Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru
There is more to customer centricity than just an ‘outside-in’ approach.
Most customer centric leaders believe that to become truly customer centric, an organisation needs to start looking ‘outside-in’. That is to say:
Start with the customer always!
However, building a customer centric organisation requires more than that. Organisations need to inculcate certain customer centric behaviours in the employees first. I call it the ‘inside-in’ perspective. It requires an organisation to build 5 basic customer centric employee behaviours. We’ve abbreviated these behaviours as OPACE. Here’s what it stands for:
O – ownership
One of the most important customer centric behaviour is taking ownership of getting things done. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than when told something will be fixed and it never happening. Indeed, the ownership of resolving a customer’s issue does not rest with just the front line employees, it is the responsibility of each and every person in the organisation.
When everybody takes ownership, an organisation delivers exceptional customer experience.
P – patience
Patience is a virtue, they say. It is one of the biggest assets when it comes to dealing with customers. In another post: Bye, Bye, Bye @Starbucks!!, Kushal writes about this particular incidence at a Starbucks where the store manager lost control and started screaming at a customer. This might be an extreme case, and clearly there must be something wrong with the store manager.
Understandably, at times employees have to face rude disgruntled customers and it’s easy to lose control in such situations. But the best way to deal with disgruntled customers is by behaving patiently, apologising, and committing to resolving the issue; not blaming the customer or screaming back!
A – active listening
Employees need to look up from their scripts, computer screens, or mobile phones and listen attentively. Do not jump to conclusions or be too eager to offer a known solution without hearing out the customer. More wrong is done by offering a solution that the customer doesn’t need.
C – clear communication
Prompt and frank communication is key to building trust with customers. In the age of social media and omni channel customer relationship management, communication plays a vital role in building a customer centric organisation. It is extremely frustrating for a customer to raise a complaint and not hear from anyone for days.
Ensure that employees are adept at using social media channels to deal with customer concerns. Along with omni-channel marketing and sales strategy, build an omni-channel customer support strategy too.
E – empathy
Last but certainly not the least, employees should empathise with customers. Customers are human too!
Employees need to remember that they too are a customer at some point each day. Therefore, they should always think from the customers side and do what is best for them.
What other customer centric behaviours do you propagate in your organisation? I would love to hear your feedback and comments.