Customer centricity seems to be a word that’s on the tips of everyone’s tongues these days – and rightly so. The idea of putting the customer at the centre of activity has been around since the 1960s (marketing guru Lester Wunderman is often credited with this), but has gained a significant amount of traction in recent years as customers become more empowered and their expectations grow as a result.
The Last Temptation of Your (Former) Customer
One of the key drivers of customer centricity in recent years has been quite simply that customers have more choice, and thus expect more. It’s a big reason why organisations are now shifting to modern human centred methodologies, like ‘Design Thinking’
Previous years there was a limited ability for customers to research, or switch providers. Today’s customers are empowered and informed – with a simple ‘ok Google’ or ‘hey Siri’ they are able to have almost any question answered; a few clicks more and they can do anything from researching your product to switching to a competitor.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO AWS.
There’s no more hiding behind flashy marketing – if your product is bad, people will find out about it very quickly – and move away just as quickly.
Is Customer Centricity embedded into your organisation’s DNA? Benchmark yourself and receive real time recommendations for improvement, across various levels for customer experience
So does this mean that companies are left to grapple with ever increasing an unrealistic customer demands? Most certainly not!
Today’s customer is listening to their peers, researching heavily online and posting complaints on social media – changing everything business owners thought they knew about customer relationships. They’re talking to one another and referring companies that provide something more important than mere product – a good customer experience. And most importantly they’re paying more to ensure this.
The services and experiences offered by companies like Google, Apple, Spotify and a host of others show customers what is possible, and they like what they see. Nimble players in the market are the ones capitalising on this, leveraging the newest technologies, unhindered by legacy systems.
These technologies have turned traditional channels on their heads, making most company’s organizational structures (especially those arranged via channels) outdated and, thus, in need of rethinking.
Dial C for Customer
Getting the company to rally around a customer is not easy by any means – that there are only a few organisations that truly delight, inspire and turn us into advocates demonstrates this. It is especially challenging for businesses that have matured and are organised around their products (i.e are product centric). It is also difficult when the company’s executives are incentivised as individuals or operate in silos.
To improve customer satisfaction and customer experience, change is needed, and as always needs to start with a first step. The move to customer centricity is, in many ways, more of a journey than a destination – achieving improvement in customer experience requires focus on all areas of the organisation including people, processes, structure, strategy & systems. But fostering the long-term customer loyalty that comes with delighting customers is, not only more meaningful for both staff and customers in itself, it is more profitable.
You now have the reasons why it's so important to become customer centric. If you’re wondering whether you have the necessary organisational culture to deliver truly customer centric customer experiences, then try this ‘benchmarking tool’. Within minutes, you will have a clear picture of where you rank on the essential elements to becoming customer centric.