Letting The Customer Come First: The Power of Customer-Centric Service


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One of the main challenges all organisations face is actively and productively engaging with customers on a regular basis. Aside from keeping a business running 24 hours day, engagement requires additional time, skill and carefully thought-out design to be handled effectively. Extra effort is required, but getting it right is well worth the trouble. Commercial success is dependent on positive customer relationships, and these can only be built over the long-term by engaging with customers in the right way at the right time.

Most of us will have seen for ourselves the difference between when an organisation chooses to engage with us, mainly through pro-active sales, and when we choose to engage with them, for example with a product after-care query. It can be extremely frustrating for customers who are experiencing unresolved issues with a service to receive a sales call from the very same organisation trying to up-sell to them. This type of engagement is frequently used and is almost always the wrong method.

Too often companies choose to engage purely through the product or services they offer. This fails to build a meaningful relationship between the customer and the brand and creates an impersonal level of service. Your starting point should be what support you can offer them, not what else you can sell to them. It’s your offering overall that will lead to further sales, but this fact is frequently overlooked.

By implementing customer centric engagement, businesses can increase sales and customer loyalty simultaneously. Offer help at each stage of the customer journey, from pre-sales advice to after-care support, and customers will feel a closer attachment to your brand. Communicating with them on their own terms is the first step to building a better relationship with a loyal customer-base.

Of course, this level of service does come with a cost attached, but the benefits it brings in maximising return custom and sales is often priceless. Responding to consumer’s needs quickly and efficiently prevents issues from escalating into more complex problems, saving time in the long-run. Engagement of this type also enables a business to identify unmet custom, which can unearth unseen and unexpected revenue opportunities.

According to a Genesys Report entitled ‘The Cost of Poor Customer Service’, a customer lost to a competitor through a poor experience costs companies on average $289 each time. Keep getting it wrong and it will have a negative impact on your bottom line.

What customers regularly seek is service. Enabling them to get the most from their purchases will frequently require additional support. This can be in the form of assisting them to set-up a new product to ensure it works, or helping them adapt to a change in circumstances, such as a change of address. There are many opportunities to engage customers on a personal level through offering this kind of service.

However, operating a customer centric business model needs to be backed-up with policies, processes, and systems to make it real for the staff inside the organisation as well as the customers outside it. Customer centricity can also have the detrimental effect of leading to internal employee cynicism if it does not receive proper senior management focus and long term commitment.

A well run customer centric service offering not only allows the customer to be more successful in getting the most out of their purchase, but also increases the amount of overall satisfaction they feel for your organisation on a personal level. Once customers feel they have this they will be more willing to listen to further offers or to come to your business with additional needs. A good relationship is built on loyalty, value and trust.

Carefully designing the way in which you interact and engage with your customers, putting a customer centric model in place and putting their needs before your own, will build trust and loyalty and will without doubt pay dividends. Identifying how to engage at the right time and in the right manner will lead to increased levels of customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction is the best way to increase sales.

For more information visit www.Liveworkstudio.com

Ben Reason
Ben Reason is a service design consultant with 20 years experience with a wide range of public, and private sector organisations. As a founder of Livework he leads the London studio and team on projects that bring a customer view to major challenges and opportunities in industries ranging from healthcare and financial services, to public transport.


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