrate collected customer data – Technological support is needed to allow easy access to customer information across all the departments. Thus, employees will be able to better understand customer relationships and make the right decisions.
- Make a customer-centered and employee reward strategy – At this stage, you articulate the plan to meet and exceed customer expectations with the help of your employees. Delegating decision-making power regarding the customer experience at employees’ level and rewarding them are very important. The quality of the information they hold and the implementation thereof into the internal process is essential. Employee reward should be also based on customer satisfaction KPIs, not just on the revenue generated.
Who is responsible for this mission?
Customer experience begins well before the purchase of the product/service. But who assumes the responsibility of the mission to build a superior customer experience? In multinational companies, the most common solution is either setting up a functional group to take over this responsibility or giving the responsibility to the entire organization.
The Barometer of Customer Centricity, a study conducted by Valoria, shows that 67% of the Romanian companies have not explicitly assigned responsibility for the customer experience budget. At present, only 15% of the local companies have a budget dedicated to customer experience and only 29% involve the customer relationship team in budgeting. The responsibility to develop criteria for prioritizing initiatives to improve consumer experience belongs exclusively to top management in 40% of the domestic companies.
In the race for immediate results, the sales-oriented organizational culture appears to be more efficient, but the customer-centric approach is more profitable in the long run. This is because customer focus is not only conducive to delivering products/services as required by the clients, but also to creating interactions with customers before and after the sale takes place, in order to generate repeated sales, loyalty and profits.