Customer-Centric Enterprises Will Win in the Future

There was a time when a Ford car was available only in black because that was the car the manufacturer was producing. The idea that a customer should have a say in the colour of a car he owns was laughable. Cut to the 21st century where companies are anticipating, innovating and delivering customer value even before the customer has thought to ask for it. Take smartphones for example. Owing to the selfie trend, smartphones are working hard to improve the quality of their front cameras. Any technological advancement, in fact, can find root in the need to answer the question ‘How do I make this simpler to match customer expectations?’ The balance of power and purchase has definitely shifted to the consumer. But the fight with so many brands working in the same space and providing the same products is not so much in customer satisfaction but in customer centricity – is a brand able to delight its customer? Is it able to convert online shopping for example into a memorable customer experience?

Source: Deloitte

Centricity vs. Satisfaction
Customer centricity goes a step further than customer satisfaction. A simple question can help you differentiate. When you are looking for customer satisfaction, you ask the question – How are we doing? When you are customer centric, you ask the question – What my consumer needs?

Essentially centricity is your reason for providing satisfaction across platforms – offline (product, service) and online (social media, website, apps).

Every enterprise knows that customer is key, then why aren’t more companies talking about it? Its because centricity isn’t a marketing gimmick. It is a reorientation of what your enterprise stands for and to incorporate customer centricity into its DNA. For this to happen,

  1. Internal forces need to be aligned before you can deliver to external stakeholders. How do you do this? By measuring stakeholder journeys across a range of touchpoints
  2. Health of your business processes i.e. How do your touchpoint owners measure and act on customer sentiment.
  3. Close the feedback loop by driving continuous improvement through actionable insights

Why should you care?
Delivering without being asked, delighting the customer and good intentions to serve better each day, all form a part of an agile customer centricity approach. By keeping your customer in the centre of all your decision-making, you are able to:

  1. Find growth opportunities you may have otherwise missed, unique product or service offerings that address a specific pain-point and innovating processes that can reduce time spent between purchase and delivery.
  2. Create unique customer experiences that go above and beyond a simple purchase and sale transaction. Here is where lays the key to creating brand loyalists and advocates who do the marketing for you by recommending you to a friend or family thanks to the superior experience they have had.
  3. Grow your satisfied customer base and improve your market share using a competitive advantage that is intangible.

Food for thought
“When you treat employees like rock stars, they will treat your customers like rock stars.”
– Shep Hyken

Internal and external customers are equally important to drive business growth and centricity. Your recipe for maximizing revenue and profits should be a right mix of processes, policies, attitudes and decisions.