According to the “Barometer of customer centricity in the Romanian companies 2017”, a study by Valoria in collaboration with Doingbusiness.ro, 89% of companies say the main obstacle to better customer focus is the lack of the necessary data management technologies, even though 75% consider the knowledge of the consumers’ needs as the essential value that supports the company’s customer focus. Moreover, only 27% of companies focus on retaining consumers.
At the same time, the study shows that for 53% of CEOs and managers in Romania the most important benchmark for knowing that their company is the best in the market in terms of customer focus is increasing the consumer satisfaction level year-on-year. Only 24% of respondents believe that the most important performance target is to increase the quality of services by lowering customer satisfaction times. Only 14% of companies focus on customer retention.
„For a company, if profit is the reason to ‘have’, the relationship with the customer is the reason to ‘be’. The company exists and thrives as it hears the voice of the client and understands his critical demands. The Barometer of customer centricity in Romania brings to light the internal and external mechanisms companies use to achieve customer centricity. It is the first survey in Romania that looks at the values of the companies in relation to the client, the means of communication of those values, and the challenges companies face on the way to becoming customer-centric. It is the only research that shows what are the initiatives to improve customer focus in Romanian companies, the tools for collecting customer information and the methodologies used”, says Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends & Technologies Expert, co-author of the survey.
Customer focus values
Each company has a set of values that influence the organizational culture and the customer-centered approach. Thus, 75% of companies have a priority to know customers’ needs, while 74% put consumers satisfaction first. At a distance, 27% have the main value of customer retention, but only 18% say customers’ experience is the most important aspect.
To have a company with a customer-centric culture and processes, the values that support this direction need to be communicated throughout the organization. In Romania, 45% of companies say that they have a top-down communication model for this purpose, where the message bearers are only people in the leadership.
Internal, external actions and challenges
To be more customer-centric, the Romanian companies have the following approaches: 50% develop processes that deliver superior customer service, 44% facilitate cooperation between company departments, 42% provide training for employees to understand the client-centered approach, 41% reward performance customer relationship, and 33% operationalize the customer-centric values of the organization.
In the market, companies in Romania are doing the following to increase customer focus: 63% expand product range correlated with consumer needs, 52% offer products / services priced fairly by customers, 45% create an emotional bond with consumers, and 44% increase contact points with consumers.
The main challenges for companies to better focus on the customer are the following: the lack of technology platforms for customer data management (89%), insufficient expertise in data analytics (88%), silo operation of support departments that makes it impossible to share customer data (76%).
The budget allocated to customer experience
Only 15% of companies say they have a budget dedicated to customer experience. When looking at the size of companies, the percentage increases to 33% for companies with a turnover of more than 100 million euros in 2016.
In this context, it is important to understand how companies that do not have this approach build their general budget. Thus, 31% of companies say they align the departments’ objectives to increase customer focus, 25% focus on Customer Lifecycle and 23% on Customer Total Value.
Moreover, in 7 out of 10 companies, the responsibility for the customer experience budget is not explicitly allocated. The marketing department has this responsibility in 12% of companies, 5 percentage points more than the Customer Relations Department that has this responsibility in 7% of Romanian companies
Knowing the consumers
In Romania, the three main approaches used to get to know the consumers are the following: collecting consumer data to direct it to the relevant department of the firm (45%), consumer problem analysis (44%), regular customer data updating (44%). Only 20% of companies provide real-time access to the managers in the customer service department to the agents’ activity, and only 7% test the response time in a proportionate manner to the number of customer requests per week.
In 40% of the Romanian companies, the top management develops the criteria for prioritizing initiatives to improve the consumer experience, 32% give this responsibility to the leaders of all departments, and in 7% of companies, these criteria are developed by the customer relations department. In 9% of companies, this is the marketing department.
The most used indicators for companies to prioritize initiatives to improve the consumer experience with the greatest impact on business are the following: consumer satisfaction (37%), cost-benefit analysis (27%), return on investment – ROI (19%), consumer loyalty (13%), an emotional affiliation to brand (2%), customer advocacy (1%).
„Settling the balance of power between the customer and the companies which is uneven due to digitization brings the challenge of addressing customer’s needs. As the information is easily accessible and the customer needs are constantly transforming the opportunity for this survey, the Barometer of customer centricity in Romania is proven. Beyond the analysis and the aggregate interpretation of the data collected, the study also contains, in the annex, the analysis of data relevant to the most representative six industries. Under the pressure of digital clients, companies are reshuffling their way of doing business, and from this survey, we can find out how prepared companies in Romania are to meet the needs of the new customer type”, says Elena Badea, Managing Partner Valoria, co-author of the survey.
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About the survey
The present survey by Valoria gauges the perceptions of managers and executives about their company’s strategy and processes for customer centricity. The questionnaire, which received 424 responses, was applied between 20 September 2017 and 20 October 2017. The report refers to client centricity as a strategy that aligns the development and delivery of company products around consumer needs, with the aim to increase the value of the company. 5% of respondents come from companies with a turnover of more than EUR 100 million, 4% of companies with a turnover of EUR 50-100 million, 20% of companies with a turnover of EUR 10-50 million, 42 % with turnover between 1-10 million EUR and 29% under EUR 1 million turnover. 35% of the respondents have the position of CEO / President / General Manager / Member of the Board of Directors, 4% have the position of Vice-President / Executive Director, and 33% are Managers. This survey was conducted with the support of Doingbusiness.ro.