Saying that your company has a strong customer orientation is fashionable these days. However, as in everything in this life, there is a difference between saying and actually doing.
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%, believe that the customers themselves also agree.
Customer orientation, the real thing, comes back in big profits. When you look at companies that truly follow this approach you may think of Zappos, Buffer, Amazon or even American Express. These are just 4 examples, but they are brands with a strong customer focus and have been rather successful, to say the least. The bottom line is that customer orientation certainly pays off.
The obvious question is, therefore, why do companies struggle to have a strong customer orientation? Let’s go to the slightly more complex question. If customer orientation is profitable, why don’t companies focus more on their customers’ wants and needs?
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.
There are indeed many companies with a customer orientation in some of their main areas including sales, support, and marketing. 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.
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.
So what does a customer-centric company look like? Companies, where this approach is executed in all departments, do not just 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 our customers? In fact, many of these organisations go further and wonder how every change will affect each type of customer. Because, although all customers are important, some are more important than others (not that you would ever tell them that!) To take this approach, the company must focus on data. This is where it all begins.
How to implement a customer-oriented culture?
In order for your organisation to embody this culture, it needs to meet 4 main characteristics:
- Democratise customer information
- Facilitate customer interaction
- Link 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. Not only ask questions but listen. This, which is common in support departments, has to be the general tone of the whole business. To achieve this we have two recommendations:
- Define and segment your customers and then personalise all activities. Who are they, what problems do they have, what do they need?
- The entire company must be involved at some point in customer service. Meaning everyone must know how to be attentive and respond to customer needs.
Democratise Customer Information
It is common for a company to accumulate information about its customers in a CRM and the information stays there. Stagnant. Not necessarily available to everyone. And that in itself is a mistake. All customer information must be 100% accessible to the company, and everyone must be involved in solving customer problems to give them a complete understanding.
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, the right CRM – like Efficy per se? Efficy offers a CRM that is flexible to an organisation’s needs and helps decentralise and take data out of silos.
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. Provide customers with all possible options to get in touch. To expose problems and ask for solutions. For anything. Personalise their customer experience. And for that, there are several nifty sales tools:
- In-app messages
- Social networks
- Telephone numbers
- Physical mail and letters
Whatever it takes!
Linking Customer Satisfaction to Results
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 Net Promoter Score (NPS).
What is the NPS and how to use it in your business? Well, one key to this approach is a CRM that suits your organisation. The best one for this task is Efficy. That’s why more than 13,500 customers around the world trust us.
Don’t miss out, book a free demo today.