Touting a customer-first operating model is trending in business circles. Talking about customer obsession and using it for promotional reasons are one thing, but living it out is another.
Customer obsession means deciphering how your business can make customers the center and develop long lasting, purposeful relationships with them. This type of mindset shift has an ROI other than making customers happy; satisfied customers tell their friends who then become customers, which increases your sales and positive reputation.
While customer obsession has an ROI, you do have to actually invest. Changing the framework of how your company thinks isn't easy, but utilizing available technology makes it effortless.
"It is only through listening to our customers and then innovating that we are able to enhance the customer experience," says Nu Skin SVP of Global Technology Joe Sueper. "Digital channels open up new opportunities for us to own and deliver the optimal experience. Ensuring that our digital channels are up-to-date and able to cope with the demands of the new tech-savvy consumer is essential."
If you're ready to take the leap, consider adding these tech tools to your customer-obsessed arsenal.
Collecting data is essential to being customer obsessed. What you actually do with the data makes a difference.
You need software that brings all your data streams into one dashboard. The numbers alone, in their silos, give you some insights; Contextualizing all your data offers the big picture view. At 10,000 feet, you can see how marketing might be impacting sales or how slow support desk services are tied to declining repeat customers.
Letting software do the heavy lifting gives you more time to focus on customers, not on gathering data. There are a few types of programs out there that do this. The route you choose depends on your workflow and business size.
At its core a customer relationship manager tracks interactions with current and prospective customers. While this is essential for maintaining a contact database and streamlining the support desk's workflow, a CRM offers additional features for analyzing and viewing multiple data streams in one place, often called knowledge management. If you run a smaller business with several personal client relationships, a CRM could be just the right amount of software for you.
Larger companies can benefit from business intelligence software. BI systems often don't include contact management but instead hone in on deep data analysis and reporting. There are dozens of BI softwares on the market. The size of your business, pre-existing data sources and goals will determine which option is the best fit for your company.
Now that you're collecting data, your teams need access to it. Working to put the customer at the center with a data-driven approach requires all hands on deck. Implementing a collaboration platform - such as Monday.com, Asana, Trello, Slack or others - makes this easy. While the strengths of each program differs, the core idea is that all teams operate in the same collaborative environment with increased transparency of workload and assets.
"Transparency means making all information - numbers, roadmaps, plans, challenges, and concerns - readily accessible to everyone on your team," Monday.com CEO and Founder Roy Mann says.
Sales should be able to see with a quick glance what marketing is working on and how their latest campaign is performing. If different departments are operating like silos instead of the interconnected business they are, the staff you've hired won't be utilized to their fullest. Your staff is at their best when they're working together, both keeping an eye on the big picture and digging into the minutiae of areas of expertise.
Though most collaboration platforms aim to be an all-in-one, you'll need to consider your company's needs and style before rolling out a new system. Think about how your teams communicate, what types of information is and isn't shared already, and what your goals are for more collaboration. A combination of platforms might be the best solution for your teams.
Implementing a customer-obsessed mindset is about more than having excellent customer service, but that doesn't mean your support desk should fall by the wayside. In fact excellent customer support is the cornerstone of customer obsession. It's one of the most outward expressions of the principle.
"If you're having trouble and can't reach customer support, you're going to get frustrated, perceive that as a bad experience, and you might leave," says Dave Dyson, Sr. Customer Service Evangelist at Zendesk. "Businesses that provide good experiences set expectations for what a customer experience should be at similar businesses."
A support desk platform creates an experience that feels seamless for customers and easy to manage for your service team leader. The system, like a CRM, should allow one support agent to pick up right where another left off. Assisting the customer service team with smart technology gives your people more time to focus on authentic, human interactions with customers.
Treat your support desk platform like the data stream it is: All customer interaction and case details should be input into it, and it should be connected to whatever CRM or BI software you utilize.
Think about how this platform plays into your larger integrations and workflows. For example, instead of manually handling notices and follow-ups, allow the software to automate it. Set up auto-generated emails notifying customers that their request was received as well as surveys once the support experience ends.
If you aren't following up with customers, you're missing a huge opportunity. Soliciting feedback is key to getting the pulse on how customers feel about your business.
There are several approaches to this. One of the simplest is the popular tool Net Promoter. As a consumer you've probably answered the question "How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?" Net Promoter uses this to calculate your Net Promoter Score, a quick gauge on public perception of your brand.
Many companies email out a "likelihood to recommend" question via email and invite respondents to opt-in to a longer survey for a chance to win a gift card. No matter the software you chose to create the longer survey, check to make sure it integrates with your existing systems. And don't forget to pay attention to how long your survey is to ensure a high level of completions.
Then, feed these responses back into your CRM or BI system to get a truly full-circle picture of how customers engage with your brand.