For an organization, customer centricity basically means aligning its products and services with the needs and preferences of its customers. It accounts for the experience the organization provides, both before and after the sale, and helps in building customer loyalty for repeat business and higher profits.

Given that this is a standard practice, when and how did customer centricity start trending?

Although the power shift happened in the late 1990s, when customers started to be more selective towards where they chose to spend their money, the approach is more relevant in today’s dynamic world where enterprises must ensure that they fulfil all customer expectations, which could change almost every minute.

Customers get to research and explore many options these days on the Internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way consumers approach shopping, with traditional (and uninitiated) consumers moving to online shopping. According to a Salesforce research report, 71% of consumers said that businesses that showed empathy during the pandemic have earned their loyalty.

With the rise of multichannel markets, companies want to customize the shopping experience; however, only a few have achieved a desirable level of personalization across channels. A recent leadership survey across industries shows that 53% of companies did not have a customer experience leader.  A customer experience strategy will define an organization’s success in 2021.

Research shows that companies that struggle in adopting the strategy do so because they are unable to share customer information across departments and often lack the culture to understand customer needs. Sometimes, their inertia towards a data-driven approach and investing in the right tools and infrastructure hinders them from leveraging their own data thoroughly.

Companies like McDonald’s Corporation and Amazon, often referred to as some of the most customer centric companies worldwide, have become so by listening to their customers. Both companies explored various options of capturing customer feedback (including social media and surveys), which later allowed them to address queries and needs such as having a healthier menu or better product recommendations in the portal. McDonald’s, in fact, further capitalized on the data and shared personalized tweets with everyone who requested changes in socials, instilling a high customer centric notion.

With data-centric tools becoming more sophisticated and enterprises being more appreciative about the use of data, there is going to be a paradigm shift in customer engagements to a higher level and to keep abreast with market trends and dynamics.

It is important to remember that while the efforts may seem extensive, the payback for the companies who are committed to the strategy would be worthwhile. After all, what customers perceive is the reality for most organizations.

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