With all the choices that a customer has today about where to place business, customer focus has again become a major concern of most businesses. But where does one begin to evaluate if a company is truly customer-focused?
Maybe the place to start is not that different from if you were considering a new product line. You take inventory and ask a few questions. What do you already have? Where is your company now? Do you treat this as an add-on and not a part of everyday life? What are your customer touch points and how do you measure them? What is your result?
Rethinking the customer experience is not a one-time push but rather a concerted everyday effort. If it is on an add-on, not a fundamental change to the way that they approach everyday commerce, the new initiatives to establish customer centric cultures will fail. If it is treated as if it is the company’s needs and not the customers’ needs that are being served, then the commitments for people, resources and other competing issues required for the company to become customer centric will eventually fail due to lack of budget, internal conflict and lack of leadership of senior management. A daily priority push will move these initiatives back. It needs to be a part of everyday working environment, just like reading email or attending meetings, something that everyone just does.
How do we build a case for making customer focus important?
One thing that I have noticed is that if something in business has a strong financial impact on the company it gets dealt with quickly. When most companies try to create a customer-focused culture they don’t pay enough attention to the financial impact and business logic of customer focus. It is often seen as something nice to do, not as a potential profit center. Reduction of complaints leads to reduction of customer loss. If a case were made that the ROI experiences a direct correlation with customer satisfaction and a positive customer experience is profitable and measurable, then establishing a customer-focused culture would become a management mandate.
How much is it going to cost to reduce customer complaints and what is the comparative cost of the loss of lifetime income from those customers? This one question answered with financial and business logic has the power to change how a company approaches the world outside its doors. Rally initiatives around this question to create a better customer experience and to develop a roadmap to capture key customer experience metrics and improve the customer experience, then watch the ROI climb.