The success of a business is measured by its bottom line profitability and the number of satisfied customers. Although these two factors seem contradictory at first glance, they are heavily interrelated. Businesses often think that providing enhanced customer experiences requires a lot of financial resources, which escalate costs. However, industry leaders like Amazon and Zappos have demonstrated that providing quality customer service experience is the only long term option for achieving a stable market position in this fiercely competitive world. Why Focus on Customer Centricity?
In the early 80’s the belief was “it’s not personal, it’s business” while today’s business motto is “it’s personal, it’s your business”. That’s the importance of customer centricity.
If you look at most industry leaders who have entered a recession proof zone (for example Coke, Amazon, Starbucks), you will see that they are all customer centric. There are two reasons for this. First, customer expectation levels are constantly rising while their attention span and loyalty is fast dwindling. Secondly, consumer groups are splitting as customers grow more and more diverse with specific needs and stronger likes and dislikes.
As a business, you have to constantly train your front line to deliver superior customer experiences to regain loyalty and prevent “customer flight”. Customer flight or customer deflection is no longer limited to individual experiences but leads to user flights in groups because of negative word of mouth.
There can be no valid comparison between system driven and customer driven businesses simply because a system centric approach is not sufficient anymore. The strength of a brand is now directly reflected in its service value to consumers and vice versa. This explains why more and more businesses are designing customer centric business systems and interaction flows, tailor made to fit their target groups and gain long term brand loyalty.
Features of a customer centric approach
With the expansion of social media and mobile technology, customers take their business with them and inform themselves “on the fly”. In simple terms, this means businesses need to be ready to answer their customers, anywhere, anytime. Customers expect to be served everywhere; at the call center, at the store, in social media channels or on their mobile phone. You would think this would suffice. But, no. With the technological advancements of today, your customers expect even more. It’s not just about being there. It’s about doing it right. Organizations should adopt the proper customer service technologies that are tailor made to fit to their business, transforming it into an agile customer centric enterprise. The popularity of smart phone adoption across the globe is a great example for this.
Mobile customer service – Getting customer centricity right
Over 1 billion people in the world own a Smartphone*. This opens endless opportunities for organizations to adopt a customer centric model. Properly designed, the Smartphones can be leveraged to enhance the – customer experience:
1. Visual IVR – Allows your customers to avoid the dreadful Visual Interactive Voice Response experience which generally involves multiple questions and endless options designed to confuse the caller. With visual IV/jacada-visual-ivr-is-the-vendor-agnostic-instant-app-equivalent/R the customer helps himself by directly interacting with the inbuilt system. Customers can solve their queries faster, inbound call volumes are reduced and satisfaction levels are increased.
2. Customer centric interactions – Adopt a simplified design mechanism that will enable you to maintain an agile environment. You want to be able to easily develop dynamic interactions that will enable your customer to leverage this self service channel to its fullest. On the other hand, business dynamics, goals, and strategies quickly change these days, so business agility has become the order of the day.
3. Seamless connection to the call center services – Recent mobile technology enables a seamless connection from the phone to the agent at the call center. The customer does not have to be bothered about repeated information queries such as account details and reasons for calling. He/she can also schedule call-backs at convenient time slots.
4. Enhanced consumer experience – Allow your customers to leverage smartphone features when engaging with you: camera, GPS etc. This allows users to solve harder questions and appreciate the interaction more.
5. Real Time data – Enable real time integration to your back end systems. This means you are providing your customer a real time experience with up to date data. This also means that your customer doesn’t have to wait for an agent to search through his database before accessing the required information.
6. Channel duplication – The optimal interactions you designed for your mobile app, should be easily duplicated across other channels such as the web, voice, chat and social media. This not only saves costs for your organization but also enables your customers to enjoy a consistent customer experience, regardless of the channel he chooses to start or finish his interactions in.
*Strategic Analytics, Oct 17th 2012 released figures
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.