When it comes to customer service, the age-old adage still holds true: you attract what you put out. Businesses that take a customer-centric approach to their operations tend to see higher satisfaction rates among their clientele, while those who focus on their bottom line often find themselves struggling to keep up.
Case Study: Why Businesses Cannot Achieve Customer Satisfaction
There was a recent challenging report from KPMG which reviewed Superannuation Funds that have enjoyed significant inflows for the last few decades. Although it was focused on Super Funds, it’s relevant for a large number of financial services businesses.
It predicted that Retail Super funds would be facing a mass of outflows in the coming year, with members set to march toward their lower-fee Industry Fund rivals.
The study labelled a call to action for the insurance and wealth sectors, finding that close to a quarter of Retail Super Fund members were likely to switch funds in the coming 12 months, compared with less than 10 percent of Industry Fund members.
The rising pressure on Retail Funds comes despite satisfaction levels across both Retail and Industry funds sitting at around 60 percent. The better value provided by the lower-fee Industry Funds was one reason members may make the switch.
It made me reflect on our experience working with several Super Funds and Financial Services businesses. Many Superannuation Funds have lost the art of truly engaging with their members and creating a place where customers feel truly valued.
How to Become a Customer Centric Business
Creating a customer centric culture does not happen overnight. There are a lot of factors that go into improving your customer satisfaction levels. A common idea is that to provide excellent customer service you need to go straight to the heart of your business and collect customer feedback.
There's no I in Team
The key to maintaining a customer centric company is aligning your team around the idea that the customer always comes first. Every member of your staff, from the customer service reps to the sales team to the CEO, needs to be on board with this philosophy.
In complex organisations, there is both too much and not enough. Too many ideas, opinions and inertia. Not enough agreement, traction and growth. It’s difficult to get everyone on the same page.
One way to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal is to conduct regular customer research. This can be in the form of customer surveys, interviews, or focus groups. By getting customer feedback from your target market, you'll be able to adjust your operations to better meet their needs and create an environment where your customers feel valued and appreciated.
Consistency is Key
Another important thing to keep in mind is that customer centricity isn't a one-time effort; it's an ongoing process that requires continuous refinement. As your business grows and changes, so too will your customers' needs and expectations. By staying attuned to their ever-evolving wants and needs, you'll be in a better position to keep them satisfied for the long haul.
Everyone Likes To Feel Special
No customer journey will be the same and you do not want customers to feel that it is. Existing customers should be nurtured and new customers should be made to feel special. You can do this by offering customised solutions, unique experiences, and personalised service. If you invest in improving your customer lifetime value you will experience increased customer loyalty because customers will feel as though their needs and concerns are being addressed most efficiently by your company.
If you make a visible effort to improve your customer satisfaction score by making your customers feel like they are the only ones who matter, you'll stand out from the competition and build a base of loyal, lifelong fans.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Make sure your team is proactive when it comes to addressing pain points. Do not wait until it is too late to measure customer satisfaction. Successful customer centric companies are the ones that not only focus on improving customer satisfaction for existing customers but also predict the needs of potential customers. More customers lead to business growth and increased revenue.
How Do We Know This?
The more time we spent with organisations, the more we understood that what is broken for customers is often a reflection of what's not working internally. And even then, it's hard to get an organisation excited about the opportunity, especially when they know how hard it is to get everyone on the same page.
The solution is about getting to the heart of your world and your customers. Then aligning the two. It makes the difference between what it is... and what is possible. When organisations are providing services and support and engaging with their customers in a way that they value and makes them feel valued, they will stay and won’t go looking elsewhere for a better experience to be provided for their money.
But what are those things that customers truly value and make them feel valued? Often, we find in organisations that many have strongly held but differing opinions on what those things actually are. As these opinions get thrown around in meetings, there can be little agreement or a focus on one given idea, which might not be the right one to deliver true value to customers. So how do you determine and reach an agreement on the right things to do for your customers now, next and later?
Customer Thinking is the Proto approach to customer understanding that can be easily translated into the realities of your business.
Customer Thinking shows you what the quantitative data on its own can’t.
- It provides insight and clarity on what to do.
- It validates the answer with your staff and customers.
- It allocates resources that get the biggest bang for your buck.
- And it drives the buy-in from the business to deliver it.
Suddenly, everyone’s on the same page. Aligning your team around customer centricity is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction!
Would you like a simple and structured worksheet to help you get from A to B? Try our Customer Thinking worksheet. Print it out, fill it out, and use it as a place to start to transform your customer understanding into customer growth.
It will help you gain clarity on what it is your customers truly value ...and don’t.
It will give you the confidence to start solving what we call the 4 P’s - People, Policy, Processes and Procedures.
Then you will have the opportunity to increase organisational commitment by hooking up your internal KPI's to support delivery - behaviour follows KPI's.