The way businesses used to operate ten years back has completely changed now. The primary reason for it is that the customers' expectations from businesses are much higher today.
Thanks to the internet and the free flow of information it brings, customers are now well-informed and updated with the latest trends.
They, therefore, can analyze a business on many fronts - such as, analyzing its products, services, and the customers -experience it provides.
Additionally, cutthroat competition makes it necessary for a business to satisfy a customer's needs completely. And to do so, businesses must be customer-focused.
But, more importantly, your customers should feel that you put them first!
According to Forbes, 89% of companies are competing primarily based on customer experience. As a business owner, your job is not just to create a customer-focused approach but also to ensure your customers agree that your business is customer-focused. Moreover, 80% of the companies believe they offer the best experiences to their customers, while only 8% of customers hold the same opinion.
When you say your business is customer-focused, it means you have put customers' experiences above everything else. So, in simple words the customer focus definition is to keep the customers first.
Customer-focused businesses create a company culture dedicated to enhancing customer satisfaction and building strong customer relationships.
The main objective is to satisfy the needs of the customers across the entire customer journey - from purchase to post-sales.
Elaborating on the customer focus definition brings us to an important point. A customer-focused business is not only created by the sales and support team. It is a value that everyone shares in the business.
To ensure your business is customer-focused, every department ranging from sales and marketing, accounting and billing, to customer service, and the rest must share this common goal of keeping the customer first! A customer-focused business conveys its core values and wants its customers to perceive them across all departments.
While customer service skills are a prime factor in customer focus, customer-focused businesses show that the business defines the customer experience at each customer journey. Here are the cross-department customer focus examples:
There is no second thought that the success of any business is attributed to customers. But, if you have not realized it so far, it is time to acknowledge the power customers hold.
Many real life customer focus examples tell us that customers have the power to make any CEO leave their position or any business to close. Whether you will become a successful business or not depends on whether your customers are happy doing business with you or not.
Businesses need to have a working model where they are as close to customers as possible.
When you are close to customers, you are better positioned to understand them and their needs. Once you know what your customers want, half the battle is won. Conversely, if you have no close interaction with your customers, the chances of failure are much higher.
According to Business Dictionary, "The importance of customer focus cannot be overemphasized. It is the prime determinant of the success or failure of an organization."
Customer Focus helps you look into the details of your customers' needs and wants. Once you start taking care of these small details related to your customers, you start creating value for them. And this makes them feel that your business focuses on customers first and then everything else.
A customer-focused strategy is primarily customer-based and created to achieve and provide a better experience to customers. To create a customer focus strategy, you need two elements - Compromise and intention. The first thing is you need to intend to achieve the goal and a list of ideas to follow.
Now let us see the top 10 ways to make your business customer-focused:
1. Be clear with what you communicate to your customers
When you or any organization member is talking with a customer, it is very important to give clear and correct information to the customers.
For example, you may tell your customer the order will reach you soon. Does it help the customer in any way? Soon can be a day or a week, and you should always specify it.
Clear communication should be maintained across the customer journey from marketing campaigns to selling the products and also post sales. If your customer gets the hint that you or any of your team members is not 100% true to what they say then your business is at the risk of losing customer trust instantly.
2. Anticipate hidden needs
The point is to read between the lines and be patient.
Sometimes the customers are not aware of what exactly they want or what more they need. Since you are an expert in selling products while interacting with customers, you should try to figure out what the customer is exactly looking for.
Ask them their exact needs. What are the specifications they are looking for? Have they used a certain kind of product before?
These questions will surely help you help them buy the things they don't clearly know they want.
This will surely boost customer satisfaction along with acquiring new customers and getting massive sales.
3. Do the Time Zone Math
This may sound commonsensical. But it's not always paid heed to and can dent your customer experience.
For instance, if you're in Phoenix, should you greet a customer from Atlanta good morning when it's 10 AM your time, but they are three hours ahead?
The answer is -- Good afternoon!
Be proactive about the time zone your customer is calling from and interact accordingly.
When we do this time zone math before, it makes things easier for our customers by working out the math, so they don't have to. For instance, if you are sitting in Phoenix and have to arrange a call back with your customer from Atlanta, you should say that you'll call them back at 3 PM their time. This will keep them from wondering whose 3 PM you're talking about and will also make you not call them earlier (at your time).
4. Make them feel heard
When a customer query has been escalated or transferred to a different agent, the last thing you can do is to ask them to repeat the entire query.
If the customer has to repeat the same query, again and again, they will not only feel annoyed but also ignored and not heard! So to ensure this does not happen with your customers, you have to ensure they feel they are being heard and that you know them and their concerns.
To achieve this, invest in customer experience and support tools like shared inbox, automatic dialer software, CRM software, etc. These tools will enable increased collaboration.
With them, you can take notes and also tag your team members while interacting with the customer. So that when the conversation is related to your peers, they will have all the specific and contextual information to serve the customers better. Finally, this makes them feel heard and important.
5. Focus on Customer Retention
Every organization knows that acquiring customers is harder than customer retention. However, when you have a customer-focused business model, your customer retention endeavors will be benefited the most.
This is because customer retention offers you more touchpoints and opportunities than customer acquisition. For instance, post-sales support and the longevity and quality of your products and services.
To know how well you are doing in customer retention, you can check your churn rate, existing customer growth rate, repeat purchase rate, and similar other factors.
6. Keep an eye on customer-focused metrics to meet your company goals
Creating goals and implementing goals does not necessarily mean your business is customer-focused or if it is not, the same will continue in the future. It would help if you tracked specific metrics to understand how well you are doing.
Based on the analysis, you can refine your strategies and add new ideas to improve your customers' experience. It won't be easy to maintain a customer-centric culture without measurable data to analyze.
You can use metrics like the ones mentioned below to measure your progress:
· Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
· Customer Equity
· CLV by channel
· Net promoter score
7. Work on the Customer Feedback
When you create a customer-focused strategy, you want to know what services or products will make their life easier.
This requires you to interact with your customers regularly, understand their pain points and then address them.
Most of the time, businesses take the feedback from the customers but fail to implement them. Doing just half the work won't make your business customer-focused.
Once customers realize their pain is not only noted but also worked upon, they will label your business as customer-focused.
8. Make it your company culture
As mentioned earlier, when we talk of customer-focused, every department of the company is doing it. If you implement it in only one or two areas, it won't fulfill the purpose.
Customer-focused practices should be part of every department, and every employee should know the importance of it. For this to happen, you have to create a culture within the organization where every team member adopts these values. The result of your culture should be visible to the customers. Include your values on the onboarding process and ensure even the new team member is clear about it from day 1.
9. Invest in your employees
If customer satisfaction is an important factor for business growth, so is the employee's strength. When you focus on training your employees regularly on a different aspect of business, their interaction with business will be reflected when they interact with customers.
For instance, if you train your employees to be better sales representatives and be customer-focused , it will benefit you as a business at the end of the day.
With so much competition now, the only distinguishing factor for businesses is to be customer-focused. For that, every business has to come up with a customer-focused strategy and ensure it is implemented. This will give them an edge over their competition. The ‘customer comes first’ approach will build a loyal customer base which is the key to success. Businesses should consider their customer-centricity and the customer-centric nature of others that make up the supply chain network. We hope with this article your business will become a customer focus example to look up to.
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