Customers today have access to more information than ever before. It is easy for consumers to contrast and compare brands from all over the globe. We are in the era of the ‘Customer Economy’.
In other words, customers have more power than ever. They can purchase what they want from who they want. Naturally, customers are looking for the best products and the best customer service experience.
Entrepreneurs, CEOs and managers hoping to find growth in the upcoming era know this very well. However, knowing this and applying this knowledge are two different things.
Today 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences” But guess what? Only 8% of customers believe they are receiving these super experiences.
Sometimes, a bit of self-awareness is helpful.
Why You Should Be Customer-Focused
Customers are increasingly gravitating towards brands that give them what they want. This means they will abandon brands that don’t give them what they are looking for.
Image Source: Marketing Week
Having a customer-focused strategy builds trust with the customers. This increased loyalty amongst customers will reduce churn. When you are customer-focused, you will be more agile as a company. You will be able to change with the industry if and when necessary.
Putting the customer first means you know what their needs are. This means you can evolve as a business and promote positive growth.
Steps to Create Customer-Focused Management Strategies
The customer experience cannot be met by only the customer service team. The entire organization must be customer-focused. Management needs to lead from the front by insisting on fantastic customer service at all times, and providing it themselves.
Fostering this culture needs to start early. Use quality staff training to educate all team members. Cloud-based communications like RingCentral cpaas are a great way to train new staff while promoting customer-focused company culture.
When management focuses their efforts on customers, the rest of their team will follow suit. New strategies will be born out of this customer-focused culture, and everything the business does will have their customers at the heart of it.
2. Listen to the Customer
When a customer has several interactions with various departments, they may end up having to tell the same story over and over. People don’t like having to repeat themselves – it’s frustrating and annoying.
If you have a small business call centre, you should be keeping records of customer interactions. This information should be readily available to all employees. You will want data like the customer’s name, account information, and when they last contacted the company.
Using this simple data can help personalize the customer experience. Customers will feel remembered, heard, and valued. This builds trust, and encourages loyalty.
It’s not just customers who benefit here, either. This will make your customer service team happier because when the customer is happy, their job is easier.
3. Make the Customer Part of the Brand
Encourage engagement around the brand with social media, podcasts, and blog posts. Did you know 60% of Americans rely on peer-to-peer recommendations when making purchases? Take advantage of this, and build a community.
Make your customers part of the brand and increase their visibility. You could use video creation tools to show off user-generated content, or highlight their content on your social media. Before you know it, their online social circles will have access to their positive interactions with your brand.
4. Meet the Customer Where They Spend Their Time
As stated earlier, consumers are online in many different forms. Customers don’t want to work hard to reach out to a company. Meet them on social media and make your brand available. A visibility audit is useful to maximize all potential channels.
Use live event opportunities on social media for real-time interactions where large customer segments spend the majority of their time. You will want to have the resources in place to respond quickly to all customer engagement via messaging apps. Otherwise, you risk appearing unavailable to your audience, especially to smartphone app-heavy users.
Send out welcome emails to new customers and initiate engagement by pointing out all the company’s contact channels. Responding in a timely manner is also important when it comes to email. Not only can you risk losing a potential sale, but ignoring a customer can result in losing a customer indefinitely.
5. Target Your Specific Customers
So, you’ve encouraged customer engagement. You have made customer interactions easy. Now, it’s time to actively target your audience.
Use this engagement to gain valuable insights. Learn more about your customers’ needs. Take that information and develop niche products accordingly. Focus groups and influencers can be valuable sources of insight in this process.
Internal collaboration will also help you boost your customer focus. Your company culture should encourage cross-team problem-solving in order to give your customers the best service possible.
By specifically targeting your customers, your relationships will grow stronger and the cycle will repeat. Each interaction gives you more insight, and more ways to improve.
6. Reach Out and Get Feedback
Now that you have a budding relationship of earned trust with the customer, it’s time to open transparent two-way communication. Amplify the voice of the customer.
Have systems in place to get as much feedback as possible. You could send out surveys, or use predictive dialer software for outbound calls. Alternatively, utilize your online spaces. You’ve built an online community through blogs, social media, and other mediums. Begin with focusing on your most loyal and best customers and then build from there.
Take that feedback and use it to improve your products, as well as the customer journey. Solicit and act on feedback about things like the checkout experience, your email campaigns or your delivery services. All of these can improve your brand.
7. It’s All About the Data
If you’ve followed these steps so far, you’ll have a company with the right culture. You are in the right spaces and available to your customers. You are encouraging open dialog to gain feedback. Now, you need to be collecting and analyzing data. This will allow you to move towards automating your customer service.
You will no longer have to guess what the customer wants. They are telling you. Each one has a story to tell, but the data will tell you the big picture. It will tell you where to go next.
Information gleaned from this data can enable you to adjust content based on where each customer is on their journey. You can segment your customers and focus more on their specific needs. Understanding and using customer data is a great way to create a customer-focused management strategy.
Learn and Adapt
Consumers want more power when it comes to shaping the brands and products they love. They want brands that get to know them and tailor to their needs.
So listen – empower them, get to know them. You’ll soon see the benefits. Customer-focused management strategies will reward your company with reduced churn, more leads, and importantly, more conversions.
Richard Conn is the Senior Director, Search Marketing for RingCentral, a global leader in unified communications and audio conferencing solutions.
He is passionate about connecting businesses and customers and has experience working with Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Experian, Target, Nordstrom, Kayak, Hilton, and Kia.