If you are part of a company that has successfully secured their mobile platforms and have them functioning at a high level, you’re on the right track and in the lead. Now, the task becomes ensuring those systems are maintained and updated to meet the ever-changing needs of customer markets.
A major component that can make or break success in this area is customer centricity. It isn’t just about offering a deal every once in a while to repeat customers —it’s much more than that. A customer centric business is built entirely around the customer. It understands the customer’s value and what the customer represents to the business’s profitability.
With this knowledge, a customer centric organization tailors everything they do—from R&D to sales—to deliver the best value at the right cost to their customer. Your business can accomplish the same with these 5 strategies:
1. Identify Your Team.
More than one-third of survey respondents to Sage’s Business Index survey saw increased customer loyalty as the means by which they would grow their business over the next year. This is important because it shows that businesses understand the benefit of a happy customer regardless of whether the customer is providing positive reviews and comments online, or recruiting new customers.
However, in my mind, this realization is not as essential as actually implementing customer loyalty programs and rewards. More importantly—before implementation—you must have the right individuals in place to formulate loyalty programs and then execute. Does your company have an identified person or team with responsibility to create customer loyalty programs? Are these individuals aware of the company’s customer loyalty vision and goals? If not, now is the time to delegate these tasks.
At Sage, we’ve identified the right individuals among our customer service teams across the globe. With precise communication, our teams are able to stay connected and in agreement with the same goals and purpose.
2. Be Available – At All Times And In Multiple Ways.
While your “business hours” may be somewhere around the typical 9-5, the hours in which your customer uses your product may not be the same. We’ve all likely experienced the frustration of needing customer support after normal work hours. By offering your costumers service at any time, you’re not only helping solve problems, but are also building a satisfied customer that can lead to consistent loyalty, positive word of mouth, and less negative online chatter. While there may be additional costs spent in these efforts, there is financial value in the positive outcomes.
Availability shouldn’t stop at one point during the day; customer service should be easy for a customer to access and receive. It can be frustrating for a customer to scour a company’s website searching for a point of contact and ultimately only find their way through a detailed Q&A culminating in a comment box. Solve this frustration by providing customers with easy to find, direct access to a human—not a recorded phone directory.
You should have at least one direct email, phone number, and links to your social media pages within eyeshot of your website’s homepage. Take UK’s online and telephone banking company First Direct, for example. They ranked first in a 2014 Which? customer service survey. On their homepage, you’re provided with two phone numbers for new users, one phone number for account holders, an email contact address, a link to more contact options, and also an invitation to Tweet them where they are “here to help 24/7/365.” I don’t think I would have trouble seeking help, do you?
3. Don’t Hide Behind Automated Platitudes.
Automated responses can lead to many unhappy customers. Automated responses do nothing to help the customer, except keep them momentarily placid. For instance, UK train stations use automated responses when trains are late. The text content is an apology, but doesn’t give detailed information about when or why the train is late and what will happen next. This leaves the riders in the dark as to what they can expect and often creates a negative reaction.
Rail companies are shifting to fix the robotic nature of automation by interacting with travelers via social media, direct messaging, and in-person. Travelers can get the latest rail travel news, including any rail network disruption and advice on alternative routes, through Twitter and Facebook channels. They’ve also configured to send riders text messages, tweets, or emails when their train is delayed or cancelled. And, by having staff walk directly out onto the platform to speak directly and frankly to travelers, they are minimizing frustrations.