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The building blocks of a customer-centric business

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Rome wasn’t built in a day – a suitably grandiose metaphor for companies eager to transform to a customer-centric enterprise. Making the transition from a company that does rather well, to one that is able to differentiate itself from competitors through providing an exemplary customer experience is not something that happens overnight. It takes time, investment and most importantly, a plan.

Metrics – use them or lose customers

Big data, little data, cloud data: the data-zeitgeist has shown no signs of crashing, and for many, its mere mention is cause for eye-rolling. However, the reason that conversation so frequently reverts to the subject of data is that, when used correctly, it can make an enormous difference to any part of a business. By ignoring data, a company is excluding a valuable resource available to it. There is no longer an excuse not to be utilising information as it is easier than ever to consume, share and most importantly, learn from.

By using business intelligence analytics, a customer service agent can extrapolate vital information that was previously unintelligible to anyone who isn’t a data expert, and present it to a customer in a simple, consumable format. The simplification of data shows customers that you can offer them solutions to complicated issues, and make them understandable in the process. With the right analytics, agents can improve their own productivity and also enhance the customer’s understanding – the importance of this cannot be overstated.

Keep it personal

It seems counter-intuitive for a large organisation to make itself seem smaller; however, when it relates to customer experience, it is vital that the company appears as a friendly-face, rather than a glowering behemoth. By maintaining a small, well-equipped team you can ensure that customers don’t feel that they’re being pushed through a revolving door of responses. Instead, they can build relationships with customer representatives, who get to know them as individuals and have a better idea of their needs and requests over time. This will build loyalty and good-feeling, as-well as save time and costs by equipping the right customer with the right answers in quicker time.

Always be available

It is important to remember that, as you breathe a relieved sigh and shuffle onto the bus after a hard day’s work, there may be customers relying on your expertise who may not be in the same position. Whether it’s due to time difference, or a flexible approach to working hours, there will be times when customers will require your help outside of designated working hours. Fear not – this will not lead to a suggestion of keeping your work device with you at all times, shining in your hand like the modern-day equivalent of a 19th century war-bride bearing a lantern even as she sleeps, awaiting bad news from the front. There are alternative options available to address this:

  • If you are an international company, have the wherewithal to check the customer’s local office for an appropriate spokesperson - if it is a time-difference issue, this can be immediately eradicated
  • An emergency line – one that is limited to only that most drastic of problems - the recipient of the emergency line could be rotated throughout the team (while this may seem extreme, it is better than deserting a customer when they may need you the most)

Make it easy

While it is important to have access to a customer service representative over the phone, it also should be remembered that not everybody enjoys the experience of a chat. For some, the perfect scenario would be to open the ‘Help’ section of a website and not be greeted with only a phone number and e-mail address, but to have a list of options and solutions available that don’t require any more work on their part.

Being available is important, however, what is equally important is providing the customer with as much information as possible before they are required to pick up a phone. The support page of a company’s website is where customers immediately turn. It would be preferable for them, and time-saving for you, if this was where their problem could be solved.

Building blocks

Of course, the creation of a customer-centric enterprise will require more effort than implementing these three steps. However, by adopting the ideas presented above, you are taking the first difficult steps in a long journey – just remember, Rome was not built in a day.

For more information on creating an incredible customer experience at your company, you can download “The 9 Pillars of Customer Success” eBook.