In the digital era, consumer experience decides the business champions. Companies that manage the relationship with the consumer at all points of contact with the consumer will become market leaders. Industries that make the consumer experience the number one focus in their organizational culture, organizational structures and process design, will generate added value for the customer and profit for the company.
Multiplying consumer touchpoints brings challenges related to these organizational culture, organizational structures and processes. But what are the elements that determine the way in which the various industries in Romania manage these challenges? The answer is provided by the industry-focused analysis of the findings of the survey conducted by Valoria in collaboration with Doingbusiness.ro – The Barometer of customer centricity in Romanian companies 2017.
Customer retention is not a priority for the industry sectors
For 66% of industrial production companies, 53% of trade, 50% of IT and 49% of professional services, customer satisfaction increases year-on-year is the most important criterion for a firm to be the best market in terms of customer focus.
In construction and transport, most companies (39% and 44%, respectively) consider the annual growth in service quality and lower claim handling times as the main criteria that indicate market leadership towards customer focus.
At the opposite end, consumer retention is the seldom-used criterion, being used by only 5% of manufacturing companies, 12% of commerce, and 19% of IT and professional services, respectively. The result is the continuous chase after new customers, with a required effort that is 5 to 6 times higher than the one needed for their loyalty.
Understanding customers needs is first and foremost
Understanding customer needs is the main value for consumer focus, less in industrial production and retail & wholesale sectors, where customer satisfaction is first. In IT, the consumer experience is important for 50% of companies, unlike construction & real estate sector, where this value was not checked by any respondent. Consumer retention is the main value for 33% of transport companies and 32% of companies in trade.
For 50% of the companies in trade, the main way to communicate the values that underlie the relationship with the customer is the diversified and coherent internal communication. All the other industries have mainly top-down communication of these values through top management – 51% in manufacturing, 50% in IT, 50% in transport, 48% in construction& real estate and 43% in professional services. Most transport companies (33%) say they holdQ&A sessions to understand client needs.
Processes and actions to deliver superior customer service
75% of IT companies are internally focused on creating processes that deliver superior customer service, followed by 52% of construction & real estate companies, 51% of professional service companies and 50% of companies in transport and commerce. The implementation of customer relationship values is important for 38% of industrial production companies, 38% of IT, 38% of professional services companies.
Out of the range of external actions, only 31% of IT companies invest in customer support lines, 28% of transport, 16% of professional services, 13% of industrial production and 12% of trade companies. 85% of trade companies prefer to expand the range of products in line with customer needs, but 61% of transport companies say it is important to increase the number of touchpoints with the consumer.
What will make the difference in the future?
Although the Voice of the Customer is the methodology used by most companies to measure and improve the consumer experience, 23% of IT companies use the Net Promoter Score, another 23% of IT companies use Customer Journey Mapping, 22% of professional services use the Customer Effort Score, and 14% of the production companies use the Customer Experience Index.
As a result, a first step that will make the difference in the future is to professionalize the roles within the company to help align all the initiatives that will provide better customer focus. It is equally important to allocate a well-defined budget for the implementation of these initiatives, but at the end of which to track those key performance indicators which will help translate the business results across the company by improving the consumer experience.
Beyond the transformation brought by the new technologies, the industries in Romania must make a transformation at the level of focus and mentality. Although the client is not king in Romania, because we do not like this recipe for success which worked in other parts of the world (e.g. the USA, Middle East, Hong Kong, etc.), the experience we seek as customers, we also must offer as businessmen.