How to Build a Dynamic Customer-Focused Culture in Your Company in 9 Steps
“There is only one boss. The Customer.” – Sam Walton
Customer focus is not a buzzword that companies throw around to stay relevant in today’s hyper-competitive market. It is a lifetime promise to your customers. It may sound very simple but it involves modifications to your business strategy that places more importance on caring for your customers than simply outperforming your competitors.
What is customer focus and why is it necessary?
Customer focus simply means prioritizing your customer’s needs and putting them first. Building a customer focussed strategy is the responsibility of the entire business, and shouldn’t be restricted to customer service teams alone. A customer-focused approach must show
- Quality in products and services
- Accessibility in service
- Less effort from customers in the sales and support cycle.
When your company is customer focussed, it means that you put more thought and emphasis on how each decision your company makes, benefits your customers rather than your business itself. Putting your customers at the center of your business strategy goes a long way in boosting customer satisfaction and strengthening customer relationships. It puts you in a better position to assist your customers and encourages a mutual engagement where your customers will be incentivized to stay loyal to your business.
In this article, we’ve broken down what differentiates a customer-focused from an operation focussed company, tips to build and improve your customer focus, along with real-time examples of companies that keep delighting their customers with a customer-centric approach.
Difference between customer-focused and operations focused companies
How to build a winning customer-focused strategy for your company?
#1. Pay attention to your customer
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand their issues better. By doing this, you will also be able to solve their issues precisely and let them bounce back quickly to their normal routine. Also, each customer has a different story and they don’t like repeating their issues over and over again. So, it’s important that agents have easy access to all the information they need to resolve an issue without making a customer repeat their issue.
Keeping track of your social media mentions and addressing both negative and positive mentions or comments, is another way to show that your business follows a customer-focused culture. But this process would be a total nightmare without the right tools. Freshdesk’s Social Signals powered by Freddy AI reads and distinguishes your tweets and mentions into casual, less-urgent mentions and more serious attempts to seek real help, and helps you easily identify the ones that require immediate attention.
The story of McDonald’s is a great example of a customer-focused brand that really listens to its customers. The fast-food joint faced intense competition from Taco Bell and Chipotle and also due to changing customer behavior. In order to win loyalty points in the fast-food wars, they went through their social media mentions to find out what their customers wanted from their restaurants. Thus they rolled out “All Day Breakfast” in a few of their US stores. Through this campaign, they also sent out personalized tweet replies to those who requested breakfasts and proved customer-centric culture.
#2. Promote inter-team collaboration
Customers get frustrated when they have to repeat their issues over and over again to different agents and making them do so shows that you don’t care enough about your customers. They expect you to collect information, collaborate internally, and have the information processed on their behalf.
Customer data is spread across different teams in your company and inter-team collaboration is an essential part of a customer focussed culture which helps deliver a seamless customer experience.
With Freshconnect, you can collaborate with internal teams and also your external partners. The in-app chats are also within the respective ticket’s interface, thus saving the agents from having to copy-paste the customer’s issue to provide context to the person who is looped into the conversation.
#3. Make it easier for your customers to reach you
Your customer base consists of different types of customers, and each type of customer prefers a different communication channel to reach out to customer support. Though having a single customer support channel might seem easy to work with and also helps provide a consistent support experience, offering choices for the customers to choose from shows your dedication to accessibility.
Customers prefer effortless experiences and having different channels for support makes it convenient for customers to reach you. With the emerging trends in customer service, it is also important to consider mobile-first instant messaging options like Whatsapp, Messenger, Apple Business Chat, etc. With the Freshdesk integrations with WhatsApp, you can resolve customer issues on their most preferred support platforms without losing context of customer information.
#4. Collect feedback and improve your service
Using customer feedback as an asset is an important attribute of a customer focussed company. Feedback helps you understand your customers better, specifically the experience they had when they used your product or service and interacted with your brand. Collecting customer feedback is also the best way to ensure that you listen to your customers and value them.
