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22 Feb 2017

Is Your Business Focusing on Customer-centricity?

Does your business focus on your customers? A customer centric business is a model that provides a positive customer experience throughout the sales life cycle, from purchase decision to the after-sales. Improving your customer relations is the key to driving repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.

Being a customer-centric business means more than simply being nice to customers. It’s about creating a company culture that understands your brand value and delivers it consistently to all customers, focusing on their values, expectations and aligning that with your overall business strategy and brand promise.

Meeting Customer Expectations

In the digital era, improving customer service has become synonymous with improving the overall interaction experience, regardless of the industry. Customer relationship management is an intrinsic part of this equation as consumers become more fluent with technologies they own, use and access.

Access to tools such as apps, mobile devices and real-time customer services has only increased the demand for good service. With access to brands via social media, customers can voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction about products or services, demanding answers quickly in front of an audience.

Being customer-centric is the only way to cope with the increasing communication channels online. Businesses must be willing to be reached, and respond, to the customers where they’re communicating, whether it’s Facebook, email, or in real life.

Customer-centric Companies Must Be Reachable Everywhere

Reaching customers where they’re at sounds like a channel, but it’s important to acknowledge that this is the new way of life for retail. Customers interact with businesses in a number of ways, and they often use more than one channel to make their purchase decisions. Customers don’t simply shop on or offline — they often do both. They may go to a store to try out merchandise and then buy it on the website, or ask a question about it using Twitter. Other customers may buy their product online but want it shipped to a local retailer. Many digital natives have no problem using their mobile devices to compare prices, products and even make inquiries to retailers. Today’s customer is truly part of an omnichannel purchasing process. This means that a customer-centric retailer must make themselves available in a myriad of ways, or their competition could easily leave them behind.

Listen to the Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Obtaining and understanding the voice of the customer (VoC) is critical to becoming a customer-centric company. In fact, your future customer loyalty depends on how well you’re communicating with the customer and meeting their needs when it comes to the retail experience. Having an unresponsive customer service account on social media or a Facebook page that’s updated once a week just won’t cut it when you’re trying to make every communication channel available to your customers.

To put the customer first, your business needs to give VoC priority in your relationship management. Gathering VoC data from your website, social media accounts, and other places your customers frequent can lend unique insight. By using this data, you can analyze sales trends and customer patterns, and plot a course to success for your business to grow.

You Don’t Need a Huge Staff to Be Customer-Centric

Customer-centricity doesn’t necessarily mean you need a person in your office to answer every query or solve every problem instantaneously. It means you need to offer the right tools to customers so they can resolve issues, whether that tool is a live person or a troubleshooting app.

Millennials and digital natives often take to mobile devices with a do-it-yourself mentality. They don’t mind putting the footwork in, but they need to know what to do and how to do it. The trend toward self-service saves businesses both time and money, and it benefits the customer relationship tremendously. After all, when you’re doing it yourself, you’re often not worried about hold times. You’re concentrating on simply getting the task done, and that, in itself, is a reward for many customers.

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