In recent years we have seen a shift in power move towards consumers. With access to social channels they have a large microphone to share their good and bad experiences and more market choice than every before. This has created a need for a new type of customer-focused company. Companies that aren’t focused on their customers will watch competitors enter their industry that disrupt them. This trend isn’t new, it is just moving faster now than it has in the past. Technology has enabled a world of new conveniences for customers in the purchase experience. It also has created complexity for businesses that now need to manage a multi-channel customer experience. So how do you become customer focused? Let me offer three simple suggestions that will create customer focus in your organization.
Understand Your Customer
To effectively serve your customer, you first need to understand them. From a macro-perspective, it is important to understand their likes, dislikes and major motivations for buying your product. From a more practical perspective you need to understand how they are interacting with your business. Are they shopping in store then buying online? Do they buy your product across multiple sales channels? What marketing campaigns do they respond too? Which campaigns don’t create the results you want? How are they interacting with you when they have a problem? What are the major issues they face when using your product? What are their most common customer service needs? These are just a few of the hundreds of potential questions a company can ask about their customer. Every business will need to answer a unique set of questions to most effectively understand their customer. Whatever the questions, it’s important for businesses to understand their customers motivations, behaviors and all company interactions.
Create a Relationship Your Customer
Once you understand your customer, it is now important to create a better relationship with them. Because you have taken the time to fully understand them across all sales channels and marketing campaigns, creating the right relationship with them won’t be difficult. A key factor in this is making sure that anyone who interacts with your customers understands all previous interactions. Everything from previous customer service interactions, purchase history, and previous marketing campaigns should be in a single system of record. This type of understanding gives context to the interaction and helps customers feel known. The other key factor in creating the right relationship relationship with your customer is presenting them with the right marketing messages. The more you can customize your marketing to the individual needs of your customers, through segmentation efforts, the better they will respond. This will result not only in a better relationship, but better ROI.
Cultivate a Culture of Gratitude
Cultivating a company-wide attitude of gratitude for your customers is a critical part of any corporate strategy. Genuine respect and appreciation go a long way to bread loyalty and increase brand value. When companies put gratitude for their customers as a core value and show it through world-class customer service, they look for ways to go above and beyond. Some of the best traditional examples are Zappos and Four Seasons. More recently there are some eCommerce businesses that have grown very quickly with a reputation of customer-focused culture. This includes companies like Warby Parker and Bonobos.
Whatever your business, becoming a customer-focused company will be a key to winning in today’s competitive commerce market!