Your company may already understand that great customer experiences drive brand loyalty. You may continuously create great products and services and think that these efforts are enough to keep customers satisfied. Even if your company offers stronger products than your competitors do, it does not matter if you do not prioritize delivering excellent, fluid customer experiences. To offer such experiences, you must put customers’ needs first and truly understand what they want. In short, you need to create customer-centric experiences.
Being a customer-centric brand means putting your customers at the heart of your business strategy. This means considering the entire customer experience from the customer’s point of view in order to deliver the products and services your customers really want. A truly customer-centric company always considers the customer’s needs and adapts all ideas and operations to fit this mindset. According to the 2020 Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report, 84% of customers state that being treated like a person and not a number is very important to winning their business. Having a customer-centric culture is therefore no longer just an option but an essential need for keeping customers happy and earning their loyalty.
Why should your company take a customer-centric approach? In short, customer centricity enables your brand to offer the stronger customer experiences that ultimately drive brand success. Customer centricity involves listening closely to the Voice of the Customer, or VoC. By collecting customer feedback post-service and post-purchase—through surveys, interviews, KPIs, reviews, social listening tools, and sales and service interaction transcripts—your company can better understand how to improve the customer experience. For example, you may decide to optimize the navigation of your website, create more seamless customer service practices, offer additional agent support on high-demand channels, or improve product designs. Listening to VoC enables your company to continuously refine the customer journey using a customer-centric approach.
Customer centricity is also key to keeping current customer loyalty and attracting new customers. According to a SaaS Scout report, loyal customers will spend up to 67% more, buy in larger quantities, and buy more frequently than new customers. This loyal client base includes VIP customers, who typically spend even more than others. According to a Center for Retail Management study, the top 15% of a company’s loyal customers contribute to 60% of total revenue. For all of these reasons, customer retention should be a top priority for your company—and that begins with taking a customer-centric approach.
Looking carefully at customer feedback and data collected from service interactions will help you identify customer retention and satisfaction rates. This data will then help you determine which customers should be given especially close attention—whether they are loyal customers who enjoy VIP treatment, or frustrated customers who are in danger of leaving your brand. Customer centricity can also turn prospects into new customers. As you work to improve customer experiences, potential customers will take notice. For example, call center agents may play a significant role in a customer-centric experience by providing excellent service right until the very end of the customer journey. When prospects realize that your brand offers not only a great product but the best customer service to go with it, they may even be willing to pay more for this optimal experience. In addition, sharing positive reviews from current customers on platforms such as your website and social media will encourage prospects to support your brand. According to a 2020 Trustpilot study, nearly 90% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. The more you invest in customer-centric strategies, the more you will satisfy both current and potential customers.
To create truly customer-centric experiences, here are five tips to consider.
Customer-centric experiences begin with creating a customer-centric workplace. When hiring employees, consider their views on customer-centricity. Do they have customers’ best interests at heart when they are working at their jobs? Hiring employees who have this mindset is critical to building a customer-centric company culture. Ask your employees to test your company’s products and services to better understand the customer’s perspective and offer their own feedback. Customer service and sales agents can especially offer valuable advice about products and services that are or are not working, based on their conversations with customers. Their insights can help departments ranging from research and development to sales and marketing, for example. Employees should also be trained to emphasize making customers happy over contact center metrics and sales data. A customer-centric workplace should value customer relationships and satisfaction before anything else.
Collecting customer feedback is vital to understanding your customers’ needs and preferences. Having a data-driven strategy will help you offer a better customer service experience. As a company, make it your mission to listen closely to the Voice of the Customer, and then devise a strategy for how it will be done. For example, will you send post-purchase and post-service surveys? Will you use social listening tools to gather feedback online from social media and other internet sites? Will you collect feedback periodically as well? Your company should also plan a strategy for reaching out to customers once their feedback is known. How quickly will you respond to frustrated customers, and what will you offer as a solution? Will you offer rewards to your most loyal customers? As you define a company strategy for feedback collection, remember that asking customers directly what they want is a sure way to make your brand more customer-centric. Do not hesitate to ask for honest and detailed feedback, and keep in mind that responding quickly is important to gaining customer trust and satisfaction.
Customer data can reveal precisely what you need to do to create greater customer experiences through a customer-centric approach. Contact center metrics such as CSAT and CES reveal if your customers are truly satisfied or making too much effort, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) can tell you if your customers are likely to rave about your brand and bring you more followers. By looking at these metrics and also studying service interaction transcripts closely, you can find customer pain points. Do customers spend too much time waiting to speak to an agent? Are they not getting purchase confirmations on their preferred channel? Do customer service agents lack empathy or product knowledge? What do customers like most about your brand? Which products or services are the most popular? In addition to these metrics, you can make a few additional calculations to understand each customer’s individual value to your company. For example, you can calculate the Customer Lifetime Value, which helps you determine which customers are the most loyal and critical to your brand success—thus demanding more attention. As most companies know, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than keeping an existing one.This number can be calculated by multiplying a customer’s spending in one year by the number of years he or she has supported your business, and then subtracting the approximate total cost of acquiring and serving the customer. You can also determine how many customers have left your brand, also known as customer churn. Churn rate can be calculated taking the number of customers who have left in the past 12 months and dividing this number by the total number of customers during the same time period.
Customers want seamless experiences that save them time and effort. If they constantly have to repeat information to agents when they contact you, lose contact with an agent when switching channels, or lack the option of contacting you on their preferred channels, they will simply leave your brand. To give your agents a single, unified view of your customers, consider integrating a CRM into an omnichannel contact center solution. This tool can give agents a 360 view of customer history, including purchases and previous service interactions, while your contact center’s omnichannel capability will allow customers to contact you via multiple channels. With immediate access to customer profiles and the ability to make real-time updates, agents are empowered to deliver seamless customer experiences. Keeping all customer knowledge in one place also ensures that the next time a customer contacts your brand, the agent will be fully prepared to offer efficient service using notes from the previous conversation.
Lastly, a customer-centric experience means considering customers as individuals at every step of their journey. Personalize each and every experience, beginning with addressing customers by name. Then be sure to recognize customer feelings and humanize each interaction. For example, sales agents can do this during outbound call campaigns, as personalization can lead to greater customer trust and willingness to purchase from your brand. Customer service agents should offer a human touch by showing empathy. This is especially important when customers are upset, as empathy shows respect for customers’ feelings and may convince them not to leave your brand. Making references to previous purchases can show the customer that you know his or her brand history and will make only relevant offers or service suggestions, building customer trust. CRM data can also be used to offer more personalized experiences based on deep customer knowledge, which is especially important when agents speak to high-risk customers on the verge of abandonment or VIP customers with a high Customer Lifetime Value.
No matter how outstanding your brand’s products and services may be, it’s the customer experience that counts first. Embracing a customer-centric attitude enables your company to deliver the kinds of experiences that make customers want what your brand has to offer.
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