Sending out surveys and creating online communities are the best ways to collect customer feedback and know what your customers feel about your products or services. This facilitates a two-way relationship between you and your customers.
This real-time feedback feature of Uber is the best example of using feedback to foster a customer-focused culture. Customers and drivers can immediately rate each other right after the trip ends. This helps Uber ensure that their customers have a satisfactory experience and also take corrective actions when a driver gets too many bad reviews.
#5. Leverage data to delight your customers
Analyzing the feedback gathered can help you hear your customer thoughts and plug-in gaps in your product or service the right way. The data gathered from customer feedback can be used by product teams to update the product according to the changing customer needs.
Netflix has always been a step ahead with creating personalized customer experiences, especially through its recommendation engine. It leverages customer data to provide hyper-personalized suggestions to their customers and also create new content. By putting their customers first, Netflix is able to provide entertainment that customers love and make them choose Netflix over others.
#6. Offer proactive support
Customer support has changed from reacting to customer issues, to proactively offering support by identifying issues and resolving them beforehand. Proactive outreach is made easy with the help of Freshdesk. The minute your customers run into any problem, Freshdesk automatically helps you reach out with personalized emails to help troubleshoot their problems. It helps you identify rage clicks, dead clicks and also spots problems like payment failures and abandoned carts, and lets you proactively reach out and help your customers at the right moment.
For example, if you run your eCommerce business on Shopify, you can integrate your Shopify account with Freshdesk and leverage the proactive outreach option to proactively reach out to your customers and send a personalized email right to their inbox in no time.
#7. Create opportunities for employee growth and learning
Keeping your employees informed about the progress and updates in your business and industry is an important part of a customer focussed strategy. The reputation of your company is inextricably linked to the training offered to your employees and how well-informed and equipped they are. Train your employees and help them build the right communication and technical skills This will also help them develop more customer-focused skills and culture in your business.
Zappos takes building a customer-focused culture among their employees to the next level. It makes every new employee pick up customer calls during the first two weeks at the company to help them understand their customers better
#8. Deploy AI and Chatbots to enable self-service
AI and chatbots help improve key performance metrics such as first response time and number of tickets deflected, while also solving common queries and reducing high costs spent on hiring agents. With Freddy AI, you can deliver personalized solutions to your customers 24/7 and deliver wow moments to your customers. It provides relevant answers from your service portal knowledge base and also offers an option to switch over to a conversation with a human agent seamlessly. Not just that. It delivers a human-centered customer engagement experience by going beyond resolving issues and creating customer delights.
The largest growing mobile payments app, PhonePe automated 60% of their incoming queries with AI-powered Freddy chatbots. Not only that, our Freddy bots also helped them achieve a higher CSAT score than other traditional channels for support.
#9. Deliver exceptional customer service
The ultimate goal of a customer-focused company is to deliver customer happiness. Go above and beyond to resolve customer issues. Implement new ideas and strategies to keep your customers happy. Offer discounts and free goodies to your customers during promotions and also to build strong relationships with your customers. Delivering exceptional customer service and incorporating a customer-focused strategy helps in lowering churn rate, increasing customer satisfaction, and increasing revenue.
Even a bad customer experience can be turned into a delightful experience for the customers. Here is how Starbucks cracked that code. A regular Starbucks customer was denied a 10% discount on Starbucks Gold Card but Starbucks corporate support mailed him a $50 Starbucks card in return, making excellent use of service recovery. It made the customer talk about his amazing experience rather than the bad one on social media which he exclaimed that his experience was nothing short of fantastic.
Checklist for a customer-focused approach
Now that you know the ways to improve customer focus, here is a checklist to determine if your company is really customer-centric. Whether you are starting a new company or tweaking a few strategies onto your existing business model, make sure you check off all these four criteria.
When your company becomes more customer-focused, it will drive life-long customer relationships rather than revenue or business requirements. A customer-focused culture holds the power of changing an ordinary business to an extraordinary one. While emerging technologies keep changing the way of doing business, understanding and focusing your customer needs will always help your business grow.