Many companies seeking to improve their Customer Experience (CX) understand the importance of putting the customer at the center of everything they do. Doing it, however, flummoxes them.
Not all companies have this problem though. Those that have excellent experiences, the kind that makes their brand name a household one, demonstrate actual customer-centricity in their CX.
In our global Customer Experience Consultancy, we developed a Customer Experience Assessment model called Naive to Natural to determine a company’s level of customer centricity. The assessment looks at what parts of your organization are where on the journey toward being Natural, which describes those companies that are most customer- centric. There are nine orientation areas that we use to determine a company’s customer centricity level. They include:
- Customer Strategy
- Channel Approach
- Marketing & Brand
- Culture & Leadership
Our research revealed that when it comes to CX, Natural companies do things differently than most on the assessment spectrum and these different things are what makes their experience excellent.
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- Everyone interacts with customers. From senior management to “back office” staff, Natural companies believe everyone should interact with customers and have channels for this interaction to occur. Most organizations leave customer interaction with the customer service team, with anyone else avoiding direct communication most of the time. However, if senior leadership doesn’t support this type of interaction, it would indicate to the team, back-office, and even customer-facing, that avoiding customer interaction is acceptable.
- Everyone interacts with customers, a lot. Natural companies believe that interacting with customers is time well-spent and devote a significant amount of time to it from senior management on down. Most companies do not devote the same resources to customer interaction. But when the majority of your time is not spent with customers, it is easy to slip into an operational focus.
- They define their culture. Natural companies define what work environment they want for their organization and how it aligns with their CX goals. Organizations that neglect to take this step suffer an undefined work atmosphere that could misalign with the CX goals.
- They focus on the right areas in team meetings. Natural companies use the team meeting to focus on the experience. Same goes for company communications; any newsletter or regular communiqué should devote a lot of content toward customer-issues and related topics. Many companies, if not most, focus on sales and performance in team meetings and company communications.
- They view complaints as opportunities. When a customer-focused company hears a complaint, they recognize a chance to surprise and delight the customer. Moreover, Natural companies empower the team to resolve issues and be proactive in their response. Most other companies view complaints as negative and require team members to get approval from a supervisor to fix customer “problems.”
- They are transparent about shortcomings. When something goes wrong, Natural companies are open about it to their customers. Some might go so far as to ask customers for their input on resolving issues. Many companies would hide their mistakes from customers.
- They value customer service staff as essential members of the team. Natural companies do not think the customer-facing team are low-level employees. Most companies do not value these groups properly, which speaks volumes about how much importance the organization assigns to what they do.
Customer-centricity is a common rally cry for organizations that seek to improve their CX. However, it is also tricky to achieve. Natural companies know how to deliver a customer-centric Customer Experience, and, best of all, it happens, well, naturally.
So, where is your company on the Naïve to Natural model? If you don’t know, we have an online assessment that can help you get started.