Each organization collects feedback from customers and then creates an expectation in the customer that something will be done with the feedback.
However, most customer feedback goes directly to the company’s analysis and reporting software after it is collected.
When feedback is used, it is usually an analyst who collects the data and processes it into a report on a graph, which helps marketers move through reports full of pages of graphs and percentages. And while this information is largely useful, the customer’s true voice is lost in translation.
True customer focus means treating customers as individuals, not as a whole.
As the connection between the company and the customer is often lost, it is unfortunately easy for customers who give feedback on services or products to feel forgotten. If a problem is not resolved, they may wonder if the comment has been dismissed or ignored because it does not meet the response threshold that compels the company to act. They may reasonably ask, why give feedback when nothing is changing.
It can be tempting to rely on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other popular measures of success. However, just keeping your pulse together is not enough to build a truly customer-centric organization. It reduces the customer to numbers and lowers the customer’s voice.
Let’s take a look at the five steps required to create a more customer-centric business.
Customer-centricity begins with learning the hearts of customers, not just their voices. The only way to support them effectively is to understand who they are. The path to this hyper-personal, customer-focused relationship starts from the top down.
To bring about cultural change, management must embrace and communicate the need for greater customer focus. Managers are role models within an organization and their customer philosophy permeates business, from processes to software and brand choices, and supports decision making.
“The CEO sets the tone for organizations and the focus on the customer comes from within,” continues Thakkar. “As CEO, it is my responsibility to communicate and demonstrate the characteristics of a customer-centric culture, including ARTIC.”
- Give an example from the customer
HubSpot recently appointed its first Chief Client Officer (CCO), who previously held the same role at Dropbox. Rangan oversees a team responsible for reducing friction with the customer. In a video from the Founder Institute entitled “Using customer-centric thinking to move forward”, he talks about what a company can gain from a customer-centric approach:
When you start thinking about the customer, the better. There is literally nothing better than repeating the steps of your first audience or test client and seeing how they went through the process – what worked? What was not there? I always say that one is a data point, three is a trend, and so if you do that for your first [customers], when you see the same batch of models coming, you will know exactly what is going on.
Not all companies can hire a CCO; however, because a company’s senior executives, including the CEO, support a plan to increase customer focus, an employee should be called the organization’s customer champion.
The customer-centric advocate must know the company’s customers well and support the company’s goal of providing a richer customer experience. That employee must also have the power to influence others and hold colleagues accountable.
- Make customer feedback transparent and accessible
While one person can lead the process as a customer advocate, customer feedback must be shared across the organization. The focus on the customer occurs only when the customer’s feedback is transparent and accessible to everyone.
Here’s how to do it:
- Do not manage customer feedback in the customer relationship management tool. To make it a priority, customers add feedback to the various systems and tools that people use every day.
- Internal calendars should not replace customer requirements.
- Don’t bury bad news. Discover, open and fix.
- Highlight good news for customers and remind employees why it is important to deliver it to customers.
- Know your customers from all sides and all angles. It has always been a priority for marketers, but there is always room to go deeper.
- Respond to customer feedback
If you take care
Likewise, organizations that deal with the customer do not discuss a customer complaint when they can take steps to help them. They solve the customer’s problem before analyzing to find the cause. Therefore, after feedback, companies must assign an executable task to a specific owner, who is authorized to act immediately.
The best way to ensure this is to ensure that customer feedback is connected to the organization through all of the applications and communication tools that teams use daily. When a marketing team investigates product or campaign improvements, data must reach them in real-time, rather than retaining it until a final formal report is released. (Although both are needed to become a customer-centric organization.)
- Discuss customers at all meetings
An important way to involve the customer in everything the company does is to get them to participate in its meetings. When each meeting begins or ends with a customer story or data point, it reminds the organization that they exist because of their customers.
The goal is to change the corporate mindset and thus involve the customer in all activities. To do this, create one or more of the following calendar items:
- Present new ideas in the style of an Amazon board meeting and answer questions like who is the customer? Why would that idea bewitch them?
- Share and discuss a customer’s story.
- Talk about a new customer data point.
And, of course, meetings can also be a great place to celebrate customer-centric employee actions and praise them for the impact they have had on supporting the company’s customers.