Written by Kushal Dev| Co-founder, Customer Guru
“Your website isn’t the centre of your universe. Your Facebook page isn’t the centre of your universe. Your mobile app isn’t the centre of your universe. The Customer is the centre of your universe.” ~ Bruce Ernst.
The customer is the king and has always been. Hence, it is become increasingly important for all businesses to understand his needs and keep him happy. While customer-centricity is an oft repeated phrase, not many organisations understand what it means. Of course, those who do are the successful ones.
How does one strategise their company culture such that it becomes more customer centric than product centric. Here are a few unmissable qualities that you must adopt to help you plan, promote and encourage a more customer-centric culture in your organisation.
They start with customer first, not product first
The one major factor that separates customer centric companies from the rest is that they start with the customer. They look at his needs and then build a product to solve problems rather than go the other way round. If you give customers something that they really need, they will stay with you forever. For example, let’s look at the very successful ride-hailing service Uber. It identified a customer need, used technology to make a brilliant product and the rest, as they say, is history. (Read our article on some amazing customer experience lessons that we can learn from Uber.)
Additionally, such companies always keep innovating to keep updated with the changing tastes of the customers. With a variety of surveys and customer feedback concepts, it’s no longer a challenge to gather information that lets you in on your customers inner most thoughts about your brand. But only collecting feedback is not enough. The trick is to act on this feedback and bring in innovative ideas to change product features or service levels. For example, Facebook expanded its ‘Safety Check’ feature to other parts of the world based on feedback from its users, a move that gained the respect and love of customers worldwide.
The management is sold to the idea of customer centricity
The senior management of such companies demonstrates a genuine commitment towards being customer oriented and it ensures that the same is ingrained in the employees. The management also ensures that every employee is aware and understands how his actions have an impact on the customers and the business. Also, the employees are encouraged to participate in decisions that better customer experiences.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, is known to be obsessive about the customers. He has literally baked customer centricity in every employee of ‘the Earth’s most customer centric company’.
They are easily accessible and responsive to customers
Such organisations value their customers and don’t miss any chance to interact with them. They are also cognizant of the fact that their customer base has different preferences, hence, they ensure they are available across channels. The information they share is also consistent across channels. Not just that, they have response teams across channels that are quick and empathetic to customer grievances.
Have a look at the Zappos website. Unlike a lot of other websites where you have to browse through for a good amount of time before you can finally locate a number, Zappos’ website has its customer care number on its home page! Isn’t that a beautiful way of being easily accessible to customers?
They have a very strong customer-focused vision
Every business has a vision and mission. While the vision focuses on what the business intents to be, a mission is how a company plans to reach that goal. It is then obvious that customer-centric companies have the customer at the heart of their business. However, having a customer-centric vision is only half the battle won. The vision is futile unless the leaders and the employees live and act by it. Additionally, everyone in the organisation – right from the top to the bottom is aware of these principles and stands by them.
Ritz-Carlton is one of the most customer centric companies in the world. Its motto is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.
Their employees are their biggest assets
Such companies truly believe that their employees are their biggest assets. They do all they can to empower, engage, retain and satisfy their employees. Firstly, such companies trust their employees to take decisions in the best interests of the customer, thus empowering the employees. Secondly, they provide all the necessary mentoring and training to ensure that the employees are equipped in the best possible ways to deal with customers. Thirdly, they recognise and reward their workforce for their performances. At the end of the day, it is the employees that can ensure a great customer experience, and such companies understand that.
It goes without saying that it is such qualities that separate these organisations from the lot. Customers love doing business with them and of course they create great shareholder value too! Are there any other qualities of such customer centric companies that we have missed? Do let us know!