It’s quite interesting to me that I still find when working with some clients, that the real value of their customers is not known to them!
Customers are central to the survival of every business – regardless of size, sector, country etc. and they need to be central to all decision making, with their needs being the first priority of the organisation. In essence, all organisations need to be customer-centric or customer oriented!
How many complaints do you receive from customers not being valued?
Are you tired of getting these? Do you know what the cause is and more importantly, do you know how to make sure your customers feel valued?
Really valuing your customers is determined by the quality and efficiency of the products, services and level of care you deliver to them. Your employees need to understand what your organization really looks like and to see it from the customer’s perspective. By doing this your employees will see that there is a distinct difference between what the organization promises and claims to be doing for customers and what it is actually doing – which is in essence the reality gap.
Closing this reality gap is about moving from customer satisfaction which is now insufficient, to customer success where the products, services and level of care being delivered and the way in which they are delivered match the customer’s perceptions and requirements.
Instead of the organisation and the management being in control – it is the employees and most importantly, the customers who need to be in control. This paradigm shift calls for a different form of leadership and management thinking about the business as a whole and it requires a different mindset!
Some key steps in moving to customer success and really valuing your customers are outlined below:
- Customer Insight or KYC (Know Your Customer)
Get to know who your customers really are and understand what they expect from you. Get to know your internal customers too – your workforce – who are they really, why do they work with you, do they share your principles and values, and how well do they know your customers?
Customer service managers need to focus on all their customers consistently to get a wider understanding of their customer service strengths and weaknesses.
- Diagnose your Customer Service
Understanding where you are now will help you to determine where you need to be to close that reality gap. Your customer service is guaranteed to improve when you work through reflectively to find out what you do well and what you do poorly. The responses from your customers – both external and internal – will give you the direction you need to take to improve and make cultural changes internally and externally.
Be mindful – do not undertake any assessment or surveys if you are not prepared to acknowledge the feedback and take action. Not taking corrective action is far more damaging than not undertaking the diagnosis!
- Design and implement customer-centric processes that make engaging with your organisation easy for your customers
Processes should be seamless, designed from the customers’ viewpoint and be consistently reviewed to make transactions simple and stress free. This includes making it easy for customers to complain. Remember, complainants are your most loyal ambassadors if their complaints are handled professionally.
Organisations seldom achieve competitive advantage through their technology and processes alone; it may add value but only if there is a parallel investment in their people who have to work with the technology to assist customers.
What is your reality gap like and how customer-centric is your organisation?
Can you move from high levels of customer satisfaction to customer success?
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