Six ways to focus on customer centricity during the coronavirus

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The coronavirus has pushed us to new heights and allowed us to reevaluate our bases.

For example, operations teams have been focused on internal processes, with KPIs generally around improving efficiency and reducing overall business costs. The customer was an afterthought to the organization’s internal goals.

However, today the true north for operations is customer experience – being empathetic to how your business tools and internal processes impact your overall customers’ experience. Operations should focus on improving the process for employees and how to remove barriers to adoption for customers.

One trend I’ve been seeing is a centralized BI tool to gather insights from various channels, so it’s not just marketing intelligence, support intelligence, or product intelligence, it’s customer intelligence end to end.

Customer centricity is the heartbeat to an economy in the middle of a pandemic. For any business tackling its focus on customers, good for you. Here are a few pointers to keep handy.

Focus on personalizing experiences to the customer.
According to Accenture, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. Customers use an average of 4-6 touch points when making a purchase. They expect their experience of a brand to be consistent across channels, so delivering a consistent message using omnichannel delivery is a vital trend to help build positive customer experiences. Other modern trends, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), personalization engines, and improved chatbots are all helping deliver a positive experience for customers that builds loyalty and long-term relationships.

Understand the journey.
IMO, it’s essential to consider the customer experience from beginning to end. You need to have a consistent, guided experience from the first touch point, through the sales process, onboarding, maintenance, and support, and even through to an exit. This means departmental alignment for enablement and driving a consistent customer experience. Your leadership team needs to align with and help champion the customer-centric strategy to be successful.

From a software product perspective, it’s crucial to be able to innovate to stay relevant, but keep in mind that without customers, you won’t have a business to run. Just because you think it’s impressive, doesn’t mean people will use it. It’s important to consider a customer engineering team to continue to deliver on client requests in parallel with innovation.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself out of opportunity.
One of the biggest challenges of being overly customer centric to a specific customer is that you might customize your platform or solution to fit only the needs of that marquee customer base. You’ve now eliminated 90% of your market share because you’ve become so niche. It’s vital to stay focused on the original intent of your business before you consider changing course to retain your top clients. Although important, there are other ways you can support your clients’ needs without building one-off features. For example, you might implement an extensible framework or bring in a partner network to help fast track initiatives. Customer first doesn’t apply to one customer you need to look outside the box and find ways to help them do it better.

Remind yourself of the benefits of customer centricity.
Retention — If you have support across the entire organization to keep the customer experience in mind, you’ll see higher customer retention overall.

Better Product — No one knows your product better than your customers who live and breathe it daily. It’s crucial to consider continuous customer feedback as part of your product development lifecycle while keeping it in check with your primary goals and initiatives.

Customer Advocacy — When you’re doing your Amazon shopping, what’s the first thing you do? You go straight to the reviews section to see if it’s even worth your time to review the actual product information and specs. The same goes for trying a new restaurant, you check Yelp to see what the real customer experience was for customers. Happy customers + positive public feedback = an increase in pipeline. If you have a poor customer experience, you won’t have any customer advocates to spread your praise.

Learn from the evolution and its impact of customer centricity over the last decade.
We have a lot more information to track in today’s world with the various tools in the market. This data allows customer success, marketing, and your sales team to interact with a more personalized touch vs. a cold outreach that would result in lower conversion rates.

What people do tells you a lot more than what people say. You could get on the phone and hear from your advocate that we love your product, it’s great, but then go into the analytics and see that there is a considerable lack of adoption across the organization. That’s an indicator of risk that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen from just a phone conversation.

The insights of today might also pave the way for expansion. You may see that a new team is trying out the platform in a new geographical region. This could be a part of your expansion team’s playbook, where you set alerts for geo and do some warm outreach.

There are a lot of software platforms out there that can help make sense of all the various data streams for insights on customer interactions. Everything has an API now, which means you can likely connect it to a BI tool or even a customer-focused platform like Gainsight, ChurnZero, or Vitally. Having insights and the ability to react in realtime has dramatically improved overall customer experience management, allowing companies to engage customers at the right time.

Remember customer centricity differs between generations.
Personalization can be scary to the non-digital age customers. There are different levels of information that people are willing to provide. Post-digital generations are more familiar with providing information. In the end, they all want the same thing, the personalized sales pitch, with specific recommendations, when generic, it’s less valuable.

In terms of consumable enablement materials, there is a difference from generation to generation. Customers of yesterday wanted thorough documentation and lengthy articles to comprehend information. An organization would focus heavily on formal documentation. There’s been a shift to more video content in today’s world. Customers want instant gratification because their time is valuable, so getting content in a quick and easy consumable fashion is preferred.

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