Use this 10-Trait Scale for a Quick Reality Check
Customer centricity. You know what it means: running your business with your customers’ needs front and center of your actions, investments, and decisions. You also know why it’s important to be customer centric. And you’re probably committed to leading – and promoting – your organization in ways that reflect a truly customer centric philosophy.
But customer needs change. Sometimes those changes creep up gradually. Other times – like after several months of an international pandemic – customer needs can be more volatile, more unpredictable, and a lot less forgiving.
When I came across the following article by Mark Harrington for CustomerThink, it reminded me that, in order to remain a truly customer centric organization, brands need to remain more nimble, quick, and responsive than ever. As you read his 10 Traits of Customer-Centric Brands, consider these two questions:
- What does your organization need to do to catch up and keep up with your customers’ needs?
- How is your current customer care operation supporting your brand in being customer centric?
If you would like to know how Skybridge Americas can help you realign with your customers’ priorities, expectations, and needs, please reach out. We would love to talk!
10 Essential Traits of Customer-Centric Brands
by Mark Harrington
In today’s world a “typical day” for marketers no longer exists. The complexity of the data-driven landscape and “always on” digital channels demands a blend of both science (e.g. measurement, analysis and discovery) and art (e.g. design, content and visualization) to execute effective marketing strategies and customer experiences.
“The Age of COVID” has only elevated this complexity as the attitudes, behaviors, preferences and engagements of consumers continue to shift based on societal regulations and issues the virus poses. So, adopting a customer-centric focus requires a data-driven foundation in order to understand the state of the relationship between the brand and the customer. As Harvard Business Review’s recent study Beyond Big Data found, 85% of executives say they know integrated customer data insights are the strategic foundation to drive loyalty and satisfaction, yet only 23% say their organizations have a strong understanding of their customers’ behaviors and attitudes.
Given this, there are 10 fundamental traits that provide the foundational stepping stones for an organization to become customer-centric. These steps foster a closer relationship between the customer and brand which ultimately motivates the customer, strengthens their loyalty, develops affinity and can even cultivate evangelism. Focusing on these steps is even more critical. One individual whom I know has extensive experience in the customer experience and market intelligence realm is Crispin Beale, a board director and fellow for The Market Research Society and senior strategic advisor for mTab.
“If you don’t understand the decisions, actions and sentiments of the customer you can’t effectively engage them,” explained Beale. “And if you can’t effectively engage them then you certainly can’t motivate them to connect with your brand. This is the foundation of customer experience which breeds loyalty, affinity and evangelism. This is exponentially more critical with the COVID environment we’re in as brands are looking to rebound with their customers.”
What Customer-Centric Brands Do to Be Customer-Centric
1. They Listen
Listening to the customer is a data-driven exercise which requires inventorying datasets across the organization in order to integrate and synthesize them into a single-source environment of evidence. Allowing customer experience insight technology to do the heavy lifting is key here.
Beale bit: “With a plethora of internal data sources and external reports and studies, which generally sit in silos within various different departments, having the ability to blend and overlay them unveils powerful untapped views of the customer.”
2. They Learn
Knocking down the data silos simply by centralizing, mapping and synthesizing the data sources migrates the company towards uncovering insight into how customers interact with and are engaged by the brand and how the dimensions of each of these shift in real-time.
Beale bit: “Whilst many organizations tend to think eliminating data silos is an impossible task, it’s an exercise in inventory and integration, which is easily accomplished through innovation adoption. Merely learning that these integrated insights exist is often an epiphany for companies and a major step in becoming customer-centric.”
3. They Understand
Learning about the multitude of customer dimensions quickly evolves to understanding the attitudes, behaviors, preferences and engagements of customers and how various environmental factors from the economy to weather to COVID is affecting each of these factors. Once a brand understands it can take a major leap towards customer-centricity.
Beale bit: “As an example, overlaying datasets across sales performance, buyer surveys, advertising efficacy and product usage displays aligned multidimensional views of customer engagement, purchase, usage and sentiment which leads to actionable insight around the customer.”
4. They Teach
Once an organization starts to gain this customer understanding having the means to distribute and democratize it across the organization becomes essential. Consistency across the data with an ability to visualize it is key and can easily be achieved through customer experience insight technology which distributes customer insight access to every team.
Beale bit: “Having every team — marketing, sales, CX, product, customer support, finance, and even the C-Suite marching to the same drumbeat and empowered with the same customer experience insight is essential so that there is one evidenced, version of the truth, that everyone is working from.”
5. They Align
This deep level of insight allows the organization to align each team’s tactical decisions with the customer. This includes technology investments, support staffing and channel messaging as an example. This alignment is the foundation to delivering exceptional experiences congruent with customer attitudes, behaviors, preferences and engagements.
Beale bit: “Every department in some way touches the customer whether it is how they make a purchase, how they make payment or how they get support, so aligning each of these for maximum efficacy is a major factor in delivering effective customer experiences. This is why customer alignment only comes through widespread customer understanding.”
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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