With startups ready to disrupt traditional players, established firms need to form an even stronger bond with their customers instead of waiting for customers to reach out to them.
The traditional Customer Experience model—referred to as the “acquire what we make” model—is characterized by occasional interaction between the companies and the customers, once a customer ascertains her/his needs and looks for products or services to fulfill them. In this model, companies do all they can to offer quality products or services at a competitive price, while their marketing and operations are based only on brief engagement with the customers. Because of the occasional connection with the customer in this approach, the vendor has little knowledge of the difficulties a customer faces to procure a product or service.
With each passing day the tactics that organizations use to connect with their customers are undergoing rapid transformation. Technology and customized digital interactions provide companies the means to build deeper relationships with customers. Organizations pursuing Customer-centric Design, today, are addressing customers’ needs the moment they occur—or even before that by virtue of “Connected Customer Strategies.”
Connected Customer Strategies call for the companies to maintain customer relationships round the clock (24×7). These strategies demand from the organizations to develop an assortment of new capabilities (e.g., invest in Big data and Analytics), connect with the customers on a regular basis, track their activities, and offer customized experiences and offerings. These strategies are not about using modern technology, rather the methods companies should adopt by using technology in creating delightful experiences and long-standing associations with the customers.
There are 4 distinct Connected Customer Strategies that are instrumental in developing exceptional Customer Journeys:
- Fast Response
- Personalized Recommendations
- Proactive Recommendations
- Automatic Execution
Let’s discuss the first 2 strategies in detail now.
Organizational Leadership needs to carefully consider adopting the most suitable connected customer strategy. The Fast Response strategy, as the name suggests, is about prompt and flawless delivery of required services and products to the customers. To adopt Fast Response strategy, organizations need to ascertain the customer requirements carefully and simplify their purchasing process.
The core capabilities needed to implement this strategy include prompt delivery, minimal friction, flexibility, and precise execution. This strategy is appropriate for knowledgeable yet authoritative customers who dislike disclosing their personal information. Using this strategy, a prompt response to a customer needing replacement of a product should be a simple yet accurate, couple-of-click online ordering process and the order should be delivered a few hours later. The aim of the Fast Response strategy is to reduce the amount of time and energy the customers spend on procurement as much as possible.
Organizations using Personalized Recommendations strategy help customers identify their needs by presenting various options to them. The strategy involves active involvement of firms in assisting their customers by offering a menu of customized offerings—as soon as the customers have finalized their requirement but before their decision on how to fulfill it.
This strategy is suitable for customers who are willing to share their data with the company and value advice but still hold the final say. With the Personalized Recommendations strategy at work, the journey for a customer needing a product replacement could simply involve the customer’s visiting a company’s website, automatic suggestions to customer about the correct product based on her/his prior shopping history, the customer ordering the suggested product, and receiving the delivery a few hours later.
Interested in learning more about the other Connected Customer Strategies? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Customer Experience: Connected Customer Strategies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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The use of the internet and other online tools have turned consumers to be more empowered and are now shopping differently. Customers are becoming more demanding and accustomed to getting what they want. With greater access to reviews and online ratings, customers are better equipped to switch to new products and services. Consumers now want to buy products and services when, where, and however they like. They expect companies to interact with them seamlessly, in an easy, integrated fashion with very little friction across channels.
As customer expectation continues to evolve – accelerated by the amplifying forces of interconnectivity and technology – markets are becoming increasingly fragmented with demand for greater product variety, more price points, and numerous purchasing and distribution channels.
Companies should be able to adapt to these increasingly disparate demands quickly and at scale. Staying close to the customer experience across an increasingly diverse customer base changing over time is no longer a matter of choice. It is a business imperative and a matter of corporate survival.
The Age of the Customer now calls for companies to be a customer-centric company. Successful ones have discovered that building a customer-centric company depends, first and foremost, on building a customer-centric culture.
The Case for Customer-centricity
In the Age of the Customer, business as usual is not enough. Customers expect companies to interact with them seamlessly. Customers want companies to anticipate their needs and technology must have lowered barriers to entry to allow unorthodox competitors to disrupt markets.
The Age of the Customer has made it imperative for companies to have a customer-centric culture. A customer-centric culture can empower and control employee behavior. It is a culture that prioritizes the common understanding, sense of purpose, emotional commitment, and resilience. It is a culture where leaders and employees understand the company’s brand promise. Finally, and most importantly, a customer-centric culture is a culture that is committed to delivering exceptional customer experience.
Companies with a customer-centric culture must integrate, within its core, primary and secondary cultural attributes essential to complete its customer-centric culture framework.
The Corporate Culture Framework: Its Primary and Secondary Cultural Attributes
In a corporate culture framework, the primary cultural attributes are critical in building a customer-centric culture. It also has 4 Secondary Cultural Attributes to complete that transformation.
The 4 Primary Cultural Attributes
- Collective Focus
This is a shared vision articulated on what it means to deliver great customer service. Significant resources are devoted to communicating the customer value and all employees understand their role in delivering value.
- External Orientation
External Orientation is having a full understanding of the company through the customer’s eyes. Outside-in perspectives are taken, seeing themselves as customers see them.
- Change and Innovation
In Change and Innovation, the corporate value system is in place that values failing fast and learning quickly. The notion that mistakes are learning opportunities is embedded in the organization.
- Shared Beliefs
Shared Beliefs is an attribute where employees share a common ideology and commitment to core values. The company strongly encourages strong service mentality and the desire to help others.
The 4 Secondary Cultural Attributes
- Risk and Governance
In Risk and Governance, the company must have a strong collective focus and shared beliefs about the boundaries of acceptable risk and appropriate behavior.
A customer-centric culture with this secondary attribute has the resilience to bounce back when things don’t go as planned.
Commitment is the third secondary attribute where employees show dedication to the customer-centric ethos.
Inclusion, the fourth secondary attribute, is one attribute that reinforces values diversity, authenticity, and uniqueness.
Inculcating these attributes has become imperative to achieve a successful transformation towards a customer-centric culture. Organizations just need to master the necessary practices to instill these attributes and the essential reinforcement to ensure that it is sustained.
Interested in gaining more understanding of Customer-centric Culture? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Customer-centric Culture here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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