2023 is the year of customer support and experience. Customer centricity is a business philosophy that puts customers' needs at the center of all company decisions. This might mean designing products that solve real customer problems, developing marketing campaigns that speak to customer interests, or creating an overall experience that is easy and enjoyable for customers. Ultimately, customer centricity aims to create long-term relationships with customers by providing them with value.
This focus on the customer might seem like common sense, but it's actually a relatively new way of doing business. In the past, companies have tended to focus on their own needs and goals without considering how customers might be impacted. But as competition has increased and customers have become more demanding, businesses have had to adapt their approach.
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.
Today, customer centricity is a key driver of success, and companies that fail to put their customers first are at risk of losing out to the competition. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about customer centricity, including what it is, why it's so essential for your company, and solutions you can use to make your business more customer-centric.
Customer centricity matters: a chat with Pleo's CEO
What is customer centricity?
Customer centricity is an approach to business that puts a huge emphasis on creating positive customer experience at every stage of their journey — from pre-purchase to purchase to post-purchase and beyond.
Adopting this mindset is important because creating meaningful and positive experiences for customers is one of the leading drivers of customer loyalty. 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, this 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, not focusing on 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. That's why it's crucial for every company to take this seriously and take steps to become more customer-centric.
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 is it important to be customer centric?
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. And negative repercussions from poor customer experiences don’t stop when that one customer decides to take their business elsewhere.
Here are all the reasons customer centricity is so important:
- It helps drive repeat purchases
- It ensures you're meeting the needs of your customers
- It attracts new customers
- It enhances brand image and reputation
- It improves product development
Helps drive repeat purchases
When customers feel they're being heard and their needs are being met, they're more likely to return. In fact, according to a study, companies that prioritize customer experience can expect to see a 60 percent increase in repeat purchases. Since it's often more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep existing ones, this can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Ensures you're meeting the needs of your customers
If you want to stay in business, it's essential that you're providing value to your customers. By putting your customers at the center of everything you do, you can ensure that you're always meeting their needs and delivering what they want. If you're not focused on your customers, there's a good chance you'll lose them to a competitor who is.
Attracts new customers
Happy customers are often your best brand ambassadors, and they can play a significant role in attracting new customers. In fact, 93 percent of consumers say they're more likely to do business with a company that offers excellent customer service. Additionally, word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing, and it's often driven by customer satisfaction. So, if you want to attract new customers, you must focus on making your current customers happy.
Enhances brand image and reputation
A brand's reputation is one of its most valuable assets. A strong reputation can attract new customers and drive growth, while a weak reputation can damage sales and lead to a decline. By making customer experience a priority, businesses can create a positive association with their brand and build long-term loyalty. In addition, by listening to feedback and addressing customer concerns, companies can quickly improve their reputation in the event of a negative incident.
Improves product development
A company's product development process is key to creating products that meet customer needs and exceed expectations. Unfortunately, many companies take a "one size fits all" approach to product development, resulting in products that are either too simplistic or too complex.
Customer centricity can help to address this problem by ensuring that the customer is always at the center of the product development process. By constantly gathering feedback from customers and using it to inform product decisions, companies can ensure that their products are exactly what customers want. In addition, customer centricity can also help to improve efficiency within the product development process by eliminating wasted effort and unnecessary features.
How to be more customer centric
In today’s digitally driven landscape, good news travels fast. Unfortunately, bad reviews can travel even faster, opening the door to 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
- Plan to scale
- Invest in CX initiatives
- Analyze business objectives
- Ask for feedback
- Create problem-solving solutions
- Focus on NRR
- Avoid silos
- Conduct performance reviews
- Invest in customer support
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.
Plan to scale
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. So you'll need to be prepared to scale your CX and customer support.
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. Customer 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 customer support 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. Live chat 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 or cobrowsing sessions 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. In these cases, session replay software can help because your support team and developers can watch recordings of user sessions in your product to see exactly what they did and experienced.
Session replays and cobrowsing tools that offer more context into the user's experiences 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.
Conduct performance reviews
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.
Invest in customer support
It's no secret that customer support is essential to any business that wants to be successful. After all, without happy customers, there would be no business at all! But what many people don't realize is just how vital customer support is to achieving customer-centricity. What better way to show your customers that they're central to your business than by providing them with outstanding support?
When a customer has a good experience with your customer support team, it reflects positively on your entire company. It shows that you care about your customers and are committed to providing them with the best possible experience. On the other hand, if a customer has a bad experience with your customer support team, it can reflect very poorly on your company.
This is why it's so important to make sure that your customer support team is well-trained and prepared to handle any situation that comes up.
It's also crucial to choose the right tech stack to support your team.
Fullview is a powerful customer support tool that offers a personalized approach to customer service. By proactively reaching out to customers and offering them help before they even need it, Fullview ensures that your customers always have a positive experience with your company. Here are a few ways that Fullview's technology can help your company really stand out when it comes to customer support:
- Fullview Replays: Fullview Replays are an essential part of the Fullview platform. They allow you to watch recordings of users interacting with your product, making it easy to find and diagnose issues. With Fullview Replays, you can see everything that a user does on your site or application, including all interactions, mouse movements, and clicks. This level of detail is essential for diagnosing issues and provides a wealth of information that can be used to improve the user experience. And, if you notice a particular user struggling with an issue during a replay, you can immediately reach out to them to solve the problem, preventing customer frustration and increasing customer satisfaction.
- Fullview Cobrowsing: Fullview's cobrowsing feature allows you and your user to browse the same browser window with multi-cursor screen control in real time. With cobrowsing, you can see exactly what the customer is seeing, making it easy to guide them through any issue they may be experiencing. You can even take control of their screen to solve issues for them. Additionally, cobrowsing is a great way to build rapport with customers and build trust.
- Fullview Console: Fullview's console troubleshooting feature provides relevant information in real-time, including user steps, errors, and warnings. Armed with this console information, you can see exactly what went wrong under the hood and why, making it easy to fix problems quickly and efficiently. It takes all the guesswork out of troubleshooting.
Wrapping things up
The year of 2023 is all about customer support and experience. As customers increasingly expect great experiences, businesses must prioritize customer centricity to remain competitive. Customer centricity focuses on creating positive experiences at every stage of the customer journey, which is essential for driving customer loyalty.
To achieve this, businesses must understand their customers and take the necessary steps to create a powerful culture that resonates with every team member. Businesses that take customer centricity seriously invest in their teams, hire the right people, and empower them with the right tools. Ultimately, customer centricity drives repeat purchases and helps businesses avoid negative repercussions due to poor customer experiences.