Customer centricity is no longer just a loaded buzzword used by marketers preaching tactics such as personalization and customer experience. Customer centricity is now a mind-set that companies need to adopt throughout the entire organization—not just marketing—to thrive in the digital world.
This quote from CMO.com’s article The ‘Age of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It? sums up nicely how we have evolved (or maybe suddenly transformed) into the customer-centric epoch. The term “Age of the Customer” was coined by Forrester and aptly describes how access to information and the customer experience has shifted from companies to customers. This is why we keep seeing trends toward enhancing customer experience (see: Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?).
Michael Hinshaw, CEO of McorpCX describes this the “Era of Smart Customers”. He says, “Smart customers are customers that leverage digital devices to access information, anywhere and anytime. What that means is the power in the relationship between companies and customers is in the process of shifting.”
Customer-centricity is one of the driving factors for Digital Transformation. To be customer-centric, companies need to bring together people, processes and systems from across the company, especially sales, marketing, customer service. If your company is acting in silos across these areas, customers will see it and move on if they can.
The article, linked below, provides a good overall description of the challenges in becoming customer-centric. Some key steps to take to overcome these challenges include the following:
- Define ownership for becoming customer-centric. This could mean appointing a Chief Customer Officer, setting up a steering committee, or some other organizational technique.
- Define metrics and continually measure how you are doing. Start with a baseline, set targets and hold people accountable to meet the targets.
- Refine and coordinate across the business where it affects the customer. We might call this Digital Transformation, but it goes beyond the ‘digital’ part. It is really about transforming culture and operations as well as the systems.
- Connect with your customer. Get feedback, encourage honest dialog about what you do and don’t do right.