Taking a customer - centric focus.

6 ways you can become customer-centric

"Customer service is not what you do; it's who you are"

By Esti Kilian, General Manager Marketing Services

Make it personal

You must demonstrate you understand individual customers’ specific needs, their circumstances, and adapt their experience and your offering accordingly. Use the customer’s name to give them individual attention. Know what they prefer when you make meetings, communicate with them, and meet. Nothing makes people feel more important than other people showing they’ve taken the time to know something about them and will treat them like they’re not just another number. It is a powerful way to create an emotional connection.

Remember these points when you:

  • Market directly

  • Host events

  • Present solutions to fit the needs of their vertical markets

  1. Build a brand customers can trust

I listened to Teresa Badenhorst at our Kickoff Conference in Johannesburg. She made an interesting comment: “Customers buy from people they trust first, and who have the capability to meet their needs second.”

Trust stems from reputation, which is the perception people have of your business. Those people include your employees, customers, and the media. That’s why Teresa said that in the 20th Century competitive advantage arose from products, investments, and margins while in the 21st Century it focuses on employees, innovation, human capital management. As Richard Branson said in an interview: “…if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they're proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they're treated well, then they're gonna be smiling, they're gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.”

  • Build and maintain personal relationships

  • Use your CRM

  • Host events

  • Survey your employees and customers

Manage – and exceed – customer expectations

Customers have expectations. Your business delivers products and services. Between the two lies a gap. Close the chasm by managing customer expectations upfront. You’re the expert, you know your business, your industry, your product, and you know how to get the job done. Don’t be afraid to advise your customers, consult to them like the professional you are by offering them insight into your years of experience.

  • Set clear expectations

  • Manage your promises to the customer

  • Facilitate service delivery by communicating clearly, concisely, and early with relevant people

Empathise

Technically this means understanding and sharing the feelings of another human being. And buying is more emotional than logical. The two are clearly connected. Understand how your customers feel about their daily business operations and you can rapidly identify their pain points. Connect that with your services and solutions and you have the foundations of a sale.

  • Understand customers’ markets

  • Understand customers’ needs

  • Resolve market requirements and customer needs with your solutions and services.

Create seamless business process

This comes back to point 3 above. With lousy business processes you’ll have to plumb new depths of customer expectation, something your competition will be all too keen to counter. We sell workflow solutions and help our customers re-engineer their processes. So do you. Lets eat our own dog food.

  • Create seamless internal processes

  • Make them easy to use

Create happiness from sadness

Even the best processes, product or solution will fail at some point. That’s a given. Failure is an everyday part of business. Recovery, however, sets the lions apart from the mice. Sincerity is the number one act of a successful recovery, urgency is the second, and, going back to my first point, give the customer personal attention that builds your reputation as a company that cares (my second point).

  • Use the variety of channels at your disposal for dialogue and feedback

  • Don’t wait, address customer concerns as they arise

Thank-you and see you again next week when I discuss 7 practical ways to implement customer centricity.

#brandbusinessprocesscustomerengagement

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