You are not a customer-centric Organization If You Don’t Do This
There has been a trend over the last decade or so for companies to want to be customer-centric. Many bring in (expensive) consultants to help them transform their organisation to be customer-centric. Why do they do this? Well, there is a myriad of studies which show that being a customer-centric company will result in a better customer experience, increased revenues and reduces costs. Forrester has shown that customer-centric companies have a significantly higher increase in share price than non-customer centric companies. Also, in a recent article by Hubspot, they quote that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that are not.
One of the core components of being customer-centric is to understand what your customers are doing when they interact with you. Companies as part of this transformation will collect customer and other business data and aim to become data-driven. They then end up identifying a multitude of KPIs that they have worked out will help them understand their customer better and therefore make more customer-centric decisions.
These KPIs are then assigned or fit naturally within the different departments or product areas in a company, and these teams go off optimising their activity, whether that be marketing, onsite/in-store experience, product, etc and then look at those KPIs in isolation. However, many companies still find themselves unable to reap the benefits of being customer-centric. They still find that they have not improved sales, or that optimising and improving customer experience in one area has negatively impacted the customer experience in another area.
So why is this the case? What is it that they have missed? An often overlooked aspect when becoming customer-centric is understanding how the data collected from your customers map to the customer journey. Though not all customer journeys are linear, as part of your transformation to be a customer-centric company, you would have created a customer journey map, one that takes the initial interaction with the brand through to purchasing a product or service and then being a loyal customer. This customer journey helps the company see how the customer interacts with different touchpoints.
Mainly the customer journey map is used by marketers and strategists to build better experiences, reduce friction and optimise the path to purchase. Data is then collected about key customer activity and reported by the different teams to demonstrate how a customer-centric approach has improved their KPIs.
Why is mapping data points to the customer journey important? Firstly, it helps you understand what can be measured directly, what can be measured indirectly through a proxy metric and where there are gaps in data collection. For example, a company with both e-commerce and physical stores should be able to measure activity around its marketing and promotions, understand customers who come to its website and the total amount of goods it has sold, but it may have a gap in the number of customers who come to the store, if they were satisfied with their visit, or if their journey started online and ended offline or offline and ended online, or other combinations that could occur.
Secondly, by mapping your data points to your customer journey map and knowing where you have gaps, you may need to engineer experiences which collect data in those gaps. This should encourage companies to innovate and deliver great customer experiences which also allow for the collection of additional data. If there is a gap in understanding how many people come to the store, using LiDAR technology to count footfall, or a touch screen display to assist people with their visit, could be deployed to collect additional data about customers.
Finally, the other benefit of mapping data points to the customer journey is that you can start to measure and report on your business from the customer’s perspective and not from the product or department perspective, which often leads to siloed decision making. This perspective can help identify where in the customer journey the path to purchase is broken, where people are stuck, which stage loses the most customers and what seems to work.
If you find that you are collecting customer data, but are not quite customer-centric, have a look at how you are reporting on your business. Is it through the lens of the different departments of product areas/teams? If so, that may be the root cause. To be customer-centric, you need to look at reports based on the customer journey. This can help you move to become a customer-centric company.
The thing to point out is that most companies believe you need a single customer view to be customer-centric. That is not the case. You just need to be able to measure your customers, even at an anonymous and aggregate level across all your customer touchpoints. Don’t feel you need to connect all your customer data, you just need to unify it, so that you can then quickly query and report on that data to understand where your customers may be having a bad experience.
So to be truly customer-centric, you need to explore how you report on your business. If you are still doing it from a team or product perspective, then you are not customer-centric.
At Be Data Solutions, we help our clients be customer-centric. We help them unify their data and then deploy reporting solutions that allow them to make business decisions from the perspective of the customer. If you would like to have a chat about how to solve the data part of the customer-centric puzzle, get in touch with us at [email protected].