2022 is the year of customer support and experience. No longer do customers base their loyalty just on the products or services you offer. They expect great experiences, especially in support scenarios.
When CX is on point, your customers become your best advocates. They share their positive experiences with others.
However, when CX falls short, even the most loyal of customers will look elsewhere. In fact, 80% of customers base their decision on whether or not to do business with you, based on their support experience.
Just like other aspects of your growth strategy, creating the right experience for your customers is equally important. To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to prioritize the customer experience.
Customer Centricity Matters: a Chat with Pleo's CEO
All businesses have specific metrics they use to measure success.
Some focus solely on net retention while others might include conversion rates and customer lifetime value. While both of these metrics are important, not every business includes customer centricity into their KPIs.
Defining the Customer Experience
Think about a time when you had a poor customer experience with a company:
It’s probably safe to say you didn’t feel valued as a customer. Customer experience is how your customers feel when they interact with your business.
It’s these interactions that make them feel like they had a positive or negative experience. It’s also within these interactions that customers decide whether they want to continue doing business with you.
What is Customer Centricity?
In its simplest form, customer centricity is about putting customers first. Their overall satisfaction should be the motivation for every business move you make.
But being a customer-centric company is more than keeping your customer in mind. It’s about creating a growth strategy in which every member of your team understands your customers, especially your customer support team.
Since they’re the ones who most often interact with customers, it’s imperative that they understand your users needs, and how to best serve them.
When done correctly, it creates meaningful experiences and long-lasting relationships.
Businesses that take customer centricity seriously also take the necessary steps to understand their customers and then use that understanding to create a powerful culture.
Customer centricity should be engrained in your company culture, as well as used as a strategy. Before it’s recognized by the customer, it needs to resonate with every member of your team and be genuine.
Most businesses are product centric. They typically focus on net revenue retention and increasing their market share.
And while there’s nothing wrong with this, per se, not focusing the experience of your users simply doesn’t work any longer.
The competition is fierce. In fact, customers today have more options than ever, which means they have higher expectations than ever.
What is Customer Centricity in SAFe?
SAFe - or Scaled Agile Framework - is a framework for business agility. In other words it's a framework to help teams improve their business in any aspect by leveraging responsiveness and design thinking.
When it comes to building a customer centric company, different factors play a role: empathy, processes, data analysis and ultimately the ability to collect customer insights and translate them into actions, whether that's product improvements, changes in your communication channels, improvements on how you onboard customers, or anything else.
While putting yourself in your customer's shoes starts with the right mindset, frameworks like SAFe can help larger organizations achieve that.
Why Customer Centricity is Important
Customer centricity drives repeat-purchases, and returning customers are worth 10 times more as their initial purchase.
It’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers, than it is to maintain the ones you already have.
Negative repercussions from poor customer experiences don’t stop when that one customer decides to take their business elsewhere.
Impact of Poor Customer Experiences
In today’s digitally driven landscape, good news travels fast. Unfortunately, bad reviews can travel even faster, opening the door for lost revenue.
Collectively, businesses lose over $62 billion dollars each year due to negative interactions with customer service reps. What’s worse is that 91% of customers who experience poor customer service will leave and never let the business know what transpired.
Here are some ways to be more customer centric:
Hire The Right People
Businesses who create customer-centric experiences invest in their teams. Quality customer support begins with hiring the right people and empowering them with the right tools.
Hiring the right people is only step one though, the culture of your business should be enforced every day, and every person on your team should have a customer experience mindset. Even if they don’t hold customer-facing roles.
Your customer support team is your first point of contact with both happy and unhappy customers. It is often also the first point of contact for new potential customers.
This puts them in a unique position to deliver the best experience for both new and existing users of your products.
During this period of growth, you need to identify the availability of customer support processes:
● Pertinent customer information
● Number of service requests per support specialists
As your business continues to grow, you need the the resources to tackle large-scale issues, without making customers jump through hoops to contact you, and without wasting time on back and forth conversations between users and agents.
Invest In CX Initiatives
As a business, you’re expected to deliver a top-quality customer experience at every touchpoint. Similar to an omni-channel marketing strategy, you need to invest in your CX initiatives the same way.
Analyze Business Objectives
Depending on the market and your previous year’s net revenue rate, your business objectives will change. Analyze your current customer experience strategy and look for areas that can help you achieve this year’s goals.
You also need to answer the following questions:
● Where does the company stand in terms of customer centricity?
● Are there identifiable gaps between customer expectations and the actual experience?
● How can we improve customer support processes?
● What new technology can be implemented to improve the customer experience?
Once you know the answers, you’ll be able to tailor the customer experience even more.
Ask For Feedback
Your customers’ opinions are important; so much so that not knowing them can negatively impact your ROI.
According to Bain & Company, 80% of businesses believe they provide customer-centric experiences, although only 8% of customers agree.
Feedback is the best way to determine where your business falls on the spectrum. Within a customer-centric strategy, you need to use real-time feedback to close the gap.
Utilize immediate post-interaction feedback to gauge customer satisfaction. Have your customer support team ask specific questions that rate their level of engagement and performance overall.
You should also keep your customers in the loop when issues they flagged have been resolved.
Create Problem-Solving Solutions
Your customer support team is the foundation for your customer experience strategy. They’re the ones who deliver quick solutions to customers who’re looking for help.
As mentioned previously, they need the right tools to do their job efficiently. There are a variety of tools you can use to build their problem-solving tool belt.
Live chat options are one of the fastest tools for customer support. It gives both customers and your team instant access to connect and get to the root of the problem.
If necessary, chats can transform into video for more technical problems, or they can be rerouted to senior customer support agents for more complex issues.
When problems are of a technical nature, technical support engineers will be looped in. Oftentimes, they lack the proper context and information to tackle the issue effectively.
Video and co-browsing tools that offer more context into the user's side make a huge difference in how efficiently a support agent can resolve the problem.
Focus on NRR
If you’re a SaaS provider, net retention rate, (NRR), is one of the most important success metric you need to focus on.
By tracking your NRR, you can analyze and compare revenue-based take on customer retention efforts.
Even if you have established a customer centric culture, teams outside of your support function can easily end up neglecting the customer experience when silos build over time.
Everyone at your company should understand what good customer experience, and support is. If everyone involved understands what the importance of customer support is, you can drive up customer satisfaction through every interaction your customer has with your company.
Let’s say you’ve implemented the above methods. Now, you need a way to gauge whether or not they’ve been effective. Similar to analyzing marketing data, you need to set specific benchmarks.
Even if you’re positive you’ve implemented a more customer-centric strategy, you still need to wait for the data to come in. In addition, changes within a company also need to be analyzed after specific time periods as well.
In order to thrive in today’s businesses needs to embrace a more customer-centric approach.
Customer support, in particular, plays a huge role in overall customer satisfaction. And while customer centricity and customer experience do impact one another, they aren’t the same.
In addition, while assigning specific team members the task of training and creating a more customer-centric strategy is expected, to be successful, it needs to be a company-wide effort.
Saying your business is going to be more customer centric isn’t enough. The actions you take and overall retention rate is proof that you put customer satisfaction first.