How to Build Customer Focus Into Your Business Strategy
What is Customer Focus?
Customer focus is a philosophy that puts customer needs at the heart of all business decisions. It’s a company-wide mindset that dictates everything, from strategic decision-making to how employees behave on the ground.
When you want to woo your customers, customer focus must become a part of organizational culture. Often, businesses think that focusing on proactive customer service alone will clinch the deal with customers. Yet, to deliver real customer satisfaction, you will need to invest in cradle-to-grave customer relationships. This means nurturing every touchpoint with customers, from the initial interaction and purchase right through to post-sales services. In other words, every business process, department, and employee needs to be geared towards optimizing the customer experience.
Why is Customer Focus So Important?
A few years ago, businesses could focus all their energy on creating a product or service and then go out to find a market for it. Today’s market dynamics are different. Customers are spoilt for choice. With so many options, modern businesses have little room to innovate in terms of the product they offer. Instead, they compete on the holistic experience they provide.
A study found that 72% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Another survey from Arm Treasure Data and Forbes Insight found that 74% of consumers said they were at least somewhat likely to buy from a business based on just the customer experience they provide.
Brad Cleveland, an author and customer consultant, chalks out the reason why customer focus is so crucial for businesses today – “While customers initially appreciate better services, they quickly get used to, expect and demand them,” he says in a blog. “Further, the experiences that customers have with any organization—not just yours or others in your vertical sector—help shape their perceptions.”
Businesses resetting customer expectations raise the bar for all other organizations. Think of companies like Amazon that made quick, doorstep deliveries the norm. Or food delivery services that have made dining at home readily accessible. Today, customers expect this of all companies, whether they are in the same business line.
With customer expectations rapidly evolving, businesses that succeed in providing the best experience stand to win.
10 Tips to Pivot to a Customer-Focused Strategy
A business that aims to put customer’s needs first has to work on a strategy that percolates through all business levels. Customer focus has to be more than just lip service.
Here are some tips for driving customer focus across your business:
1. Understand That Customer Focus is a Top-Down Approach
A company’s senior leadership sets the benchmark for what goes in an organization. When top management is keen to understand customer requirements, everyone else tends to follow suit.
However, C-suite executives can sometimes get caught up in their assumptions.
For instance, a Harvard Business Review article outlined how the top management of an industrial-materials manufacturing company that thought of themselves as customer-focused ended up blind to their packaging needs. In the process, it ended up creating a poor customer journey.
When you adopt a top-down approach to customer focus in your business, you can drive how vital customers are effectively and across all company levels.
2. Listen to Your Customers
The art of listening to your customers is a crucial factor in understanding customer expectations and fulfilling them. HundredX and YouGov’s survey shows that keen listening to customer needs and acting on them can reduce churn and drive up retention.
Some ways to hone customer-centric listening skills are:
- Focus on understanding your customers’ needs before developing a response plan.
- Collect regular feedback from customers and ensure you make the changes.
- Ask follow-up questions to clarify any doubts rather than making assumptions.
- Pay attention to body language apart from their words since 80-90% of all communication is non-verbal.
3. Create Detailed Customer Personas Using Customer Data
A customer persona is a realistic description of a typical customer using your product or service. It includes demographic details like age, location, occupation, and psychological pointers like likes, dislikes, and pain points.
Everyone in the business can use an accurate customer persona to understand customers better and solve specific problems. Customer data collected from different sources, like live chat conversations, social media, or analytical tools, can help customer persona creation.
4. Pay Attention to Customer Preferences
Through the art of customer-focused listening and creating efficient customer personas, you can also get a peek into customer preferences about myriad aspects.
An astute company would consider a customer’s likes, dislikes, and expectations not just in terms of the product, but across the board, including packaging, delivery, pricing, etc. There are numerous ways to chart customer preferences, often using data from different sources.
These insights can help with better marketing campaigns, sales, and service personalization, thereby contributing to overall customer satisfaction.
5. Make Information Readily Available
Solving for customer pain points means making everything convenient for customers. This includes pre-lead generation processes like when a customer discovers your business for the first time or has product queries.
