Inspiration cannot be rushed as a true romantic artist would tell you. It comes as a flash and the artist then brings it to life. In a more realistic work environment, however, one needs to work to be productive. Creating a body of work cannot depend upon a flash of inspiration. It is about discipline, hard work and problem solving. If one sits and waits for the perfect idea, it may be extremely difficult to create anything. However, constantly working and improving can result in an impressive body of work some day. This same theory is applicable to customer centricity as well. Customer centricity is something that never happens overnight. It needs continuous effort, work and dedication.
To build a customer-centric culture at a company, one needs to have the ability to live with process and incremental improvement. Each body of work, each problem, every strategy gets you closer to he goal as well as uncovers new projects and actions and challenges. Customer-centricity essentially requires 5 steps, which are given as follows:
1. Commit to Change
Customer-centric culture requires commitment at all levels of any business, which essentially means that every department of the business has to be prepared, and empowered, to make changes in order to enhance the customer experience. Buy-in from leadership is the crucial here. Your leadership approaches towards reviewing metrics, taking action, and supporting employees are of great significance and have the power to make or break the entire effort. In your efforts to become more customer-centric, you might come across various ugly issues and may have to face a few harsh business realities. The right commitment and attitude towards these challenges can turn them into either dead-ends or opportunities for improvement.
2. Decide on Your Ideal Customer
Your business cannot be viewed equally to everyone. Instead of focusing on every type of customer, it makes more sense to focus on those who who consider your ideal customers. This step is important and should not be skipped on your journey to customer-centricity. To put it simply, you need to know who your best and most loyal customers are, what issues they face and how you can ensure a smoother experience for them.
3. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Gathering customer feedback through surveys, interviews, or focus groups can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. One must collect customer feedback and suggestions in various circumstances, including after key transactions at events, or when customers unsubscribe from your email list. The feedback assists you to discover the small issues as well as the more complex ones and address them immediately.
4. Taking Action
Once you have identified the pain points in your business, the next step is to address them effectively. Issues that need immediate attention should be dealt with first. Issues that are more complex and diverse should be taken on in stages, in accordance with the flexibility of the business.
5. Smile and Repeat
To relate it to creativity, each action is a new project or a new body of work. At the start of the journey, it is easy to take actions and note the progress. But as you move ahead, the impact caused by each action may differ.
This is where Step 1 (Committing to Change) comes back into play. Customer-centric cultures are not built overnight. They require continuous time, work, and discipline.
This is not meant as a discouragement but rather as an opportunity to acknowledge your small victories, and the employees who achieved them. Because of the collective nature of culture, every accolade, every great story, and every lesson learned can be fuel to get you closer to customer centricity. And at the end of a road of focused action, one day, you may just look back and realize that you’re where you had wanted to go.