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Customer Centricity: the devil lies in the details

Acidaes SolutionsAugust, 2011

Executive Summary

The purpose of this whitepaper is to help readers understand the importance of customer-centricity in todays's highly competitive and constantly evolving business landscape. It aims to remove any misconceptions and guide you to achieving true customer-centricity.

Evolving from being a product-centric to an organization oriented towards its customers needs and behavior is the key to delivering better products and services. Recording information at customer interaction points and redesigning products to make them more profitable without related external inputs will hinder performance. Products and services need to be designed collaboratively- based on opinions, feedback and suggestions shared by customers and stakeholders.

The benifits of customer-centricity are manifold - curb customer churn, deliver superior products and services,boost customer loyalty,optimize marketing through customers word-of-mouth,generate accurate reports plus much more.

An introduction to Customer Centricity

This decade's prominent trend is to be customercentric and is often viewed as a one-off initiative rather than the correct way to do business, misleading organizations into believing they are truly customer-centric. Very often companies are misled into believing that by using customer facing applications they are being "customer centric".

Businesses worldwide have evolved from selling 'off-the-shelf' products and focusing on productcentricity to delivering personalized services and focusing on customers. The truth is that there is a widespread quest for customer-centricity, but most organizations are not true practitioners. As a result, they have little insight into what motivated their customers to buy their products and even less information about their needs and aspirations moving forward.

A customer centric organization has an accurate understanding of what their customers value and what this represents for their bottom line. Their products and services are constantly improving and incorporate the needs and convenience of their various customers. Operating models are aligned behind a carefully defined and quantified customer segmentation strategy and tailor their business streams (product development, demand generation, supply chain, customer care, etc.) to deliver maximum value to their best customers for the lowest cost. However, to deliver results and genuine value to customers, companies need to be uncompromising & make dramatic organizational changes.

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Reasons that advocate businesses to be customer centric

  • Boost revenues by understanding customer needs for products and services
  • Enhance customer loyalty through actionable customer insights
  • Bring product innovations by considering customers' needs
  • Increase wallet-share by maximizing customer longevity and lifetime value
  • Price products to maintain a competitive advantage
  • Understand future aspirations and needs for designing new products
  • Develop customer intuition for an early advantage
  • Offer relevant advice and quick solutions
  • To increase popularity through word-of-mouth on social media
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7 steps towards customer centricity

Is your business strategy customer focused?

Your business strategy should be clearly articulated and involve customer strategies that are supported by organizational, business process and technology enablers. A CRM solution can only be effective when properly deployed with winning strategies that have incorporated the best interests of the organization's customers and help to improve relationships.

Are you segmenting your customers based on their profitability and their lifetime value in order to give differential treatment, depending upon the value that they bring at all touch points?

An effective value-based customer segmentation strategy portrays groups of customers in terms of the revenue they generate and the costs of establishing and maintaining relationships with them. A CRM solution will efficiently collect all relevant data from multiple sources and facilitate your organization's methods for data analysis. It will also establish effective communication among relevant business units.

Does your organization have the technology that supports all customer processes seamlessly?

Adopt technology solutions that offer quantifiable efficiencies; streamline processes across your organization. Downtime will affect your customers' opinions and usually increase churn - ensure your solution is future-proof and a safe investment which is expandable. Automate your processes rationally for seamless integration between multiple sources.

Are your processes built around servicing customer needs?

Business processes should be built around the information generated through a customer needs analysis that pinpoints customers whose satisfaction is critical. It should provide a systematic method for collating, filtering and prioritizing customer needs.

Do you have a unified customer database with a single truth of customers across LOBs, departments and geographies?

An effective CRM solution creates a holistic picture of a customer through a single interface with details of all related leads, partners, contacts, activities, opportunities, cases and more. This information is collected from around the world and can be viewed and updated in real-time from any web enabled device.

Are your people sensitized to the value that each customer brings and importance of each customer interaction across all touch points?

There are a multitude of options available to customers for interacting with businesses like sales counters, emails, self service portals, social media, websites, etc. Customers expect seamless integration of their experience across channels and more personalized service from each interaction. To increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and your competitive advantage each activity should be recorded and categorized for quick access when required. A CRM solution provides historical data, open/ closed activity information and analytics from all touch points for ensuring accuracy, increasing collaborations and reducing response time. Also, with a reliable CRM software - customer information does not lapse when employees resign, it remains available for others' follow-ups and fresh interactions.

Are your products and services adaptable to customer needs that keep changing?

Customers share their comments in real-time with a multitude of social contacts and often offer advice and feedback related to their experiences with different brands and products. A CRM solution for social media allows an organization to collaboratively design products and services that ensure customer satisfaction is optimal. Social CRM helps foresee trends and customer needs to ensure your business is equipped to meet future challenges. Also, some CRM solutions can be customized to ensure they remain effective regardless of new organizational requirements. User interfaces can be changed on the fly and ad hoc reports can be created thereby facilitating your organization’s new data analysis strategy for customer information.

Conclusion

For an organization to be truly customer-centric it is vital that all information relating to a customer's transactions, requests, feedback, interests, potential and an understanding of their past, present and future relationship is easily available.

Collating actionable customer information usually requires integrating multiple systems with an effective CRM solution, this also helps your organization give its customers a better life. Information that is real-time and available through any web-enabled or centralized database will help avoid hurdles and painstaking steps to deliver quality sales and services.

Creating collaborative products and services to heighten customer satisfaction and spread positive feedback through multiple channels will increase conversions for leads and opportunities. This translates to better rankings, gaining a competitive advantage and increasing profitability too.

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