Customer focus: What is customer focus?

In this four-part blog, we talk all about customer centricity. What is customer centricity, why is it important or not, how do you make sure you are customer centric and what does it cost and/or what does it deliver. In Part 1, we will take a closer look at what customer centricity really is.

Customer focus or customer friendliness?

First, it is important to name the difference between customer focus and customer friendliness. Even though the terms are related there is a difference. Customer Friendliness is often an expression of customer focus but a customer-friendly company is far from always being customer-oriented. Customer friendliness is more about manners; are we friendly to our customers, do we treat them as we should? However, it does not say anything about whether you as a company, design your business and your business processes to the wants and or needs of your customer.

An example to illustrate the difference:

One of our official relations has a somewhat complex way of processing changes. To communicate a simple change, a form must be downloaded, filled out and then sent through the mail. This institution communicates that in an extremely friendly way to people who have questions about it. Customers are usually understanding, especially after a friendly explanation from the employee.

In this case, customer friendliness is in order. Customers in this case rated contact with the service department an 8. Yet the example is anything but customer-oriented. A customer-oriented company would provide a customer-friendly process in addition to friendly communication. So making a change as easy and pleasant as possible for the customer.

By the way, you often see that businesses that are customer-centric are often also customer-friendly.

What is customer focus?

Dozens of definitions of customer focus circulate on the Internet. Yet they generally don't quite cover it. It is often about paying attention to customers, listening to customers, putting customers first, etc. We see customer focus rather as a business philosophy in which the wishes and needs of (potential) customers are central to everything you do. Customer focus is that little man who raises his finger at every decision and consultation and says: "What do our customers gain from this?".

Channel selection customer service

Thus, our definition of customer focus is: Customer focus is the extent to which an organization puts customer needs first and the extent to which business processes are aligned with we customer needs. In doing so, it is necessary to have continuous insight into how customers experience the service and in what areas products, services, service, and business processes can be further tailored to the customer, customer needs and customer experience,

Customer focus is the customer first pose. That doesn't mean, especially exclaiming that you are customer-centric, that you are customer-focused. No, it stands for knowing your customer and making sure that you meet the customer's wants and needs.

Does being customer-centric mean always meeting all customer needs?

No, it doesn't. Commercial companies in particular need to look critically at their customers. After all, not every customer is equally interesting. In fact, being customer-centric also means being able to sell "no." No, the moment you simply cannot meet the wants or needs of a particular customer or customer groups. That too is customer focus, being honest about what you can and cannot do. By the way, this does not always have to do with the profitability of certain customers or customer groups. Let's face it, some customers just whine, or rather have a certain set of expectations that you as a company have trouble meeting. So customer focus also means saying to those groups: "We cannot provide what you would like, you may be in a better place with another supplier."

From the outside in

The moment you decide (reasons for wanting to or not wanting to come in part 2 and 4 In order to improve customer focus, you have to redesign your processes to meet the needs of your customers. So that means you have to start a dialogue with your customers and start a process in which you are constantly adapting your operations and business processes to a constantly changing market and customer needs. Customer focus is therefore not a project that is finished. Your customers change and so the way you can meet their needs is also constantly changing.

We discuss the importance of customer focus further in the next section, in part 3 focuses on customer-centric working in practice. Part 4 finally deals with the costs and benefits of customer-centric work.

Want to read more?

Read part 2 here: The importance of customer focus

Read part 3 here: Customer-oriented work in practice

Read Part 4 here: What does customer-centric work yield?

About SpangenbergGroup

We can help you make sure your customer service is good customer service. Just good customer service where the basics are in order. Where customer contacts add value to the customer experience. We relieve you in the area we are good at (customer service) so you can concentrate worry-free on what you do best. Sound good? Get in touch. You can use this form.