Here are five must-do’s to thrive in the world of customer power.
- Focus on customer experience. Customers know what they want and that extends beyond the product/service, vital though that is. Success requires a laser-like focus on the total customer experience: purposefully designed interactions and transactions at all stages of the customer journey. Under-pinning this is a rich “voice of the customer” program that gives a constant pulse of how well the company is doing in the things that matter most to the customer. Executing better than the competition in these areas will lead to success.
- Single view of the customer. Delivering a superior customer experience requires one, widely available database of all actions and interactions with the customer. This is essential for delivering relevant messages and offers, demonstrating respect, and empowering staff to do what is necessary to win and keep customers through great customer experiences.
- Embrace transparency and honesty. Issues, including product failings, will come to light, so be proactive and tell customers what they are and how you plan to address them. Customers understand that mistakes will be made and will often be understanding if they are informed. Customers won’t do business with companies they don’t trust and trying to hide things has a corrosive effect on trust. With almost unfettered access to information, the truth will come out anyway. Better to be the good guy seeking the solution than the bad guy hiding the evidence.
- Facilitate engagement. Customers have an increasing appetite for information and want to build relationships not only with companies they like, but also with fellow customers. Providing that information, tools that help them with decision making, using the product/service effectively, and facilitating customer-to-customer interaction will help increase engagement.
- Weed out legacy mindset managers. Organizations are shadows of their leaders, so if you have managers who don’t, or won’t get it, they have to go. Competing in a rapidly changing world is hard enough without morale-sapping, performance-constraining dinosaurs who fail to see the new world view. Please note that this is not a manifesto for getting rid of the older generation. Mindset is an attitude and not age related; I know quite a few dinosaurs aged under thirty!