The ways in which we educate, commute, exercise, shop, and interact have all drastically changed. Everything is now up for review, presenting a new set of challenges for brands. But with every challenge also comes opportunity.
This got me thinking...is this the NEW ‘new dawn’ of customer-centricity?
What is Customer-Centricity?
The term customer centricity, credited to Lester Wunderman, has been around since the 1960s. At its inception, it referred to a new approach in marketing; one that moved away from mass broadcasting to instead focus on segment advertising. Since then, it has been used in many guises to mean a host of different things. Of late, us customer experience execs have adopted it as an umbrella term for basically meaning “always make the customer happy”.
Though all brands are customer-centric to an extent, few have truly achieved full customer centricity and that’s because it's a tricky business (no pun intended). What’s right for your customer does not always align with what’s right for your business.
But the world has changed. And companies, much like our fragile economies, will need to adapt and innovate as they rebuild and plan for the future.
Three Ways Brands Can Be Customer-Centric
1. Create proactive and preemptive conversational experiences:
Automation allows for proactive Conversational CX through the ability to send notifications based on customer intent data. For example, a message can be sent automatically to a customer when an item they’re waiting for is back in stock. This in turn allows brands to have actual conversations and interactions that are personalized all at scale. This enables messaging channels to become revenue generators by increasing the customer lifecycle value and decreasing customer acquisition costs - all the while becoming more customer-centric.
2. Integrate your CRM stack so you actually know what's going on:
Connecting the customer experience dots is critical to becoming truly customer centric. APIs must be utilized to allow customer experience teams to create a fully unified and integrated customer experience hub via tight integration between best-of-breed messaging and existing CRM platforms, creating a 360° view of your customers with context. This customer-centric approach to CRM modeling is based on connecting all the customer dots into one continuous customer conversation across multiple internal silos. Having access to a thread of previous customer communication is paramount to building long-lasting relationships that nurture brand loyalty.
3. Create continuous feedback loops from your internal data pools:
How can you improve if you don’t know where you’re f***ing up? Continuous feedback loops in business - and especially in customer experience management - are critical to becoming truly customer centric. This will also cut costs. Customers with problems get in contact with your brand, which runs up your customer service costs. Track down and eliminate the problems that are making customers unhappy and they stop calling you to complain. It’s that simple. All customer-centric brands will use intent detection in the not too distant future.
Embracing the New Normal
Last week I attended a virtual brewery beer tasting. It was great. I was completely engaged and for a split second, I forgot we were sitting in my backyard and not in a brewery. When you reinvent something and do it with the end-user in mind, change can be just as good, if not better than the original.
With the world slowly starting to lift restrictions, we will start to really experience the new normal. There’s no way things will go back to the way they were for some time, if at all. But what if brands use this as an opportunity? An opportunity to rethink how they operate as a business and they do this with the customer top of mind. They will create experiences that put their customers’ wants and needs at the center of their strategy to actually become customer centric.