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Embarking on a journey to transform your organization into a customer-centric entity can be exhilarating. However, the lure of countless possibilities for enhancement can be a bit much. In fact, striving to focus on all opportunities for increasing customer-centricity leads quickly to focusing on none in particular. Adopting a targeted approach is better when initiating a customer-centricity or customer experience improvement initiative in your company.
Here are five key areas which, if addressed, can yield significant benefits.
1. Identify customer obstacles and points of customer discomfort
Identify any areas within your product, processes or business model that hinder customers from fully appreciating what you offer. This could involve experiencing your company’s services firsthand. For instance, try reaching out to your company via your web forms — do you receive a timely response? Any response at all? Are barriers preventing easy access to your customer service online or on your physical premises?
Depending, in part, on the scale of your business, there could be a dramatic benefit to harnessing the power of technology for this task. Tools like Eureka from CallMiner present an innovative solution here. Its ability to record and transcribe all customer dialogues transforms these conversations into a textual format that can be analyzed offline. This form of data-driven approach empowers you to identify opportunities and navigate through risks that require immediate attention. By integrating such technology into your operations, you’ll increase customer-centricity and harvest valuable insights about your customers’ mindsets.
2. Put in place a framework for Service Recovery (working with upset customers)
Many more organizations are adept at doing business when there’s no confrontation involved, but many fewer are good at managing conflicts and disappointments. And this latter skill is one that great customer-centric companies apart. These companies have service recovery frameworks in place, ensuring their employees are equipped to handle upset customers. Whether it’s Marriott’s LEARN framework, Starbucks’ LATTE method or my very own MAMA technique for service recovery, having a structure to navigate conflict can prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed when dealing with unhappy customers.
3. Review and improve your customer service style and language
Service style encompasses all the minor details that can often be overlooked: how customers react to visual cues, lighting, scents, typography, etc. Above all, your language plays a crucial role. A brand is not truly customer-centric until it adopts a customer-friendly style of communication at all levels.
I can’t stress this point enough: A crucial component of your brand identity lies in how you communicate with your customers. This is why, when I’m consulting with organizations to enhance their customer-centricity, one of the first areas we focus on is establishing a consistent and appealing style of service speech.
Implementing a distinct and consistent service speech style throughout your organization doesn’t happen by magic. It requires careful planning and strategic execution, which I like to call ‘social engineering.’ This involves systematic training of your team members. For instance, consider you have handpicked ten talented salespeople for your new luxury jewelry boutique. You’ve invested in their professional attire, ensured they look the part with stylish haircuts and motivated them to embody your brand’s persona. However, without proper training, they will likely interact with customers like they do at home.
Fortunately, engineering a company-wide style of speech can be an uplifting and collective effort. With the right approach, there’s no need for overly stringent rules or forceful actions. Once everyone in the organization grasps the purpose of these language guidelines, it transforms into an exciting challenge rather than a burdensome task. The positive customer reactions and the shared sense of accomplishment foster a rewarding atmosphere. Consequently, promoting this concept across the company may prove to be a relatively smooth process.
4. Survey your current customer experience for what you’re doing right (and don’t want to lose in the future accidentally)
There may be aspects of your product or service delivery that are already particularly customer-centric, sometimes in ways that you may not have paid a lot of conscious attention to. It’s essential to keep an ear out for these critical interactions so they don’t get overlooked in future iterations or process revamps. For instance, consider a long-standing receptionist who has formed personal connections with numerous customers. While this might seem like an inefficiency to you, replacing such a beloved figure with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system could negatively impact your customer relationships.
5. Look for missing elements
It’s also crucial to identify any elements that your customers are unable to find within your offerings. Are customers having to manipulate your products or processes to suit their needs? If yes, this could allow you to design the perfect product or process.
In conclusion, transforming your organization into a customer-centric entity is not about tackling all opportunities for improvement simultaneously. Instead, it involves focusing on key areas — obstacles and discomfort, conflict resolution, service style and language, successful touchpoints and missing elements—that can significantly enhance the customer experience. By adopting a targeted and strategic approach, you can ensure that your journey toward customer-centricity is effective and rewarding.