Many businesses claim they put the customer first. But talking the talk is easier than walking the walk. And when it comes down to it, other factors like revenue, sales, or profit often take priority.
That can be a mistake, however. Businesses benefit significantly from committing to a customer-centric approach. They’ll have happier, more loyal customers who are worth more to the business.
In this article, we’ll explore customer-centricity in more detail. We’ll also provide tips about how you can implement this approach in your contact center.
In this blog:
• What is customer centricity?
• What are the benefits of customer centricity?
• How can contact centers become more customer-centric?
What is customer centricity?
Customer centricity means putting the customer at the heart of your business. Customer-centric organizations consider how their decisions affect the customer before making them. The idea is that this helps build better experiences and more loyal customers.
Customer-centric organizations typically have some of the following seven key traits.
- The customer is central to decisions made throughout the organization — from senior management to customer-facing reps
- Everyone knows the challenges and goals of different customer segments, and actively set out to solve them
- They understand the customer journey and optimize each touchpoint
- Frontline staff are empowered to make customer-centric decisions independently
- The business’s supporting operations are also customer-centric
- Customer-centric behaviors are encouraged and motivated
- Customer feedback drives real-time improvements
Businesses that can ensure these traits run through their business are more likely to be able to see and respond to customers’ needs.
And this has many benefits.
What are the benefits of customer centricity?
The benefits of a customer-centric approach come down to having happier, more loyal customers.
Providing a better customer experience can:
- Encourage loyalty: The majority of customers who experience good service feel loyalty toward a brand
- Increase retention: Customers who experience good service are less likely to switch companies.
- Generate more sales: Customers who experience positive service are more likely to make repeat buys.
- Power referrals: Customers who rate a company’s CS as good are 38% more likely to recommend it.
Becoming customer-centric is a good way to ensure you always offer the best possible customer experiences. And it increases the chances of you benefiting from the above points.
How can contact centers become more customer-centric?
Call centers are the front line of the customer experience. They play an important role in helping organizations become more customer-centric.
Here are four ways that contact centers can become more customer-centric.
1. Make the customer central to your decisions
Making the customer the focal point of your decisions is key to becoming customer-centric.
To ensure this happens, you may need to change how you think about success in your call center. Changing which call center metrics you track can help realign your goals.
Switch from metrics like Average Handle Time, which prioritize speed and cost over customer experience.
This also ensures that you incentivize agents to provide better experiences. It is hard to convince agents to prioritize CSAT if you tie their performance reviews to the number of calls they handle or how quickly they do so.
2. Get to know your customers
You need to know what customers want to make them central to your decisions. An easy way to start considering customer needs is to create profiles for different segments.
Many businesses will already have these available. But you can go further by using post-call customer surveys to collect more data.
This will highlight the exact thoughts that customers have about your service and take steps where appropriate.
Here is one way which could help:
A common customer complaint is that they have to repeat themselves when speaking to multiple agents.
If this is the case in your call center, you can introduce tools that enable all agents to access customer data. You could even create automation to send this data alongside call tickets.
The key is knowing what customers like or dislike about interaction so you can act upon these issues.
3. Optimize the customer journey
Creating a User Journey Map will help you better define how customers interact with your business and what they want at each stage.
You can then take steps to solve customer issues at each touchpoint. The ultimate goal is to ensure customers can find the answers they want when they need them.
Some ideas include:
- Using automated self-service to enable customers to access the help they need at each touch point. For example, use your IVR to provide commonly sought-after information automatically. Or embed automated chatbots to solve common problems customers have on particular web pages.
- Preemptively solve known customer issues at different points in the customer journey. Telecom company AT&T is a good example of this. It began sending explainers with each new customer’s first bill once it realized the statements were confusing.
The key is to discover what different segments of customers want at each touchpoint and then implement strategies that target these needs. The more effort-free it is for customers to get help, the better.
4. Empower agents to make decisions
Customer-centric call centers empower agents to make their own decisions. They trust that agents can take steps to positively impact the customer experience.
This ensures customers receive a more streamlined service than if agents have to escalate calls to managers whenever they want to implement a non-standard solution.
Key to introducing this successfully is to train agents to think on their feet. You can also provide guidelines about the type of solutions they can solve without a manager’s input and when it is better to escalate the problem.
Enabling real-time agent collaboration through workplace communication tools can also help empower agents. Staff can get help from other team members rather than escalating or transferring the calls.
Follow these tips to become customer-centric
All businesses know the value of providing better customer experiences. But becoming customer-centric means going the extra mile when involving the customer in how you run your business.
Following the tips in this article will help. You’ll understand customers, incentivize the correct actions, and empower agents to keep the customer in mind.