So why is it important? What is the importance of customer focus? Many studies show that customer-focused companies are more successful than those that are not. The main reason for this is that, as a company, you have to be there for your customers and not for yourself. Customers notice this in everything. There are some great examples of companies that experienced explosive growth because they really put the customer first in everything they do. The moment you start with what your customer wants and start shaping your organization from there, putting the customer first is a way of thinking that cuts across everything.
We visit many companies. What we see very often are monstrosities of processes that are simply because we have been doing it that way for years... Processes that have arisen from a certain way of working that is mainly internally oriented. A way of working in which the customer experience plays no role whatsoever. A process that is designed for what the organization needs, is used to or likes is usually not the most customer-oriented process. Designing a customer-centric process starts from the customer: what does the customer want/expect? What does he need? From there you start shaping a process.
A practical example to illustrate:
An extreme example you might say, yet we often encounter this kind of thing in practice. The simple process of communicating an address change in this case can be so much more customer-oriented. Customers need to be able to do this online or at least by phone; make this possible. Simple customer-tailored processes make the customer feel that it is all about him, that the organization of which he is a customer is thinking about what he wants and how he experiences being a customer. All this contributes to a positive customer experience.
In a customer satisfaction survey we conducted for a client, we found that customers were calling remarkably often to report a change of address. They wanted to pass on a change of address by phone, which turned out not to be possible. A form had to be downloaded, printed out, filled out, signed and then sent through the mail. It turned out that even customers who had seen this on the website still called to pass it on by telephone because they assumed that this must be possible nowadays.
Traditional ways of differentiating yourself from the competition matter less and less. Do you remember the 5 Ps? Which of these is really still applicable to differentiate yourself from your customer for a long time? Price? There is always someone who can do it cheaper. Place? With a huge increase in online purchases in recent years, place no longer matters. You can order just about anything you want on your smartphone or tablet and anywhere you want. Organizations that are successful distinguish themselves by aligning their products, services, and ways of working with what the customer expects. A quote that summarizes this is that of the founder of Amazon: "We're not competitor obsessed, we're customer obsessed. We start with the customer and we work backwards.". A strategy that has not hurt Amazon.
And you, are you a customer of your insurance because they are the cheapest? Or are you a customer with your insurance because they don't give you a hard time in a claim case? I myself am a loyal customer with my insurance because they put me first, my needs, my lifestyle and my desires. Frankly, I have absolutely no need to even compare the price with the competitor anymore. That is the importance of customer focus is important. As an organization, it sets you apart in the long run.
Indeed, this is often the case. So the importance of customer focus is also in terms of cost. We stay with the example of insurance. The other day I called with a small claim. In a pleasant conversation, the insurance employee and I came to the conclusion that the damage was about Euro 150. To my surprise, the employee then said, I will transfer this amount to you right away, and we will handle it immediately. I was satisfied, but probably so was the insurance company. To build up a file for such a claim, to send in experts and to evaluate the damage reports would probably have cost a multiple of those 150 Euros.
Another way customer-centricity can save costs is that customer-centric processes lead to less unnecessary customer contact. Customer contact is valuable, just not when it's about issues that could have been avoided. For example, questions about an invoice that is incorrect or inaccurate. These are not exactly the customer contacts that you as an organization are waiting for. Neither does your customer. You avoid these kinds of unnecessary contacts by aligning the invoicing process with what your customer wants. That means that the invoices are correct, in line with what the customer expects (expectation management) and that the explanation accompanying the invoice immediately removes any questions or ambiguities. This prevents customers from calling about such issues. It also ensures that there is more room for valuable customer contact, and less time and therefore money is spent on answering questions that are prevented and it ensures less frustration for your customer.
In short, the importance of customer focus is: Customer focus increases both your distinctiveness and your customer satisfaction, reduces the cost of (unnecessary) customer contact and gives more room for valuable customer contact.
We are SpangenbergGroup! And we can help you make your customer service an good customer service to make. 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.
With over 25 years of experience in the field of optimizing customer contact and customer experience SpangenbergGroup can help you. The optimize customer service or outsource? Use the form or see our contact page.
Also with other questions about customer contact and customer service you can always contact with us!
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