How well do you engage with and listen to customers? Are you open to truly understanding what your customers are saying and experiencing with your products and services?
“I know my customers better than anyone. After all, they are my customers!”. We would love a dollar for each time we have heard this from our clients.
There is no doubt you know your customers well. However, the common missing link is between a company’s sales strategies and engagements and the extent to which they have the customer in mind when developing their offerings or marketing them to the potential end user.
According to Return Customer, “your sales and marketing efforts will be more successful if you take a customer-centric selling approach. Simply put, customer-centric selling is selling with the customer in mind”. They also say that to truly improve your business performance, you should focus on sales engagement solutions that:
- Improve your customer service to amaze your customers
- Build better customer relationships to retain more long-term clients
- Optimise your website to grow your profits
Customer-centric selling approaches is so much deeper than simply thinking you know your customer. Customer Think believe that the critical component of effective sales engagements is to have a truly customer-centric leader at the helm in a position of true influence within your organisation.
You may be asking yourself what does it mean to be a customer-centric leader? Customer Think purport that “customer-centric leaders come in all shapes, forms and sizes. I’m just kidding, they aren’t products that you can pick from a supermarket shelf. Nevertheless, they all have one thing in common: a profound passion to serve the customer and give them the best experience possible”. They go on to state that there are 10 must-haves for a customer-centric leader. These are:
- They focus on building a customer-centric company culture
- They always rise above the competition
- They know that customer experience begins before the sale
- Retaining promoters is their primary goal
- They are ready to be proven wrong when it is in the customer’s best interest
- They keep employees engaged to deliver utmost customer service and experience
- They strive to keep up with the digital-era of customers
- They don’t obsess over metrics
- They realise that customer experience is not just a one-time thing
- They encourage negative customer feedback
Being a truly effective customer-centric leader means you need to provide direction and purpose to your organisation and workforce. TeleTech provide some helpful tips to set your vision for customer centricity, as follows:
- Communicate your direction as clearly and concretely as possible. Include prioritized actions and tangible measures.
- Start with analytics. Understand your capabilities, resources, clients, stakeholders, and competitors.
- Check your strategic options against the values and long-term purpose of the business. Will your plan take you in the right direction?
- Don’t plan the strategy in a vacuum. Instead, make sure you consider the context of the wider organization, including other functions, service areas, and industries.
- Embrace uncertainty and contingencies. Identify scenarios based on what you’re both likely, and unlikely, to face, and create plans that respond accordingly.
Ernst & Young shared some fascinating insight in a recent sales transformation white paper which further demonstrates the absolute criticality of effectively connecting with your current and potential customer base:
- Advances in technology and communication, combined with the explosive growth in data and information, have given rise to a more empowered global consumer.
- By 2020, it is anticipated there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally, with mobile being the primary internet device for most individuals.
- The challenge is how to transition from existing product and traditional distribution models to those that deliver what customers want.
- Call centres will continue to play a critical role through the life cycle and must be adapted within the business to respond to evolving trends and drive greater value at lower cost.
Accenture believe that “today’s customers seem to think the world revolves around them – and they are right. Around the world, consumer expectations are rising quickly, and their perceptions are defined through an increasingly complex set of interactions. Moreover, new consumer populations are emerging with distinct needs and preferences of their own”.
FiveP agree with comments by Accenture that “the rapid pace of innovation means competitive advantage is increasingly short-lived, forcing providers to improve the impact and velocity of innovation and increasing the damage they incur when a launch backfires or a product fails”.
The American Marketing Association recently stated that “true growth – and the customer centricity that drives it – is not accomplished by a strong rallying cry or a catchy slogan. A company must understand its customers’ behaviours and attitudes and have the internal processes in place to create a cultural change within the organization”.
They go on to say that “by aligning deep customer insights with communications and operational processes and identifying gaps in performance among the seven pillars of customer centricity, a company can drive sustainable results”.
FiveP supports the notion that an effective sales engagement strategy needs to align with and harness each stage of the customer experience through a cohesive and comprehensive approach.
Here at FiveP, we always care about keeping our customers happy. We believe that what sets us apart from the rest is that our main focus is on the people we work with, rather than the technology we use. Our main focus is empowering people. We bring the people we work with (your Team!) into the project, keeping them engaged and informed every step of the way and changing behaviour through comprehensive training and change management.
It’s by empowering our people and our clients’ that FiveP delivers business benefits, not just technology solutions.
Don’t trust my words? Read our customers’ voice: http://fivep.com.au/expertise/case-studies/.
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, stated that “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Food for thought in an ever-challenging global business world.
I am looking forward to working with you.
|Marcus Simkin | GM Dynamics 365 | FiveP
About the author: As FiveP’s Dynamics 365 General Manager, Marcus combines industry knowledge with a strong business acumen, applying both to ensuring his clients are best positioned to achieve impressive outcomes from strategic business objectives.