Being “customer-centric” is a buzz concept in business today, but it is still little more than a theory in most companies. Customer-centric cultures operate according to what their customers want. That seems obvious, but the truth is that most companies have an “inside-out” focus, as Steve Denning writes at Forbes.com. We might call such organizations “company-centric.” At company-centric firms, protocols, product development, and management approaches all originate from within the company, rather than from customers.
In contrast, customer-centric or “outside-in” companies take their cues from their customers. Company culture has a lot to do with the shift toward customer-centric operations, but today’s Enterprise Feedback Management technology can also help. By continuously gathering customer feedback, responding to that feedback in real-time, and sharing customer requests, gripes, and raves, companies can put the customer in the driver’s seat and thereby maximize profits.
Roger Martin explains why companies must become more customer-centric in his Harvard Business Review article, “The Age of Customer Capitalism.” Reviewing the performance of S&P shareholder returns since 1932, he concludes that, because they are based on market expectations, share prices do not reliably rise when executives aim to maximize shareholder returns. Martin writes, “to create shareholder value, you should instead aim to maximize customer satisfaction.” PeopleMetrics’ research extends and supports this idea; we have found that companies with the highest Customer Engagement levels also see the highest improvements in share value, among other business indicators.
Voice of the Customer software can help foster a customer-centric approach by continuously gathering customer feedback, and passing on that feedback to managers, executives, and front-line employees. For instance, results from PeopleMetrics 5-minute “check-in” customer surveys are immediately available on our special online dashboard. Company leadership decides which employees should have access to which survey results. The online Voice of the Customer portal allows managers and front-line employees to can immediately understand what’s delighting customers, and what’s not. Customer feedback can be at the heart of operations with modern EFM technology.
Furthermore, PeopleMetrics has developed tools to highlight and manage crucial customer feedback. For instance, our Voice of the Customer solution sends a Recover Alert if a customer indicates a problem with the company. Managers can then reply in a timely manner—often within 24 hours, since feedback is available in real-time.
A customer-centric approach is only possible when organizations maintain an ongoing conversation with customers. With powerful Customer Engagement software tools at employees’ fingertips, companies can sustain a conversation with customers about what products, features, and exeriences they prefer. Real-time customer feedback alerts can help companies maximize Customer Engagement and boost bottom-line business metrics.
Topic: Customer Experience