When I think about an organizational Customer-Centric thinking to deliver delightful customer experiences, I try and use an analogy. And the analogy that I’d like to use is clothing and a department store / retailer. And you realize that in that retail store itself are a number of employees who are there trying to help you with their customer service. Customer-centric experience is a little bit different from the standpoint as it happens way away from that brick-and-mortar. Customer-centric thinking really focuses on:
What are all the processes and the procedures?
What are the decisions that are made every single day as an employee that’s going to have an impact on that customer?
It’s a filter that everybody behind the brick and mortar need to have in order for those processes and the procedures to be focused very specifically on the customer.
Our economy is a consumer led economy. Things are happening faster than they ever have before, thanks to the next-gen wave of technologies and consumerization of products driven by a generational demand for digitization. Social media is creating a frenzy of feedback; instant feedback at the fingertips of every millennial consumer. So, when you think about why customer-centric experience is so important, you have the opportunity to be able to define for yourself what the consumer and what the customer is going to experience.
It really begins with intentionality. It has to be something that people are waking up every day thinking about the customer, worrying about the customer, and realizing that all the decisions they’re going to make during that day are going to be focused on that customer experience that’s happening. And so when you think about Customer-Centric Experience and how it happens, there are really three things that every employee needs to be doing:
See opportunities to make it better for the customer. You need to be able to see the opportunities through your customer’s lens. What are those things that are happening whether it’s in your function, in your role, or in the entire organization?
The second thing that you would need to do is take ownership of the opportunity. They have to be accountable for them. They have to see that it is their responsibility to get those opportunities accomplished.
Then the third piece is you can do something about it; do something to take action on the opportunity. Whether it’s you physically doing it or whether you are leading a group that will do it, you need to be able to take those actions. You need to be able to do something specific around the opportunities because you know you own them, so that the customer experience can be intentional.
Customer-centric culture is a state of mind, a cross-company methodology, a true desire to have satisfied customers, and deep understanding of your customers. Listen to your customers, internalize processes and strive for continuous improvements, plan and make sure all groups understand they work for the customers, build and implement a trustworthy relationship with your customers, and most importantly never underestimate your customers.