A bad customer experience is one of the biggest annoyances in our society today.
Okay, I don’t want to exaggerate, but we all know the world would be a little better if customer experiences were just great by default.
Nothing pisses me off more than looking for a support desk phone number. After all, you are already quite frustrated because the product does not do what it does and then it also takes effort to get things back on track.
I can cite dozens of examples of poor customer service. From the salesperson at an undisclosed large furniture chain who would laugh at his customers behind their backs (years ago, but no way I’ll ever step foot over that store’s doorstep again) to automatic answering systems asking me my question and couldn’t understand me.
Come on, I may have an accent, but it’s not that bad, is it?
In short: everything could be a bit better. Steam-connect wants every company to deliver a great customer experience and we are fighting frustrations in society. We do this by delivering a great product, but also by giving tips and inspiration.
Today I will discuss a customer-oriented business mentality. Because I bet you can do even better?
Customer-oriented, is that really customer-oriented?
Customer-oriented, Customer First, Customer-Centric: you have many names for it, but it comes down to the same thing: you place the customer at the center of every business decision.
The pandemic has made customers even more demanding and has accelerated the importance of a good customer experience. Companies are increasingly realizing that the impact of a customer experience on business performance is truly gigantic.
JHe also sees that trends are increasingly shifting towards a more customer-oriented business. Companies that successfully apply it are no longer passively engaged with their customers, but actively listen to what customers have to say.
When you actively interact with your customers, you are able to anticipate their needs. You are continuously working on meeting expectations and that ensures that customers commit to you for a long time. And that just yields euros, of course.
At a time when competition is fierce and a customer has outlandish expectations, customer centricity is something that should be at the top of every organization’s agenda.
But how do you get such a customer-oriented business mentality?
We are continuously engaged in customer contact and see that there is a great need to implement a customer-oriented mentality.
What should you do most? The following:
Listen to your customers
If you want to create a customer experience that matters, you need to be able to get inside the mind of your customers. And that goes beyond simply sending out surveys and calling customers for feedback.
To really understand your customers, you need to establish transparent and honest communication. Your customers need to feel free to share their stories and desires with you, and you need to recognize opportunities and turn them into action.
A 360-degree customer view is therefore essential.
I recommend that you give your customers a choice when it comes to communication channels. Ask them how they prefer to communicate with you and provide an omnichannel customer experience to meet different needs.
By giving your customers more choice, you are able to provide a seamless experience at all times. That’s customer-oriented!
You should of course put that collected feedback to good use. It can help you to identify points in your products and services that need improvement. Plus, you gain some empathy and learn to better understand your customers outside of the purchase process as well.
You can also use other data to better understand your buyer persona:
- Purchase and customer service history
- Billing information
- Social media data
- Loyalty Programs
- Zero party data
It is important that you share all this information with all your teams and departments. This way you can compare information, exchange ideas and stimulate innovation within your company.
To deliver an exceptional customer experience, your entire organization needs to be aware of who your customers are and what their journey is.
However, a persona is much more than a collection of data. It is important that you turn them into fictional characters. Give them a name, age, occupation and family status.
It’s basically like having an imaginary boyfriend.
Personalize your customer experience
There is nothing better than a company that really knows a customer. Or at least fake it right. Personalization is something that’s really really cool and it goes beyond optimizing your customer journey, because you’re now going to focus on individual experiences.
Meeting customer expectations is becoming increasingly complex and attracting new customers costs money. So you better keep your customers.
Organizations that don’t provide a seamless experience for customers who switch between channels or between departments (“Can you repeat your question?”) are really sidelining themselves. You’re just sabotaging your own sales and it also affects your reputation. The fact is, people are more likely to share a bad experience than a good one.
Personalization has a direct influence on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and therefore on your profit. A staggering 68% of consumers say personalized experiences are key to their satisfaction, so don’t take personalization lightly. It really is a significant part of being customer oriented.
Just make excellent the standard
A customer-oriented mindset is not a one-time action. It’s a long-term strategy.
Only by continuously supporting your customers and offering them the best possible solutions, you can build a relationship based on transparency and trust.
Cherish all the results and initiatives that came from the previous steps. Customer focus is much more than just a part of your portfolio. It spreads throughout your organization and affects your performance.
Hands-on tips to be more customer-oriented
Anyway, what can you do now to become more customer-oriented?
- Set up and disseminate your mission and vision. In your organization and beyond. Your customers need to know what you stand for and how you operate, so say it loud and clear. This way you make transparency, trust and customer focus the center of your every action, and your customers will appreciate that.
- Also put your employees in the center. Customer centricity is not just about customers. It is a mentality that also means that you take the well-being of your employees into account. They are on the front line, meet customers and carry out your initiatives. To do that, they need to feel empowered every step of the way. So don’t just focus on your customers – always think about your employees and choose a holistic CX mindset from the start.
A truly customer-oriented organization is one where everyone pursues the same goal: a perfect customer experience. That starts with your employees. When they are frustrated, they take it out on your customers.
Ensure an optimal working climate and organize processes optimally for your employees.
- Use the right KPIs & tools. Make sure you use the right KPIs and metrics. Always keep in mind that you should focus on customer numbers, not profit. Collect customer feedback, analyze it, and track performance metrics. This approach will enable you to better understand your customers and provide the right solutions when needed. Also read this article about setting up the best reports .
Don’t forget your tools either. We live in the 21st century and automation has become the norm. Use software to have all your customer data in the right place and let your employees work more efficiently.
Time is also money, something many companies still forget.
What will you do to become customer-oriented?
It is not easy to change your organizational culture overnight. Do it in steps. Start with your own people and work your way out slowly.
Would you like to discuss a customer-oriented business strategy? Please contact my sales colleagues. They see different organizations every day and know better than anyone how to turn customers into fans