Customer centricity in business the art of making the customer the centre of decisions and processes in your business. Steering away from a product focus which aims to produce and sell products, a customer centric business looks at the needs of customers and solves them. The product literally sells itself because it solves customers problems or speaks to their needs as a consumer.
Obviously its key to understand consumers in order to meet their needs and over the last year we are noticing some very clear trends among customers which are opening the door to better digital customer experiences.
Humanising the company or brand
People are getting tired of corporate greed and the quest for profits. Not that they are against people making profits, they just want to understand why. It’s the why and how that’s making the difference today. People want to see the personality of the brand, speak with people in the company and see important values like honesty, transparency and vision lead to trust. Social media remains a major force in communicating to customers on a daily basis and has changed the business landscape for almost every single consumer industry. Sainsbury recently saw the power of a social media conversation sparked by a 3 and a half year old. The young girl wrote into Sainsbury to suggest that their Tiger Bread looked more like a Giraffe. After social media channels found the letter the public response was overwhelming and the company decided to listen to its customers and renamed the bread to Giraffe bread.
As companies come to grips with speaking to customers over social media, business is beginning to understand the possibility in creating more agile organisations that respond to customers faster by implementing enterprise social networks. We have been helping business address this issue for the last two years through a number of Social Business and Social Leadership programmes. Social media connects people to people and the correct use of social media should allow your business to understand your customer and help the business deliver faster and better to that customer.
Digital experiences integrating to physical experiences
The moment you create an ‘added value’ to a service and it is experienced by a customer, it is no longer an added value. Customers love new and valuable experiences but once they experience it the first time it becomes an expectation. The more ‘value added’ services we take to market the more our customers start to expect from us and our competitors. Using digital technology is a great way to differentiate yourself in the market to create new expectations that are hard to duplicate in the market.
As technology blends closer and closer to real life experiences we see people unable to get through a day without using some sort of digital experience. The new challenge is not to get people to use digital channels but rather to be excited by them, to create customer experiences that are serendipitous. In essence business and brands need to start closing the divide between sensory perception and digital information.
Many companies are starting to understand this connection and provide new experiential elements to their services. The Australian Post created a QR code stamp that allowed senders to add a video message the post they were sending.
Luxury Brand Louis Vuitton launched a mobile application that scans the brands print media and opens up new, exclusive content including videos,
behind-the-scenes content, product purchase links and social media sharing. QR Codes are being used as translation vehicles to translate menu’s and product catalogues.
Lifestyles are becoming more unique
The digital world has created an environment that is completely customisable. People download their TV instead of watching programmed media, we get RSS news fed to us instead of buying curated newspapers, our music is no longer found on radio and podcasts are replacing talk radio. This shift in consumer personalising and customising their media consumption is moving into others areas as they customise their technology, home life and work life. People are becoming more unique suggesting that target marketing is no longer a sufficient way to understand our customer. We need to capture data of our clients, consumers and customers in order to understand them better and deliver directly to the individual. This means understanding the context that your customer finds themselves and learning to deliver service and product to them in their context. It is not enough to have a single process to deal with customer satisfaction. Rather it is imperative to look at building using both digital and non-digital experiences to build a satisfying experience.
Last week I ordered a series of hard copy books from Amazon and Kalahari within an hour of each other. Amazon delivered the books (international delivery) within three days whilst Kalahari gave me an estimated delivery date of 2 weeks (local delivery). Amazon aims to decrease its delivery time to customers understating their context and need for quicker purchase satisfaction. They aim to reduce delivery time even further by the use of drones and data strategies to predict your next purchase and send it to the distribution centre nearest to you.
In conclusion, the opportunities are endless when looking at ways to delight your customers with technology. It is important to understand that market relevance and consumer context are primary elements in designing your customer experience plans.
Once you understand your customer data, consumer trends and the technology available, you should be in a good position to design your own customer experience that delights your customers.