Organizations that are future ready start with the end goal in mind and then consider bold moves to close the gap between business strategy and results (assumptions vs reality). Digital business requires organizations to adapt to customer demands and circumstances in real time and respond quickly to unexpected business events.
To move towards this direction, organizations must be ready to translate habits of customer centricity into a new set of improved actions to get on the fast track.
Best-In class organizations that exercise customer-centricity vouch for these common behaviors.
Customers provide businesses with information, both actively and passively. This information can be used to drive a successful CX. Several organizations use enterprise feedback management techniques to collect information. Surveys are sent out to customers and not much is done with the data. That's not really listening.
Instead multiple forms of listening grouped under Voice of Customer (VOC) strategies must be utilized to provide a holistic view of what customers are telling and also what they are telling through their actions. We’ve seen this expand into social media listening, expand into searching to see what our customers are saying about our products and services.
Are they talking about things that a product should do and is not doing? These are rather recommendations for improvements that we can pick from our customers.
Listening needs to go beyond traditional surveys, beyond net promoter score survey and needs to go to a mode called observation, watching what people do with our product.
Organizations with VOC programs collect feedback (direct or indirect) from multiple sources, customer perceptions and experiences and across all available touchpoints.
Customer relationship is about reciprocal feedback and customers will stop reaching out if they feel their feedback is not being heard. It is critical for organizations to develop a way to enable continuous, active submission of customer opinions and to ensure the feedback loop works.
Provide timely and relevant insights to help drive systematic CX improvements.
Being able to proactively anticipate customer needs requires organizations to dynamically explore business moments a.k.a. moments of truth as well as the inherent opportunities within the customer journey. It puts people at the center of all activity and helps customers to get what they need, when, where and how even if the customers are not sure of what they want.
Create positive CX by identifying proactive actions based on situational needs.
Empathy for the customer must be built into processes and policies right from the beginning. This demands focus on deep knowledge of the customer’s problems, proactivity in customer engagement, timely response to feedback, channel convenience for the customer all while being helpful, friendly and honest. Similarly, business rules must be defined with empathy in mind and the process owner must know how to translate that into a functional specification.
So how do we develop a culture of customer-centricity? This is where we need leaders to lead, have metrics that drive behavior helping customers to guide them through the outcome they want. As far as policies and processes are concerned, we should start with metrics of the employees, then we need metrics around quality as well as metrics around satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Leaders, managers and metrics should guide employees to this behavior and make them feel empowered to guide the customers to what they want in order to make them happy.
Culture is a success factor for customer experience. It can be built through consistency and metrics over time.
Customer-centric organizations have a habit of respecting customer data as much as they have a habit of using it to anticipate customer needs. This means not only adhering to regulations but also treating the data in a considerate manner by providing relevant assurances and security.
How to get on the path of building or maintaining a proper sense of trust? Trust, privacy and behavior go hand in hand. Trust develops through consistent behavior in terms of delivery of service or the product itself. It is important to get a true understanding of the business value and business potential of the data for generating insights and growth.
Privacy involves letting the customer know what we are doing with their data, how we are managing their data, being transparent about it and giving them control of it to make them decide how much they can trust.
Customer-centric organizations realize that knowledge flows both ways. Knowledge generated by organizations and customers should be shared as it improves efficiency, customer satisfaction and revenue growth. Customers want information that is relevant to them. The latest technology advancement on AI makes use of a blend of virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and human help in a seamless way to deliver knowledge in context of what a customer seeks.
Improved transmission of contextual knowledge to an employee or customer reduces response time, raises competency and satisfaction.
High levels of employee engagement contribute to higher levels of customer satisfaction and brand advocacy while organizations enjoy higher productivity and improved retention. Focus motivational techniques around key areas like hiring, onboarding, recognition, training methods, tools and work environment leading to empowerment.
In many ways, a culture of engaged employees is the essence of a customer-centric organization.
Establishing a compelling vision and developing a systematic approach to improvements leads to incremental increase in the maturity level of CX. To unleash its value creation power, CX organization must reach for and achieve increasing and evolving levels of CX maturity.
Organizations can move from fragmented initial CX initiatives to cross cutting programs that touch every part of the business.
It has been seen that responsibility for improving CX is spread across multiple departments/business units, sales, operations, marketing and planning. Coming up even with the best CX plan won't help if no one in the business is responsible for the execution. Some companies may not have the resources to designate a CX leader but that should not hinder from choosing a leader from among current managers.
CX Metrics can be a part of the organization’s KPIs covering as many aspects of quality, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy as possible to drive behavioral change.
Being adaptive in real time means being situationally aware of what's going on with the customers and being able to tune the services and products in real time to help them get the outcome. Organizations must quickly react to unexpected business events, allow decision makers to immediately understand the state of business, use real time analytics to make real time decisions all while absorbing large volumes of data “on the move”.
Organizations that are situationally aware using real time analytics of what the customer objective is; shaping the experience in real time are going to be the industry leaders of tomorrow.
The path to becoming future ready is not necessarily linear. Applying a strategic approach to transforming the digital business through technology, processes and people is critical. This is where the customer-centric habits come into play where aspirations and capabilities need to be aligned with people/employee and customer needs.