Research shows that 63% of customers research online before buying a product. This is why having a simple, straightforward, and easy-to-navigate website can give you a competitive advantage in the market.
Information dissemination across other platforms, like email or SMS updates, social media channels, and other digital platforms, can make it easy for customers to interact with your business.
6. Win at Customer Service
A study from digital agency brand Wunderman found that around 79% of consumers said they’d like to buy from a business with a brand that shows it cares about them.
Customer service is where you can shine when it comes to providing memorable customer experiences. It can prove to customers that you care about them—every interaction you have with a customer can create customer loyalty and foster the relationship.
7. Work on Feedback
“Know thyself” is a famous maxim that can work wonders for business as well. One way to do that is to collect customer feedback and implement changes proactively.
Collecting and analyzing customer feedback garners a competitive advantage in the market, not just in terms of improved customer support or experience but also through a better brand image. The process, however, doesn’t end with collecting feedback.
Businesses have to find a way to meet customer expectations. The expectations could be met with a small training program for frontline employees or a new product launch.
Research indicates that 77% of customers think favorably of brands that seek and incorporate customer feedback.
8. Be Easily Accessible to Your Customers
A mark of excellent customer focus is never making your customers wait. An aggrieved customer should be able to reach you anytime, anywhere to have their concerns addressed. This is why it should be easy for customers to get you in any way that is convenient for them.
One way to do this is to share your contact details on your website, social media handles, and other search engines. Also, reduce response rates across all touchpoints, including live chat, email, and other digital channels.
When customers know they can reach you anytime, anywhere, they are more likely to do business with you. Moreover, satisfied, loyal customers will rake in a couple of new customers for you.
9. Treat Your Employees as You Would Treat Customers
Employee experience is just as necessary as customer experience. A satisfied employee will not only create memorable customer experiences but will also be a fervent brand advocate. If an employee is dissatisfied, the effort they will put into improving customer satisfaction will fall. Employee training on the customer persona and initiatives to promote employee welfare are some ways to improve the employee experience. Showing your employees that they are valued will reflect in the way they treat your customers.
10. Work on Creating the Best Customer Experiences as a Team
Many businesses working on a customer focus have a central customer experience team that works on creating impeccable customer interactions. However, to truly deliver on customer expectations, the entire company needs to be involved.
Customer experience governance needs to percolate through all company levels so that employees have a feedback loop that will help them improve customer experiences. A heightened sense of focus comes across when customer-facing teams work with internal teams to do right by the customer.
Top Customer-Focus Tools to Employ in Business
There are many tools available in the market that can help you monitor customer satisfaction levels. Using data from these tools, you can improve customer experiences.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics measures digital customer engagement. This handy tool gives you an insight into customer experiences across digital channels like your website, app, and search engines. Google Analytics will give your business fresh insights into the whole customer journey, which can then be used to create more meaningful experiences.
Live chat software is a vital tool to create a well-rounded digital experience for customers. With customer expectations everchanging, a live chat solution will allow you to have real-time conversations on channels that your customers are most interested in. Reliable live chat software like Freshchat can help elevate customer focus within your business.
A good customer service software, like Freshdesk, can aggregate all the details you need to know about your customers right from their historic conversations to their satisfaction ratings. With centralized information and context, agents can deliver experiences that are consistent.
Plus, Freshdesk also identifies issues where customers need immediate assistance (even on channels such as Twitter) and notifies agents right away. This helps ensure that customers get timely assistance and feel heard.
Buffer is a social media management tool that can help you manage all your social media accounts from one place. It helps you schedule and track your posts’ performance across all channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Ahrefs is a tool that helps you improve your content engagement strategy. Using this tool, you can discover new keywords, story, and content ideas and even find ways to measure the success of your organic distribution
The Road to Customer Focus
The transition to a customer-focused company cannot happen overnight. The quest for customer focus is a long-term process that requires constant monitoring, updates, and adjustments.
Freshchat’s live chat software can help on this quest by transforming your customer experience journey through proactive messaging campaigns, chatbots, multilingual support, and more. With Freshchat, you can be sure that no customer will have anything less than an incredible experience.
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