Customer Centricity: The Key to Customer Retention
Since we are in the Customer Experience (CX) Era1, it seems only natural that companies aim to “differentiate themselves across all channels, touch points, and interactions not only to engage customers, but also retain them in loyal, long-term relationships”. Hence the popularity of the “customer centricity” concept which has been wildly misunderstood and vaguely defined by many, until recently when professionals from different industries started inserting it a lot more in their retention strategy discourse.
Customer Centricity is a Mindset, a Mission, a Strategy
If you would ask a national retail chain business owner “what is customer centricity?”, the answer would probably be: creating a positive experience at the point of sale and post-sale. If we lived in the 1980’s, this definition would wrap things up pretty nicely too. Suffice it to say, three decades ago the retailing landscape was a completely different story. Enriching customer experience was simpler to approach throughout the customer journey, merely because we didn’t have the Internet and access to a thousand similar products and brands at a glance.
Nowadays, we live in a highly competitive capitalist society with companies fighting for more market share, more space on the shelves, in consumers’ minds and in their shopping carts, but mostly, we are all looking to better differentiate ourselves from the competition. Many strategies have been tried out throughout the years and many failed, yet one has stuck – easily recognizable by the rule of thumb “the customer is always right”.
Some companies still have a vague understanding of customer centricity, but most have already seen that customer experience is ultimately the primary diffentiator. Customer centricity is not just about making customers like you3. Customer centricity is more than promoting a positive environment that enhances buyers’ experience or that offers great customer service. It is a mindset across the organization, a strategy that puts the customer at the core of the business and a mission that must be embraced at a multi-channel or omni-channel level with the sole purpose of creating a seamless, fast and uniquely great experience for all customers/clients.
The future has plenty of staggering facts in store. Just consider that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally, with mobile being the primary internet device for most individuals4. Have you already made the first steps towards embracing this increasing global trend? If not, now might be the time to seriously reconsider your consumer engagement strategy.
Can you accurately Measure Customer Centricity?
The conclusions of 12 years of Service Delivery Gap Polls and Surveys shows that while 80% of surveyed companies reported an above-average customer experience, only 11% of the actual clients felt that this was true.
Drawing on so much research done to explore the full extent of “service delivery gap”2, one can easily understand why the real customer experience is ultimately different from what companies think that they are delivering. Psychologically, it is simply a matter of subjective perception of reality to one’s own advantage, a process typically taking place at a subconscious level.
One way to determine whether your customers are truly happy throughout the customer journey is to open all communication channels and integrate their feedback into the loop. Another way is by simply looking at the numbers. Just answer a couple of questions and you’ll soon find out:
Has your loyal customer base decreased, remained the same or increased during the past 6 to 12 months? Logically, customers who are happy with your delivered experience will become loyal, just as those who aren’t will switch in a matter of weeks or even days.
How often do you convert one-time buyers into repeat customers?A greatly designed customer experience will leave a deep positive impression on your customers, so much so that they will immediately see the benefits of choosing your brand instead of another, and will even become your advocates. If you fail to do so, then you are most probably losing potential long-term/loyal customers every day, and instead, are spending huge budgets on acquiring new leads.
Neuromarketing – Closing the Gap
A reliable and accurate method of determining which touch points, channels or experiences need to be improved, redesigned or just implemented differently, is ensured by cutting-edge neuroscience tools. Take for example, a Neuro Loyalty solution which makes use of them conjointly to extract meaningful and actionable customer insights that businesses can use right away.
The upside of having neuroscience on your side is that you will have access to your customers’ emotions and attitudes without going through an exhausting process of filtering data and biased information until you can find the real catalysts behind your customers’ behavior and decision making. You can also level what we call a “customer rollercoaster journey”. We coined this concept to refer to the experiences that customers have throughout the customer journey and which are usually different for each touch point or channel, some positive and others utterly alienating.
It is better to take the safest and shortest way to your goal, so why not beat the competition by choosing customer engagement solutions that deliver deep customer insights and key competitive advantages?
- Oracle, 2013, “Global Insights on Succeeding in the Customer Experience Era”
- Bain & Co., 2005, “Closing the delivery gap”
- American Marketing Association, “The 7 Pillars of Customer Centricity”
- Ernst & Young, “The Journey toward greater customer centricity”