5 Ways to Create a Customer Centric Strategy
How to Create the Perfect Customer Centric Strategy
By Jeffrey Tobias.
Everyone is talking about how to put the customer at the centre, yet few get it right. It is astonishing that, in this day and age, many organisations still imagine that they control the ‘power to purchase’. They are wrong. The power is with the customer, continually looking for amazing customer service. The only solution to this is Customer Centric Strategy.
Here are five ways to actually provide an amazing customer experience.
1) Deploy Design Thinking
Use the methodology to start empathising with the customer. Design thinking has five key elements:
Empathise. See the world from the eyes of your customer. The two most used techniques to empathise are observations, and asking open-ended questions. Observations allow you really take note of what customers are doing when they are considering your product – how do they feel, what is their body language, what do they look at during the purchasing decision. Open ended-questions allow you to really get “under the covers” of the customer, to fully appreciate what the world looks like from their eyes:
- Define. What problem are we really solving, because the problem we think we are solving may not be the one that needs solving.No point on ideating until we understand the “problem to solve”.
- Ideate. Now we have defined the problem, let’s come up with the solutions using creative problem solving as a technique.
- Prototype. What is the simplest possible prototype the organisation can create, in a truly agile way, to deliver real value to the customer. Prototype a la Eric Ries and the Lean Start Up.
- Test. Now run some experiments and see if we have succeeded – or not! It’s all about validated learning and an agile manifesto.
2) Build a customer centric culture
It’s no use having customer centric processes without an obsessive focus on the customer. Realise that there is a metric known as LTV – lifetime value. This is the amount of money you will derive from a customer during the entire lifetime of that customer with your organisation. For most companies, the LTV is huge. Realise this and take a customer centric approach to everything that you do.
3) It’s all about leadership.
You need to build a culture of entrepreneurship and customer centricity from the bottom up in your organisation, and that all starts with leadership. Teach the staff about LTV, about how to solve problems almost instantaneously for the customer, to realise that agile practices deliver great results. Use user stories to highlight how delighted customers will return, time after time. Encourage and build leadership skills in others and have your team think like design thinkers. Where possible, empower people to be product owners and empower them to make meaningful decisions on-the-go.
4) Capture meaningful data.
Data is the new black. Organisations that capture data at almost every touchpoint are the ones that will power ahead in the future. Many organisations allow a transaction to take place without even capturing any data at all. The more data you can capture, the more you will be able to personalise future offerings that are relevant to your business, and most importantly to the customer.
5) Personalise your service offering.
Customers today want what they want, where they want it, and when they want it. Remember, you don’t have control – they do. Your customers are time poor, and the standard for exceptional experiences is now very high. No-one wants generic offerings anymore. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and actually go through a customer experience to understand your customers’ journey. Is it meaningful? Do you think it talks to the customer, or is it too generic and not relevant to your target audience? Does it waster your costumers’ time? Do you really understand your customers’ persona in order to be able to make a truly personalised offer.
Customers no longer remember product, nor do they remember services. They remember experiences. It is now incumbent on you to deliver exceptional experiences by using the five steps above. If you don’t, someone else will!
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Managing Director, The Strategy Group
Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.