I would be lying if I said that I know of organizations that are fully customer-centric. In fact majority of the organizations I know of, both small and large are totally customer oblivious. Thinking like your customer is the first challenge, and delivering a positive customer experience is even harder. I have been in a position where putting myself in the shoes of the customer was really hard but I gave it a short and the results were really amazing.
I think of myself as a very good example for the fact that I have transformed myself through weight loss and am now sharing these methods with other people. I can relate to my potential customers in the most real sense, because at one stage I was in the exact position of that customer – the position of an overweight person looking for a weight loss solution.
I once heard a restaurant manager tell his staff: “The customers are not here to eat food or drink wine. They can do that at home. They are here to be treated as if they are important; as if they are royalty. Do that and they will reward you for it.” Most customers aren’t unreasonable – they know there are limitations on what you can do for them. But they expect you to do as much as you can. Don’t just make them important because they are your customer. Just make them important and they’ll want to be your customer time and again.
Everyone is a Customer!
Everyone knows how to think like a customer because everyone is a customer at some point. Think about your experience of being a customer. What impressed you and made you want to go back to that business? What irritated you and ensured you would never return? Now make your business do more of the first and less of the second.
How often do you ask yourself, for example when you go to Uchumi Supermarket, do you note which products should be added or removed? If you could have your way with the store’s presentation, would you change the layout, the lighting, and perhaps the color scheme? How about the service? No shortage of suggestions there, right? So it goes with airlines, telephone companies, banks, every organization you deal with — you’re continually redesigning strategic factors such as product range, presentation, and customer service. We all do it.
Why do some companies succeed while so many fail? Often, the cause is internal barriers. Even the best-intentioned attempts at customer-centricity can be sabotaged by bad strategies, organizational processes, technologies and data, which can result in disconnected sales, marketing and service functions. Your customer views all of your functions and business units as a single company. Shouldn’t you?
Customers today expect an imaginative, high-quality experience in a multi-channel environment. Failure to adapt to this new reality will mean not only lost business but a growing gap in product development. If you’re not listening and responding to your customers, chances are you’re not anticipating new needs and demands.
There is no such thing as ‘customers’
Every customer is concerned with one person – themselves. They see their own self as an individual with individual needs. They don’t care what other customers think or want or like, they expect you to ask what they think, want and like. If you try to treat your customer as ‘customers’, they will soon realize that you really don’t care about them, and go looking for a business that does. Get rid of your ‘customers’ service policy – customers hate policies because they realize that the ‘policy’ is more important to you than they are. Train your staff in how to deliver ‘customer’ service.
Ask your customer what they think
This is what every customer wants from your business. They have a problem that needs a solution, and they will give their money to the person who helps them solve it. They want you to help them identify what their problem is, explore options about how to solve it, respect their choice and then help them achieve it. Customers don’t care about your business or your products, only about how you can help them.