Should True Customer Centricity Be Your Resolution?

mannequinsWho doesn’t like to view themselves in the best light possible?  Similarly, many businesses like to think of themselves as being tops in customer centricity when in fact, they’ve taken zero steps to change structure, messaging, or CRM to that end. When the world around you is changing but you aren’t…red flag.


Many brands are offering up lip service in lieu of customer service. You know what’s going to be on those lips? The dust customers leave behind as they take their 2014 customer experience expectations elsewhere.


Today’s consumers are well aware of tech advancements. They know it’s possible for you to know nearly everything about them and every move they make, especially where it relates to your brand. Believe it or not, they’re cool with that, as long as it’s used to make their experiences quick, effective, and pleasing.


Seriously…all you have to do is not insult them.


When you have no clue what their past interactions with you were, you insult them. When you have no idea what products of yours they own, you insult them. When you can’t (or won’t) solve their problem, you insult them. When you throw them into an irrelevant generic voicemail tree, you insult them. When you ignore or forget what they tell you, you insult them. When you don’t follow up to insure satisfaction, you insult them.


As you can see, as easy as the task of “don’t insult the customer” sounds, the above is still largely standard practice. It’s not okay anymore.


Perhaps a business resolution for 2014 should be…to care. No shift toward customer centricity is going to occur unless and until brands start genuinely caring about getting the customer what they want and treating them well. Today, it should be even easier to care, because doing those things speaks to profits and corporate health.


66% of marketers couldn’t tell you what their customer is worth, even though sales could potentially go up 17% by knowing and capitalizing on the highest value customers. You’re best friend in this endeavor is data. Listening tools can pull copious amounts of social data, which can be combined with enterprise data for granular views of customers utilized at every touchpoint.


So what does customer centricity even mean? As opposed to what? It means morphing processes around making the customer successful in whatever they’re trying to do, both now and over time. This vs. being product-centric, which the odds are good you still are. One expert clarifies that if you’re product-centric, you’re trying to maximize the value of each product. If you’re customer-centric, you’re trying to maximize the value of each customer.


So in 2014, can you be available to customers on their favorite platform? Will you respond right away? Can you solve their problem? Can you convince them you care? Can you customize their experience? Can you make relevant offers? Can all departments make love-of-customer priority #1? Can you let customers lead your product development?


Social isn’t just empowering consumers, it’s empowering you as brands to make this customer centricity possible. Choose to keep focusing on your corporate self instead of on customer experiences, and 2014 could be the year of thin ice.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng


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