Are you really listening to customers?
In the era of instant gratification, customers expect their needs to be met and feedback to be acted upon, immediately. And with the variety of digital and social channels allowing customers to make their voice heard, it is critical that businesses foster a consumer-centric culture that goes beyond just hearing what customers are saying. Businesses need to take the extra step and actually focus on listening to customers – deriving meaning, intent and actionable insights from it. But this requires a transition from traditional feedback collection and metrics to a focus on measuring the customers’ experience across the entire customer journey with the brand.
In our fast-paced, digital-first world, a new set of business priorities are slowly emerging – ones that require businesses to be agile, granular and connected with customers. As Jane Frost, CEO of Market Research Society persuasively argues in the Delphi Group think tank report on Insight Driven Organizations, “There is an unambiguous connection between commercial success and customer-centricity.” Considering that 51% of over-performers indicate that insights and analytics are leading their business, a four-fold jump as compared to scores from under-performing companies, the connection is apparent.
The Dominoes case for listening to customers
Measuring voice of the customer and customer feedback along the experience value-chain allows organizations to steer, mould, and fine-tune their products, services and marketing, to meet the needs and expectations of their audience.
Take the case of Dominoes. Coming in last in a 2009 consumer taste preference survey conducted by Brand Keys, they took it upon themselves to revamp their recipe based on customer feedback. And then took to social media to encourage customers to try it. Fast forward to 2017, they are America’s top preferred pizza brand as per Brand Keys, with a share price of $160 as compared to $8.76 per share in 2010. All this thanks to an inclusive, outside-in approach to incorporating customer feedback to shape their products.
In fact, the key takeaway from the Dominoes case study isn’t just the importance of customer feedback. Dominoes, in their eight-year campaign, reached out to their consumers by improving value delivery across multiple touchpoints. In an era of digital disruption, this type of focus on the customers experience across consumer touchpoints is the differentiating factor in a brand’s success. Meaningful improvements in performance, are a direct result of collecting and analyzing the customers’ entire journey with the brand, and therein incorporating any insights into their strategy.
The challenge here is, that while most organizations are good at gathering metrics, they do so at only individual checkpoints, and thus fail to discover the frustrations and experiences, if any, the customer has faced in reaching the final purchase point. After all, it often only takes a single “bad” experience to taint the entire journey. Coupled with the dynamics of interaction, where every individual’s needs and reactions to the same interaction differ, organizations are often faced with a complex barrier to an inclusive customer centric approach.
The customers journey becomes the new value-chain for businesses
According to a 2017 PWC report titled ‘Changing the Game: The new rules of Customer Experience in the ‘Intelligent Experience Economy’, only about 13% of organizations have structured their business around the customer journey today, even though a large number are actively pursuing the ‘notion’ of customer-centricity.
To transform the conventional approach of listening to customers into one that is more value-centric, one needs to focus on these critical elements:
- Incorporating the journey into your organizational culture – Enterprises must embed the notion of customer-centricity throughout their business culture. Bringing in the customer to the core of everyday processes can enable brands to successfully create a winning journey which provides a competitive advantage with significantly improved customer satisfaction and business outcomes.
- Upgraded technology – Customer feedback collection and analytics has to shift from legacy systems to more advanced and agile technology. Current CX technologies, for example, are now able to provide real-time alerts to immediately notify teams of complaints and quickly reach out to at-risk customers providing customer recovery opportunities, leading to increased retention and enhanced brand recognition.
- Ability & Agility to change – Tracking consumer feedback across their journey can provide valuable insights into business processes. The common challenge is when resistant organizations find it difficult implementing the changes that insights have revealed. However, with executive buy-in and a continuous improvement mindset, organization leaders can efficiently champion the consumer-centric model throughout the workforce.
Virgin business magnate, Richard Branson once pointed out, “your education really begins on the day that you open the doors to customers”. While leveraging the insights from a customer journey can be a significant shift for organizations, the ones who master it reap the reward with higher customer satisfaction, revenue and an enduring competitive advantage.
At Kanari, we are all about helping you with listening to customers. Our innovative customer experience management solutions provide a reliable, flexible, and scalable platform to help your company create better customer relationships. Contact a member of our team to schedule your customer experience management consultation.