By Irene Lefton, Customer Success Evangelist
We have entered the age of the customer. Business is changing, and having a customer-centric focus has become essential. Today, it’s not enough to set objectives to delight your customer or provide excellent customer and field service. You have to actually achieve those objectives — here are some practical steps to help you optimize your business in the age of the customer.
First, make sure your company has the appropriate financial focus and is making the right investments for the customer as it relates to field service. This is a key way to differentiate your company from the competition. Check your budgets and think about shifting some of the investment you make in acquiring customers to supporting your current customer base and ensuring a positive customer experience.
Next, take a look at your organizational structure from the customer’s point of view. Are you easy to work with? Do your customers have to hop between departments to get things done? Do some things drop through the cracks? It might be time to restructure some of your customer-facing functions into a single group like Customer Success. When these customer-facing roles all sit inside of different organizational silos it can be hard to provide a consistent and strong customer-centric approach and your customers will definitely see the difference.
Another area to consider is your customer communication. Whether it comes from the field or from corporate, are you sending consistent messages? Are the messages aligned with your corporate goals and strategies? Do customers fully understand the value you bring to them? Is the communication hitting the right channels to involve all the roles within your customer’s organizations? The methods we use to communicate and interact with our customers and partners change regularly. Most companies spend a lot of time on messages for prospects. Don’t forget to think about what you are telling your current customers. Look for another article here next quarter addressing this topic more fully.
Lastly, ensure your customer has a voice in your strategy. Assign a Chief Customer Officer or other executive who can bring the customer perspective to your executive team. You need this in formulating strategy that will be customer centric. The mere existence of this role speaks for a renewed focus on customers and the emergence of the age of the customer. Are you listening?
It’s clear that today, one of the key areas for a company to differentiate themselves is around customer engagement and customer service. This includes field service, which is frequently the first line of defense for customers. Involving the right people and setting the right goals is the first step. Executing on those objectives is what will have a real economic impact to your bottom line.
Leveraging the age of the customer is one huge opportunity that you can use to improve the way you do business. Some might even say, given the consumer influence on business, and the customer expectations for service, it’s now mandatory that to be successful you must focus on customers.