Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
We are fortunate enough to be in an era where we have (and had) some of the most customer centric and visionary business leaders like Jeff Bezos, Tony Hsieh and Steve Jobs. These leaders have really recognised their customers’ needs and have been able to deliver the best customer experience. Customer centricity has been the key to their long lasting success.
If there is something that the most successful business leaders have repeatedly stressed upon, it is customer experience. In all of their business and technology innovation, customer has been at the centre stage and delivering exceptional customer experience has been their only goal. We have also shared inspiring customer experience lessons from business leaders around the world:
Interestingly, there is a strange commonality between what these business leaders have to say about customer experience! All of these super successful business leaders tell us to:
Understand our customers
The very first step in a business should be to know your customer. Understand the needs and requirements of the customer very clearly. Steve Jobs has been famously quoted, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it and I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I’ve got the scars to prove it.” Once you get a hold of the customer experience, you can easily recognise what is wrong with your product and what can be done to improve it. Many Amazon employees — from entry-level workers to board-level executives — are asked to attend two days of call centre training. The goal is simple: make certain that everyone in the company, not just those in the customer facing role, are committed to listening to, understanding, and acting on the needs of customers.
Building relationship with your customer is key to growth of your business. A good relationship means you are always available to listen to your customers and solve their problems on priority. Try to create personalised solutions. Good customer relationship helps not only in repeat business but also in word of mouth publicity. Bezos once said. “If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.” The same goes for happy customers too! At Zappos, unlike in most other call centres, call times are not measured. Generally, most other service centres measure the time in order to maximise the number of calls an executive can take; thus increasing resource utilisation. But at Zappos, what matters is an executive creating an emotional bond with the customer. And the result is 75% of the purchases of Zappos comes from repeat customers!
Think long term and invent
Before you make a product think ahead what your customer’s needs would be in the coming time. Steve Jobs always used to think ahead of his time. Nobody would have thought of the need of a device like iPod that would revolutionise the way people experienced music. The customer doesn’t know what he needs or will need, it is you who has to interpret it. In the words of Jeff Bezos, “You need to listen to customers, they won’t tell you everything. You need to invent on their behalf. Kindle, EC2 would not have been developed if we did not have an inventive culture.”
Customer centricity is without a doubt a great strategy to build a sustainably successful business. Every organisation around the world is transforming itself from a product/services focused company to a customer focused company. Have you started that journey yet?