Building a customer-centric company culture has become a core business requirement nowadays, as it plays a crucial role in keeping up or staying ahead of the competition, by improving companies’ efficiency and driving their performance.
The facts speak for themselves – nearly 50% of loyal customers say they’ve left a brand to a competitor that is better at meeting their needs. To avoid such a negative outcome, you need to focus on providing exceptional customer experience before, during, and after the sale, and not just to your big accounts, but to every one of your customers. Here are a few ways to begin with.
Focus on customer empathy
Even though empathy may seem like a buzzword, if you want to build a customer-centric culture in your company, it should become a core value. Customer empathy is a capacity to identify the emotional needs behind your customers’ behaviors and respond to them timely and adequately.
Empathy is what makes us connect to each other and form bonds, but according to PwC, it is still rare in the business world, as only 38% of consumers think employees in customer service understand their needs. And the philosophy behind practicing customer empathy is simple – the employee who understands the needs of customers will invest themselves more to provide their customers with great service.
Satisfied customers will not churn, and they’ll be pleased to recommend you to their friends, colleagues, and relatives, helping your business grow.
Find your credo
To put your customer-centric principles into practice, you need to make them your credo, something your employees will find easy to remember and use in their everyday activities.
One of the greatest examples of a successful credo put into five decades of practice is the one made by Disneyland, and their commitment to make it “the happiest place on Earth.” Their customer service is divided into two areas, the off-stage and on-stage one.
While on-stage, employees are asked to put their own problems behind, with just one goal on their mind – make their customers happy. An off-stage area is a place where they can vent and discuss their issues, but that is off-limits for their guests so that nothing could ruin their happy moments.
On the other hand, there is the motto that Ritz-Carlton uses to install core values in their employees in a two-day long training –“Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”, perfectly summing up how staff should think about their vocation and their guests.
If you haven’t already found a motto which will be the basis for a customer-centric culture in your company, consider gentlemen”, ng it a try.
If you want to create a customer-centric culture in your company, you need to regularly collect feedback from your customers. Some of the possible touchpoints which you can use for this purpose are emails, SMS, social media channels, in-app messages, live-chat sessions, etc. Still, don’t rely on digital feedback only, and make a practice of asking your loyal customers for their feedback via a phone call too.
This way, you can get more details on your customers’ satisfaction, as your trained employees will also be able to hear the tone of your customers’ voice and adjust their questions in real-time to get more detailed answers.
Social media listening also provides a great opportunity to gather some valuable feedback. Customers won’t always let you know when they are not satisfied. In fact, research shows that only 1 in 26 customers will tell a business about their negative experience, while others will just abandon the brand and spread details of their negative experience with 15 people.
Social media listening tools will let you know whenever there is a new mention of your company on some of the various channels so that you can respond timely and adequately, and maybe even resolve a customer’s issue and prevent their churn.
Another great way to receive feedback from your customers, while making their visit to your office more convenient, is a visitor management system. You can use this opportunity to ask customized questions on their experience, showing that you value their immediate response and ratings.
Anticipate customer needs
All companies with truly great customer service have one more thing in common – instead of putting all their focus to needs their customers express, they go two steps beyond and anticipate their unexpressed wishes and desires as well.
Let’s get back to Ritz-Carlton, where employees are trained on how to earn their customer loyalty in three simple steps, with the second one being “anticipate each guest’s needs”, right after a sincere greeting, and before a fond goodbye. What makes their service legendary is the customer-centric culture which empowers employees not to only provide convenience to their customers but also to look for opportunities to create unique, unexpected, and memorable moments.
Companies that put an emphasis on anticipation, are the ones that grow. They are making a decision focused on solving future needs and problems, which they seem to know before the customers. It’s what greatest business visionaries and game-changers, such as Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are famous for, and that they’ve built their empires on.
With the customer-centric approach installed in your company’s culture and each one of your employees working toward the same goal – putting the needs of the customers first, you’re headed to success.