Customer experience (CX) is what gives a company their competitive edge. But how do you put your customers at the heart of every engagement?
I tackled this question at Planit’s recent “Adopting a Customer-First Strategy” event in Sydney, where I was joined by experts in user experience and digital accessibility, as we spoke on how to embrace customer-centricity to deliver a more engaging experience for digital users.
At The Customer Agency, we have identified ten areas of improvement that not only enable organisations to get closer to their customers, but also keep them. I've summarised these points in this short video:
A journey of discovery
First stage of customer-centricity is around customer discovery. This consists of an internal and external analysis to understand the customer from their perspective.
1. Know your customer
To understand your customer, you need to do research into the market, the various competitors, and who are their customers. A consistent account plan also needs to be set up and shared throughout the organisation, ensuring it is regularly updated and reviewed.
2. Segment customer data
Use your historical data to split your customers into top, mid and low tier levels. Look at how often they buy and how much they spend to understand their purchasing trends.
3. Listen and learn
Listening to the voice of the customer can often provide insight that is both surprising and useful. These insights can then be used to drive action and improvements.
Instead of waiting to do an annual or transactional survey, it’s worth carrying out direct interviews with customers. In addition to scalable metrics, make sure to capture all anecdotal insights, as it may provide the real reason for the numbers.
4. Open feedback path
Think about how you’re asking your customers to provide ad hoc feedback to you, and how you drive improvements based on these reoccurring themes. Hook at how the feedback is reported up to the leadership team on a really regular basis, because it can be valuable in driving strategy and improvement.
Roadmap for improvements
The insight improvement map is the second component of customer-centricity. It consists of creating a customer roadmap and establishing a baseline for today.
5. Map the customer journey
Plot out the customer journey across the organisation and across silos. It's important to bring in all of the people that may be in touch with the customer at different points and interactions.
6. Align all touchpoints
Build the customer journey and map it out. This will enable you to create a baseline of where your customers are today, and the journey that you will take them on.
Consider if the improvements really matter to customers, what's the worst thing that could happen by not implementing them, and how much it will cost the business by doing nothing. Improvements should also be validated with trusted customers before committing to a full rollout.
The third area of customer-centricity is to embed and lead these behaviours. The improvements need to be measurable, with leaders and managers reinforcing them.
Having a human-to-human element is both meaningful and valuable to customers. You don't need to change every process to have a human-to-human touch, as systems help to automate repetitive tasks and processes.
Design a contact and engagement plan from a customer's perspective, and agree with your customer on how much human-to-human interaction strikes a good balance between needs and expectations. Find out what works for them, update your customer plan, and measure how effective it is.
8. Team engagement
Think about how you communicate throughout the entire organisation, from management and teams, to individuals and their accountability for what they deliver as a service or a product to customers. Whether someone gets in touch with a customer directly or not, make sure everyone understands the customer’s path from beginning to end.
9. Align KPIs
Make customers measurable by aligning their growth with a scorecard or your own KPIs. Think about how you measure customer wins, their growth, and retention.
In addition to effectively communicating results, celebrate them within the organisation. It doesn't need to be monetary, as employees often value knowing where and how they're making a difference collectively.
Business leaders, managers, and executives within the organisation need to be accountable and take ownership. They also need to look at developing their own peer-to-peer relationships with the top clients.
Customer-centricity starts here
Customer-centricity lies in authentically understanding, engaging, and connecting with your customers. It's not just about the customer’s purchasing history, voice, or journey, but also understanding the customer from their perspective to see what they really think about your organisation, products, and services.
Building a customer-centric organisation doesn't happen overnight. It requires a cultural and mindset shift, as well as a critical look at the business and sales methodology. However, by demonstrating a keenness to learn more about your customers, you may be already taking the first step towards customer-centricity.
If you are interested to find out where you are on your customer-centric journey, The Customer Agency has released a free e-book that contains a self-audit, as well as additional advice, best practices, and guidelines.
We work with Planit to help organisations transform their applications to deliver the quality customers demand and reach a new audience through digital accessibility.