Customer-centricity today: Creating value for both the customer & organisation (1)

This is the first of a number of articles exploring customer-centricity in today’s context.  

Organisations rely on end customers(customers) for their revenue.  It is imperative that customers are served well, because organisations rely entirely on customers for their very existence.   Organisations need to pay especial attention to their needs, wants, complaints and grouses.  Underlying this, customers are often judging the performance of organisations and seeking the value that organisations create for them.  

In my blog on “create value for customers and align to changing mindsets, I had discussed trust as a gauge of customer satisfaction levels and how it influences purchase decisions.  Building trust in customers is all-important.  Implicitly, there is a fine balance between allocating and weighing up the type of resources that will provide par excellent customer experiences. 

Customer-centricity is a concept that is at the heart of this fine balance. It creates value for the customer, and in doing this, it creates value for the organisation. Executed well, the customer walks away fully satisfied if not, pleasantly overwhelmed, while the organisation enjoys repeat buying, greater levels of advocacy, retention and loyalty.

It incorporates the customer’s life time value (total worth to the organisation of a customer over the whole period of their relationship), the full spectrum of the customer experience, customer insights and various interactions with your brand.    

New norm customer-centricity

Today, customer-centricity also needs to be revisited in the context of ‘health and safety’ issues that Covid-19 has forced on us.  It also has to be reviewed in the context of technological and digitalization advances, that have been fast forwarded as a consequence of the pandemic.  

In the new norm customer-centric set-up, there needs to be a keener sense of personalisation and empathy for the customer, with elevated expectations of the organisations digital capabilities.  Customers also expect organisations to accelerate digital initiatives because of Covid-19, to enable more virtual touch points for customers, in place of physical and face-to-face interactions. 

Customers now expect to be engaged in multiple ways eg. self-service account portals, chatbots for simple customer service, pre-orders of new/out of stock items.  Customer’s needs have to be anticipated and their journey through out, seamless eg. no need to repeat themselves to another representative.  Delivery is thought through making it convenient and flexible for customers to pick up products.

Organisations will need to ensure that their digital channels are on par with or better than those of their competition to succeed in this new environment. If China offers us any lessons, digital laggards will be substantially disadvantaged during this pandemic and its recovery. 

Customer-centricity will be reviewed holistically into the next several articles, and will include both conventional areas and more recent events such as, having a ‘decent’ product & service, positive customer experience & journey, segment customers & monitor customer equity, customer performance measures and customer relationship management.

At heart, customer-centricity is about reaching the right customer at the right time, with the intent of drawing on repeat or loyal customers.  Its also about treating different customers differently, that can be achieved by segmenting customers, whilst weighing up ways to allocate limited resources to serve customers.  

How we do this with new customer expectations in the new norm, will be of consequence and has to be reflected on carefully.   Meaningful campaigns and services have to be crafted up yet again to target identified segments.  Happy customers are more likely to renew, and become brand ambassadors who spread the word about how your organisation upped your game to stay relevant, cushioned with reassurance and compassion in this Covid-19 climate.  This could well lead new customers to your doorstep.

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