HOW A BUSINESS DELIVERS THE “WOW” FACTOR
What if everything about your business was seamlessly aligned to give your customers their PERFECT experience of your product or service? Would that make your customers more loyal? More likely to come back and buy again? More likely to recommend you to others?
Research says: Absolutely Yes! When you provide your customers with the total experience they’re looking for, when you meet their rational and emotional needs — your business can explode with growth, weather economic storms that destroy competitors and build a solid customer base that will follow you anywhere.
That’s the beauty of being Customer-Centric in your strategic business planning and your day-to-day operational delivery.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC?
Customer-centric means knowing what your current and potential customers want (really want — not just your opinion of what they want) and putting those needs at the center of your business. It means looking at every aspect of your business and asking questions like these: “How do our customers experience this?” “How well does this meet what our customers want us to deliver?” and “What emotional needs (e.g.; trust, control, support, flexibility, balance, etc.) are embedded in every rational purchase decision and how can we meet them?”
Why do businesses fail?
They lose sight of the customer (or…never saw the customer clearly in the first place!). If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a GREAT marketing campaign that turned into a miserable customer experience, you know what I mean. Why does that happen? Misalignment. That enticing slogan, those promises of satisfaction and the glossy brochures costing thousands of dollars weren’t matched with the processes, the technology or the people in the company. You, as the customer, had great expectations and…the company didn’t deliver. Disappointed? You bet. So disappointed that you don’t come back. So disappointed that you tell your friends…on Facebook…and YouTube…and Twitter…OUCH!
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A LEADER?
It’s very easy to make seemingly sound business decisions that leave your customers frustrated, disappointed and ready to buy from your competition.
Outsourcing customer service or technology to the lowest bidder, substituting lower quality ingredients in your product production, putting untrained employees in key positions, eliminating critical steps in the consumer testing processes — these are all examples of how companies manage themselves into failure.
Now, what’s the good news?
If you’re in business and you have customers now, you’re already doing some things right!
And there are simple, effective, low-cost methods you can use to start doing more things right by your customers. Look at your company, products and services through the customer-centric lens. Begin by finding ways to actually experience your company the way your customer does. What do they see when they walk in the “door” (whether that’s a physical door or a virtual door)? What do they hear when they call on the phone? Is it easy or difficult to get customer service? If you were your customer, would YOU do business with YOU?
How you experience your organization as a leader is NOT how your customers experience it.
Don’t assume that employees treat your customers the way they treat you. Don’t assume that your customers know what you know about how to navigate new technologies and complex organizational systems. Seek out information that tells you what your customers really think and FEEL about your organization. You need feedback loops from your customers and from your employees. Loops that do more than just confirm what you want to hear and what you already know. It’s what you don’t want to hear and what you don’t know that will be the most valuable source of innovative, creative and authentic solutions to those core challenges that make you vulnerable to your competition. Seek that and find it.