Customer experience is a key driver behind increasing revenue, customer trust, maintaining market competitiveness, and a slew of other business benefits. Research from Walker predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the main brand differentiator. Advancing technologies such as machine learning and Big Data have given us new ways to uncover what organizations need to increase positive experiences at scale and in real time.
With so much information available to us around the wants and needs of our customers, many companies are turning an eye towards making their strategy and business more customer-centric to drive growth. Here, we look at three best practices of a customer-centric organization in elevating experiences and revenues.
1. Making customer commitment part of the customer journey
The changing digital landscape constantly gives us new opportunities to evolve, to better serve customers in a way that keeps them coming back. Customer commitment is a huge part of this and plays a critical role in making your organization a customer-centric one that can continuously increase revenue. It’s really a no-brainer: If you’re not committed to the customer – in tune to their wants and needs – you can’t expect to create a rewarding journey for them.
What my team and I found in our own customer engagements and relationships is that many customers, both B2C and B2B, desire self-service options that are quick and supply a transparent and simple path to purchase. In response, we put this customer insight to work, re-imagining the customer journey, how we interact with them, and how we sell to them. We created an omnichannel, e-commerce platform where our customers can easily discover products and solutions they need, try them out, purchase them, and start using them all within hours or days, rather than weeks. These kinds of initiatives advance the customer journey, positively impacting customer relationships and experiences.
2. Reimagining your approach to customer experience
Everything in business, especially ROI and your bottom line, comes back to the customer – specifically, how you can create a better experience to keep them coming back. For a customer-centric strategy to be profitable to your organization, the main focus needs to be on creating positive experiences and delivering on your promises – whether those promises are centered on service, team support, easy-to-use products, partner support, quick purchase, or a combination of it all. Revamping digital channels and digital-purchasing processes, for example, are great starting points for building better experiences. This builds digital trust, and that is a real driver for decision making, ease of interaction, and innovation.
What this points to is a need for every organization to look at what they currently offer to customers in terms of how they buy, what is available to them to buy, and how they interact with them. Always ask yourself this question: Am I offering a unique experience my customers can’t find anywhere else? Being customer-centric means taking a fuller, holistic view of your customers’ wants and needs and using that information to re-envision the experiences you build for them. It’s a win-win in terms of maintaining and increasing revenue opportunities as you both retain current customers and bring in new ones.
3. Reducing friction along the path to purchase
Some of the biggest opportunities for increasing revenues are along the path to purchase, but sometimes this is the area of the customer journey with the most friction – especially when e-commerce purchasing is involved. Things like poorly designed checkouts and unclear calls to action can have serious effects on a new or existing customer’s decision to buy. On the consumer side, we’re seeing things like biometric payments – à la Amazon, Apple, and PayPal – let users make purchases on mobile devices by simply scanning their fingerprint. B2B and B2C e-commerce platforms have things like “Click to Buy” or “Buy Now” that are helping to reduce friction in the purchasing process.
What does this do for increasing revenues? Reducing and removing friction, making the path to purchase as simple and seamless as possible is a critical part of building trust with your customers. Trust is the key to building brand loyalty; brand loyalty means repeat customers; and repeat customers grow your bottom line. You see the connection here.
Customer-centricity should always be a part of your ethos, especially in the way you approach digital and its role in the customer journey. Make it a part of your business philosophy and culture, to be customer-first and do whatever you can to offer superior customer experiences and journeys. To be clear, this includes – but also goes beyond – user experience. It includes business models, pricing models, try-and-buy options, reliability, help and support options, sales policies, and much more. You need to align all of these dimensions to the customer’s needs and expectations. This will result in brand loyalists and advocates who not only boost your revenues through their own continued business, but who are key in helping you attract new business. This is the very essence of being a customer-centric organization – creating better experiences that, in turn, help drive increased revenues.
When so much of the world’s business is conducted online without any face-to-face interactions, “Building Digital Trust” is critical to a company’s success, and customer-centricity is key to establishing trust.
This blog originally appeared on CustomerThink.