By reading this article you’ll discover the role that your contact center plays is vital when your goals include an improved customer experience that results in larger profits. The contact center of any operation is key to implementing, improving and taking ownership of the critical business metric called customer satisfaction. You’ll also learn about the core principles and processes needed to make your organization one that operates from true customer centricity.
CUSTOMER CENTRICITY, WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
An organization that is considered to be “Customer Centric” is one in which the positive experience of clients takes precedence over other competing factors such as the product, service or the business serving that customer. By truly focusing on putting the customer first, the company readily differentiates itself from its competitors. Your contact center can add measurable value to the consumer experience by focusing on customer interaction and satisfaction not only at the point of sale, but well beyond the sale itself.
What’s Your Most Vital Asset?
If you’re an owner or manager of a contact center, you’re most likely interested in improving profitability by harnessing the power of the customer-centered practices in your organization. No doubt you’ve heard the term “Customer Centric” numerous times, but you wouldn’t be alone if you fail to truly grasp its meaning. While many contact centers and other service-based businesses want to believe that they actually deliver on the promise of customer centricity, very few of them actually know how to define, much less measure, the significance of putting customers first.
In simplest terms, companies should be building their organization with a clear focus on business practices that deliver a consistently high-quality consumer experience. Senior managers should recognize that their most important business asset is, in fact, the customer and as such, those customers must be well cared for to the best ability of the business. While most contact center managers would agree with that notion, actually achieving customer-centric service in your business means moving beyond conventional wisdom that “The customer is king”.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS IN THE CONTACT CENTER ENVIRONMENT
Aside from the inherent complexity of everyday business, the global economy continues to pose significant challenges for most businesses. For those of us lucky enough to have survived a world recession of historic proportion, we’ve witnessed:
- Massive volatility in the stock market
- Surging oil prices and operating expenses
- Prolonged rates of high unemployment
- Wages that have not kept up with cost-of-living increases
- A wildly declining and unpredictable housing market
- Major industry setbacks such as building, real estate, and retail sales
While it’s important that businesses succeed in providing customer satisfaction even in prosperous times, it’s more important than ever that all customer touch points in your business achieve results beyond mere satisfaction. Contact centers can actually flourish even during a depressed economy by making every possible effort to retain their existing customers. The reason why this is so essential is that the cost to acquire a new customer typically runs four times the cost of keeping the ones you have.
But how you ask? By putting Customer Centricity at the top of your business priorities (and not just using it as jargon), you can work to define and measure key objectives that lend themselves to tracking and analysis. Your goal then is to create a benchmark of customer service standards that you then quantify, just as you would any other significant line item on the balance sheet of your business.
THE 5 KEY PRINCIPLES OF CUSTOMER CENTRICITY FOR CONTACT CENTERS
Customer service policies that go beyond the business brand which reinforces the brand value while offering flexible solutions that retain valuable accounts Creating an experience for customers that transcends the average quality of care they may come to expect from your industry or competitors Adapting the service provided to the unique needs of individuals customers rather than enforcing generic policies from a one-size-fits-all mentality An in-depth comprehension of your customer’s primary motivations and needs A method by which to quantify the real value of relationships with your customers
By implementing the five key principles outlined above, you can rework your current policies and put your contact center into a position to clearly benefit not only your customers but your bottom line too. Now may in fact be the optimal time to revisit how you lead the charge toward a customer experience that exceeds the expectations of the buying public; turning them from mere consumers into brand evangelists and loyal folks who bring repeat business and profits your way.
Author Credit: Dick Bucci of The Pelorus Group