Customer Focus Part 3 of 4: Customer Focus in Practice. Putting the customer first, the customer is king, the customer is always right. You know them; tiling wisdoms that are gladly used by coaches, trainers or consultants during expensive projects in an attempt to improve the organization. Yet working customer-oriented does not have to mean that you always have to please every customer. It doesn't have to be that complex. Nor is improving your customer focus something that can only be afforded by large companies. It really can be quite simple.
Ask the customer
Ask the customer. It's that simple. Customer-centric work always starts with setting up a feedback loop. Customer-centric work presupposes that you want to know what your customers want, expect and how they experience being customers. The essence of customer-centric working is that you simply ask them that and use the input you get from that.
An ongoing feedback loop has the advantage that you constantly see the results of the improvement trajectories that have been deployed. In our extensive experience doing such surveys for various clients, we see the surprisingly fast results this method achieves. Every month, based on the results of the previous month, we implement improvement actions together. What you also achieve is that you secure support within the organization because the successes are visible and tangible.
Set concrete and realistic goals
Based on an ongoing feedback survey, each month you can determine what you want to achieve next month. What do we need to do this month to achieve higher customer ratings next month? What do we need to do now to get fewer questions about incorrect invoices next month? The moment you ask your customer these questions, you immediately have the right input for the improvement process. A customer feedback survey thus becomes a flexible tool with which you measure what you really want to know at that moment.
The potential for improvement generally lies in process improvements. Making process changes takes time. For example, do customers call often because their invoice is incorrect? Then, to make this billing process more customer-centric, you will need to go deeper. What is not correct, or is it correct but the communication around the invoice is not clear. Two completely different steps in that process that if you don't probe further lead to the same customer questions. To improve such a process, you need good customer feedback and a good translation of that input into process improvements. We see that with such complex processes, improvements and their results are not visible in the first month.
Celebrate the successes
Because processes often cross departments and business units, it is important to share and celebrate successes. Often there is no process owner because processes are cut into pieces. It is then difficult to get all owners of sub-processes equally enthusiastic and especially: to keep them enthusiastic. It is therefore important to share successes and achieved results in a way that is tangible for all involved.
In short: Keep it simple, but don't underestimate customer-centricity. Ensure support within the organization and keep everyone involved. You can achieve this by showing concrete successes. Set concrete, realistic goals and share and celebrate the resulting successes!
Do you want to be more customer-centric? Please contact us.
Did you know that it outsource your customer service has some greater advantages? Read them here
Want to read more?
Read part 3 here: Customer-oriented work in practice
Read Part 4 here: What does customer-centric work yield?
SpangenbergGroup is a specialist in customer contact. We support organizations in optimizing customer contact. Do you have questions about customer-oriented work or other aspects of customer contact? Get in touch with us!