Customer centricity is more than a new marketing buzzword!

How to truly focus on the customer

In many industries customer centricity is a “new” trend, in others it has been a natural basic for decades.

So let’s have a look at definitions, implications, champion industries, dos and don’ts and the customers!

 

Defining customer centricity

Almost all companies provide customer service, use quality assurance programs and monitor customer feedback.

However, this does not necessarily mean real customer focus. Because convenience and ease of use for customers are often sacrificed. For lower costs, faster production processes, easier packaging and storage, or more beautiful designs.

Often the finance, production, research and development and logistics departments have little information and even less interest in end users. Only marketing, sales and customer service are “responsible” for customer centricity.

However, customer centricity means that the customer (not the organisation) is at the centre of all activities.

Customer Centricity Organigramm

 

A holistic strategy

The hospitality and tourism sectors are by nature champions when it comes to customer centricity.
Destinations, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships etc. could not be successful without a strong focus on their customers.

It starts with the internal organisation: It is based on the expectations and needs of the customers – not on the needs of employees, managers, owners or shareholders! All people in a company must think and act customer-oriented in this sense. Empathy and a general love for people helps.

However, a customer-oriented KPI system for as many departments as possible is crucial. Make sure to remunerate customer-centric employees!

Customer centricity/Kundenorientierung soll belohnt werden

Success story:

For his airline “Lauda Air”, the late Niki Lauda opted for the claim “Service is our success”. A courageous statement indeed.

But very successful, because he kept his promise:
Meals from the best caterer in town, high-quality drinks, a super-friendly crew, flawlessly clean aircraft and washrooms – even on long-haul flights.
Every single negative passenger comment was a matter for the boss: customer satisfaction below 95% was unacceptable.

 

Customers have more power than ever!

Today, customers can make a product really successful with comments on social media and rating platforms. But the opposite can also happen. Consumers trust such platforms with peer comments much more than the best message from the company.

Hotels and airlines were among the first to feel the results of publicly available ratings. And at first they hated it!
But it soon became clear that concerns about “fake” or “unfair” comments were unnecessary. Hundreds of reviews and comments on platforms like TripAdvisor or booking.com usually reflected a fair perception.

Excellent performance is now rewarded with more bookings and higher revenue. Lousy providers get into trouble, even if they have a nice website or low prices.

Mehr Umsätze durch echte Kundenorientierung

More revenue with customer centricity

 

Today such customer reviews are professionally managed and used for marketing, quality assurance and employee reviews.
Customer comments also provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a service or product – free of charge and honest!

 

The simple solution – more customer convenience

Reasons for purchasing are volatile and as varied as the potential customer.

However, one factor always comes first with most customer groups: Convenience!

  • Online shopping must be easy, fast and immediate. “Send us an e-mail” is not a suitable solution.
  • Product information must be easily accessible and perceptible. Small prints, poor contrasts and scientific formulations are not customer friendly at all.
  • The use of all products, especially electronic and household appliances, must be intuitive and simple. Complicated manuals and user interfaces with tiny buttons and poor labelling need to be revised.
  • Sustainable and easy to open packaging is becoming increasingly important. Lots of plastic and the need for scissors, a knife or a special opening device: There is ample room for more sustainable comfort!
Mit Lupe Informationen lesen - wo bleibt die Kundenorientierung?

Needing a magnifier to read information – what about more customer focus?

 

No false promises – be honest!

Customers are not stupid!

Never talk about your “customer centricity” if you can’t meet the expectations this raises:

  • Don’t talk about your regional organic food if you can’t provide evidence and stories about the local farmers you buy from.
  • Never advertise a special offer that is hardly ever available or only with restrictions that are not clearly communicated.
  • Avoid talking about your customer centricity, when your packaging is hard to open or the information is almost impossible to read.
  • Don’t offer lame explanations for complaints, offer an honest apology and compensation – and try to do better next time.
  • Abandon a customer loyalty program with ridiculous advantages, because you only want to collect customer data. Don’t promise any benefits you can’t guarantee (like Express Line, Upgrade).
Kosmetika mit Minischrift und schlechten Kontrasten

There is probably still work to be done on customer orientation!

 

Accept the challenge!

The fact is that people are becoming more and more demanding and less patient.

This makes it harder than ever to meet customer expectations. That’s why true customer focus has become a must. Whether we like it or not. Lobbyists in many industries still see consumer organisations as enemies. And at the same time they claim to be “customer-oriented”.
A contradiction? Yes! A joke? No! but usual practice.

 

My tip: Do customer centricity with full commitment or don’t even talk about it!

 

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