Saying that your company has a strong customer orientation is fashionable.
In fact, it is even fashionable to say that your department, within your company, has a strong customer orientation.
However, as in everything in this life, from saying to doing, there is a stretch.
As much as companies have boasted about adopting this approach for the past 20 years, the fact is that various studies indicate that only 14% of marketing specialists recognise customer focus as a distinction in their company.
And only 11%, three points less believe that the customers themselves see it that way about themselves.
The obvious question is therefore:
Why do companies struggle to have a strong customer orientation?
The answer is obvious:
Customer orientation, the real thing, comes back in big profits.
When I think of companies that really have this approach, it comes to mind:
- American Express
These are just 4 examples, but they are brands with a strong customer focus and have been very successful.
The bottom line is that customer orientation certainly pays off.
Let’s go now to a slightly more complex question.
If customer orientation is profitable, why don’t companies get it?
The truth is that there are multiple factors why most companies that claim to be customer-oriented fail to do so.
However, there is one barrier, the most common one, that stands out above all.
You need to have a customer-centric organisational culture.
And it is difficult and atypical.
It is true that there are many companies with a customer orientation in some of their areas:
The classic departments that are in close contact with the customer and on which their results and salaries depend particularly directly.
However, in other areas of the business there are far fewer incentives to have this orientation.
And in the company, what is not encouraged, is rarely developed.
So if you want to implement a strong customer orientation in your business, in the same way as giants like AMEX or Buffer do, you have to understand what these companies are like and how to put it into practice yourself.
What does a customer-centric company look like?
Companies where this approach permeates all sides do not say that they put the customer at the centre of their operations.
They simply do.
This means that, in all departments, before making a decision, someone at some point asks: how will this affect customers?
In fact, many of these organisations go further and wonder how any change will affect each type of customer.
Because, as we discussed in this article, although all customers are important, some are more important than others.
In order to take this approach, the company must necessarily focus on data.
This is where it all begins.
How to implement a customer-oriented culture?
In order to imbue your organisation with this culture, you need to meet 4 characteristics:
- Democratize customer information
- Facilitate customer interaction
- Linking customer satisfaction to results
For a company to be empathetic, its employees must be able to identify a customer’s needs when they communicate with them, understand the reasons for them and respond appropriately.
This, which is common in support departments, has to be the general tone of the whole business.
To achieve this, 2 recommendations:
- You have to define people with the most typical avatars of each client and develop them. Who are they, what problems do they have, what do they need…
- The entire company must be involved at some point in customer service. Especially, the attention to customers with problems.
Democratize customer information
It is common for a company to accumulate information about its customers in a CRM… and the information stays there. Stagnant.
And it is a mistake.
All customer information must be 100% accessible to the company, and everyone must be involved in solving their problems.
In addition, when someone is involved in solving a customer problem, they should not contact support to inform the user. You must do so yourself.
The key to making all this possible is, of course, a CRM.
Facilitating customer interaction
Some companies make an effort to hide their telephone number so that they are not disturbed.
The aim should be the opposite. To provide customers with all possible options to get in touch. To expose problems and ask for solutions. For anything.
And for that, there are lots of sales tools:
- In-app messages (if using any software)
- Social networks
- Telephone numbers
- Postal addresses
- Whatever it takes, go
Linking customer satisfaction to results
Already at the university, a professor told me:
What are not stories, are stories.
It seems like a sentence without much content, but it is not.
The truth is that what cannot be measured does not exist. Nor is there any room for improvement.
And that applies fully to the customer orientation.
If you want managers and directors to be motivated to implement this kind of approach, make it work for them.
To measure this indirectly, the easiest way is through a NPS.
If you want to know more about it, you can read this article:
And as we have seen throughout the article, the key to this approach is a CRM
And the best one for this task is Efficy.
That’s why more than 4,500 customers in 33 countries trust us.
If you also want to try it, you can do it now.
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