5 signs you don’t have a customer-centric culture (and what to do about it)
Everyone’s talking about customer experience, yet a surprising number of companies are a long way from operating like a well-oiled customer-centric machine. Even if your business has good intentions, some common themes may be rippling through your organization that are holding you back.
5 signs you don’t have a customer-centric culture, and how to get on the right track
1 – “We know what’s best for customers.”
Is your marketing driven by best guesses and trends instead of real data-driven insights? We’ve worked with B2B clients who were sure their customers cared about features and the big name relationship they could provide. They had a rude awakening when after even a little research they learned customers don’t want a relationship, they want seamless solutions they never need to think about, so they can focus on running their business.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone – only 24% of companies have created a data-driven organization. And 92% cite the principal challenge isn’t the technology but the internal culture driving their processes.1 But it’s an essential problem to solve. Analytic insights equip you to make smarter decisions and invest marketing dollars and customer service resources more effectively for more profitable results.
2 – “We don’t have time for social media.”
78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour
77% of Twitter users feel more positive when a brand replies to their tweet.2
In today’s connected world, your business cannot afford to ignore social commentary about your brand. It’s the immediate, always-on, mobile-friendly way many consumers (95%according to MarketingSherpa) now prefer to engage with brands — so you better be there. But social media is not just for broadcasting a marketing pitch; ever increasing numbers turn to social networks to vent about bad customer experiences. That makes social a vital channel to rapidly identify and resolve issues before they spin out.
The old saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” rings especially true for marketing. Sure customers want great products and services to meet functional needs, but that’s not what drives their purchase decisions. They don’t want to hear about you; they want to know what’s in it for them. How will you make their life easier, better, richer? How can their business be increase retention or improve profitability?
You have to think like a customer, understand their needs and mindset, and speak their language in ways that resonate with them. Embracing a customer-centric approach is not only a powerful way to bring your value proposition to life, it promotes more meaningful, personalized engagement that helps you build stronger, lasting relationships.
4 – “Our customer letters are fine, they meet legal and compliance.”
Just because your servicing communications pass approval cycles doesn’t mean they’ll be good for customers. Too often letters are convoluted with overly formal language, cluttered with jargon or legalese, and topped with an unclear call to action. Result? They go in the trash because customers can’t easily see how it’s important or relevant to them, and frankly, no one likes being lectured to or scolded.
Any company can turn this around by championing a customer-centric initiative. We’ve seen both individual lines of business and an entire enterprise transform their culture and customer experience. Across a top 5 bank, they focused on learning to convey important messages in a friendly, conversational tone with clear, plain language that anyone can understand. Another big win is that customer-focused communications help businesses more effectively handle negative news and sensitive situations to increase customer retention.
5 – “We’re back office, customer experience isn’t relevant to us.”
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable
compared to companies that are not focused on the customer.3
One of the biggest mistakes within organizations is culture drift, where only frontline employees think they impact customer experience, and everyone else is in production mode. The back office doesn’t see the ripple effect… What happens when a process is slow or delayed or gets screwed up? The sales or service team gets heat from the customer. When everything runs smoothly in the background and customers stay happy, it’s usually sales or service reps who get the glory.
But everyone in the food chain has an impact on customer relationships. That’s why it’s mission critical to help all employees understand how they play a vital role in the customer experience. They need to see how delivering excellence not only fuels their performance reviews, it empowers customers and the business.
Whether it’s internal politics, limited resources, or just old-school thinking, not having a customer-focused organization may be costing you money and market share.
Research tells us the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service is $1.6 trillion. That’s a colossal waste for something that is preventable.
Having a customer-centric company is not just about sales and marketing. It’s a mindset that should drive your company culture at every level, so every decision, process, and interaction is aligned with what matters most to your customers. Happier customers help generate a happier workforce — giving you two powerful levers to boost your bottom line.