The eight letter word “customer“, has perhaps taken the most important connotation in the recent times. Companies are increasingly turning into customer-centric organizations from being product-centric. In this transformation, they are fast acknowledging that each and every employee, vendor, supplier, and all the stakeholders of the company are actually serving the customer. In this battleground of global business, customer experience is the most sustainable differentiator and customer centricity is the only USP that makes or breaks any business. Customer experience is a metric that is more or less in the hands of the customer and how they rate it summing up all the interactions with the company and the product.
The factor that can be controlled in attempting to offer a great customer experience at all touch points between the customer and the company is customer centricity. Customer centricity is defined as the ability to interact and serve the customer keeping the customer at the core of all the activities. If that is so, then how does an organization become customer centric? How does the director to the delivery boy do everything keeping the customer in mind? This can only happen through a customer-oriented organization. Thus, how can any organization turn into a customer oriented organization is the burning topic.
It is indeed true that evolution of industry started with large scale production of goods. Today, we are in the age of the customer with every buyer being highly informed with a vast library of information. The potential customers are in fact researching about you, searching for your products, looking for your competitors, their products, and are engaged in so many activities, even before you speak to them. They are well aware of the plethora of choices at their fingertips. To attract these potential customers you need to be attentive to their needs, requirements, queries, and keep a constant vigil that they are satisfied.
For all this to happen you need an organization that throbs with the idea of satisfying the customer at all levels and in all the services, the organization renders. This is only possible if the whole organization is customer oriented. A three-step approach to convert an organization into a customer oriented one is discussed below. The first tenet of the approach is centered around the idea that customer essentially means people and organizations are run by the people. Thus, people centricity is the key to customer orientation. The next in line is to create a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) and allow the entire organization to throb with it. The third is to create a culture of customer orientation and see that customer orientation and engagement happens at all levels. Mentioned below, are the steps to follow to build a customer-oriented organization.
People Centricity – The key to customer orientation
As organizations are made up of people, their values constitute the values of the organization. People who are more humane with empathy and compassion should be recruited in the first place. They can then be trained to become more customer-oriented and empathetic to customers’ needs. The staff empowerment is important so that each employee has the power to resolve the customers’ problems and issues. Coordination between the employees of different departments is essential for the information to flow and for cooperation in work for the resolution of issues. The climate of the organization should allow experimentation and there should be openness and genuineness in the organization’s culture. It should be ensured that the employees are treated well as they would eventually treat the customer well if they, themselves are treated well. There should be periodic training and assessment of the performance of the employees, facing the customers and the frontline employees.
Creating a customer value proposition (CVP)
The customer value proposition (CVP) should be decided at the board level defining the benefits that you bring to the customer or promise to deliver to the customer. Promising is easy but to keep it, is difficult, as often said. Thus, each department heads should propose what values they can add in delivering the CVPs to the customer. Organizations should reward the employees or departments who walk the extra mile to drive extra value to the customer. Methods have to be devised in order to find out and listen to the customers’ voice and a system has to be in place to attend to the voices of the customers. Not only the frontline staff, but the whole organization has to support in this endeavor and has to offer their value adds in this process. The organization leaders should be the torchbearers of this movement of customer orientation and should lead from the front.
Customer centricity and engagement
In order to satisfy the customer at all the touch points before and after the sale, the whole organization has to vibrate with the idea of value addition to the customer. If the customer has to be engaged and satisfied the most, the teams should coordinate among each other and discuss the problems and issues faced, in order to improve processes and practices. This kind of a culture of openness, proactivity, authenticity, and experimentation to improve the services rendered has to be brought about by constant monitoring and engagement of the right employees at the right job. If the organization is a happy organization with the right HRD practices implementing the effective techniques of customer orientation, the performance metrics of an organization is bound to improve with the birth of a winning organization. The simple reason is, it is the customers who would make the organization win.