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Bala Maddali

He is Senior Delivery Head at Verizon Data Services India and is an industry leader with close to 18 years of experience across services, product and service provider organizations.

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Driving A Culture of Customer Centricity

While both customer-centricity and customer-focus refer to a customer-driven mindset, the former strives for customer delight while the latter settles for a better customer experience.

Customer-centricity is often interchangeably used with customer-focus and however synonymous they may sound; the distinction between the two is subtle, yet significant.

While both customer-centricity and customer-focus refer to a customer-driven mindset, the former strives for customer delight while the latter settles for a better customer experience.

A customer centric mindset is one in which customer is at the right, left and center of all the activities we do, no matter how far away you are from where all the action is. 

Let’s focus on three fundamental streams of transformation that will help IT and Technology professionals to build a customer-centric mindset.

People Transformation:

People can be brought closer to the scene of action by the power of virtualization and simulation. Most call centers use IP based communication infrastructure with affordable storage capabilities, making it possible to record and replay conversations for a first hand feel of the customer’s world.

With the advent of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) the teams can experience various products and applications virtually and can realize how it fits into their lifestyle.

When implemented with robust data protection measures such as masking and depersonalization, these methods come in handy for tech professionals to see how the applications they build are put to use in the field and how they play out in the customer’s life.

This will also enable User Experience (UX) teams who play a pivotal role in mapping the customer journey and deliver a compelling experience aligned to it, keeping simplicity at the heart of it.  

Process Transformation

Customers interact with organizations through a variety of means like stores, mobile apps, websites, call centers, social media; AI- based personal companions etc.

Organizations may or may not inter connect this multi-channel ecosystem to provide a seamless Omni-channel experience.  The experiences might look disjoint it is only a reflection of the complexity of the organization structure that looks after the customers with mutually exclusive, dedicated teams for each customer interaction channel! And each of these teams sincerely look into making the interaction within their channel as flawless as possible, but often missing out on the larger picture of the customer journey and the customer.

The transformation to omni-channel experience takes the impetus away from individual modes of interaction and focus instead on the customer expectations, even anticipating them before they get articulated. It is important that one cuts across interaction channels seamlessly, in meeting those expectations exceedingly well.  

One of the important elements of customer-centric mindset is to fundamentally transform the way we work by bringing customer in the way we design a customer journey.

Organizations can define virtual personas in line with their existing or new customer segments and have team members role play and experience the customer journeys across channels.

This can serve as an important mechanism to identify gaps and opportunities before the roll out of the experiences to the customers.

Data-Driven Transformation:

Organizations need to pay close attention to what the customers say through formal feedback channels and social media platforms and leverage the learnings.  We can achieve traction in this space by automating the process of collection, analysis and generation of insights.

Data -driven approach is a key differentiating factor for customer centricity. Customers interacting with various channels leave a trail of data which can provide significant insights about their journeys. Tech organizations should focus on streaming analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to produce near real time insights from this wealth of data for the teams to decide how to make the journey fulfilling at every stage. The power of real-time analytics will help deliver an understanding of memorable customer moments for a long lasting relationship and advocacy.

Organizations need to embrace customer-centricity inherently in the way it works because customers are the only reasons they exist and customers will be the only reason for their success. In doing so, strengthening the culture is of fundamental importance. To create examples and celebrate stories of customer-centric behavior and applaud its champions will be important.

Programs like Customer Centric Champions and Customer Days would provide necessary impetus to accelerate this journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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