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What is customer focus? How does it drive business growth? Here are 10 ways you can build a customer-focused culture in your organization.
Given the choices that customers have in the SaaS industry today, customer focus has become indispensable for companies within the industry. Gone are the days when you could anticipate customer needs and produce your offerings accordingly to succeed in the market. Now, there is a need to strategize more precisely for your products to fit the right market.
Customer focus can be a competitive advantage if you are able to adopt it. It is less of a process and more of a culture that needs to be adopted into your organization so that all units perform accordingly
So how does the customer focus impact your business? What strategies you must adopt to build this culture? How does it drive business growth? These are a few of the areas we are going to discuss in this blog. But let’s start with the customer focus definition.
It is a mindset, philosophy, or a strategy to align your business processes with customer’s goals and expectations. When you implement this strategy in your company, all your business units work towards the same goal – customer success. Since your success is dependent on the success of your customers, it is a winning combination.
Employee -> keep your boss happyEmployer -> maximize profitCustomer-> maximize ROI
As we can see, there is a Scattered collective vision.
Employee -> help customer maximize ROIEmployer -> help customer maximize ROICustomer -> maximize ROI
Here we can see a Unified collective vision.
When all your business units start working towards one goal, you become a powerful force reaching better results.
The obvious benefit of a customer focus approach is greater customer satisfaction. But how it enhances your business growth is what we are going to explore below.
Customer retention is one of the primary goals of any SaaS organization. When you want to retain your customers for the long run, you naturally want to understand them more completely. To do so, you have to be nearer to your customers than any of your competitors. When you serve your customers with a focused approach, they tend to stay with you for longer.
In the initial stage of implementation of this strategy, you would experiment to find out what works best. This means spending more time, resources and money. But after a certain point, you develop a knack that starts giving you better outcomes.
Your operational costs tend to decrease as you get more specialized in serving your customers. This starts fetching more profit for your business for two reasons:
When customer loyalty is leveraged, brand advocacy can be obtained. Loyal and satisfied customers tend to share their positive experiences with your brand with others. This brings more publicity through word-of-mouth marketing which is usually more effective than advertising.
There are many ways you can build this culture in your organization. Some are generic, while others are more contextual, which only you can find. Read on to explore the 10 different ways you can choose from to build a customer-focused culture.
Building a culture of customer orientation should start with right hiring. During your hiring process, gauge the candidate’s customer focus skills. Making this part of your selection criteria not only assesses the candidate’s capability but also gives a message to the recruits and hiring managers about the importance of customer experience.
To build a customer focus strategy, you need to facilitate direct interaction of your employees with customers. It is not just the customer facing employees who must regularly interact with the customers. Even the back-office employees should understand customers well by engaging with them contextually in a timely manner. This will infuse the customer-centric culture at all levels.
When a manager can measure the impact they are creating in customer outcomes, they get more motivated towards serving them. Employee’s growth should be linked to customer outcomes and proper appraisals should happen based on that. For example, sales teams should be incentivized for selecting the right-fit customer that enables longer customer retention.
Employee culture is infectious when it comes to dealing with customers. When your employees have a high satisfaction level and feel good about their job, they can be easily motivated towards creating a greater customer experience. Customers can also feel the positive impact while interacting with highly motivated employees.
Customer insights are essential to gain a deeper understanding of your customer’s needs, challenges, and outcomes. While this may sound relevant only for marketing and sales teams, it would be wise to share it across all teams. This way, everyone can access the customer insights and optimize their work according to customer needs.
Customer empathy is easier said than done in many SaaS organizations. It is important in building a greater understanding of customer pain-points and emotional needs. There cannot be a greater attribute than empathy that helps cementing your relationship with customers.
Employees of a customer focus organization should do a deeper study of customers on different channels like social media, support calls, etc. to better understand them. Through this, they should be able to identify what really clicks with customers.
Customer satisfaction and loyalty can easily be mistaken if not analyzed through the right metrics. Make sure you use the right metrics to measure your customer health and share it across all teams.
A customer health score through a customer success platform can help you give an overall picture of the health of a customer account. Another key metric is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that tells you the satisfaction level of your customers with your brand. Likewise, there are many metrics that can help you assess the customer’s sentiments and take proper actions towards improving them.
Customer focus can be improved when the customer service culture fosters employees. Think of it like a chain reaction. Employees need to be customer-focused and have a customer-focused strategy. You need to reward employees who are helping customers in the right direction. To improve customer focus, you need to provide feedback to employees. This will help the employees know what they need to do to focus on the customer. Customer-focused employees are the biggest asset for any company. Give feedback regularly instead of waiting for an annual session.
Your employees need to imbibe customer-focused strategies to spell out the mission, vision, and interests of the company. A key aspect to consider is noticing if employees are working on their feedback. What is the review status? Is there any improvement from the last quarter? Are the employees who are offering excellent customer service being rewarded?
Data is everything in today’s day and age. To unlock the true potential of data, you need to use technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence. These twin technologies can enhance customer focus. Customer-focused strategy can be improved if adequate attention is paid to data technology and intelligence.
Many business professionals are ready to pay more for data-specific products to get a differentiator in place. To create better customer experiences and improve focus on customers, it is better to use the power of technology. Data can help you derive predictive insights. This can help you improve customer focus in the long run. You can enhance relationships, create surveys, and boost response rates with data analytics. Data is all set to be the engine to focus on the customer. Data analytics will also enable improved returns and outcomes.
You can even take the help of an expert such as the Chief Customer Officer to ensure customer focus in the organization.
A customer-focused culture and customer-focused strategy requires a strong foundation. It is not an overnight activity. Customer focus can be improved if the foundation is strong. You can build a customer-focused strategy brick by brick if it is solid. You need to implement certain strategies to succeed on this journey of improving customer focus. Improving technical skills will encourage employees to perform better with every opportunity. Customer focus improves company growth, increases loyalty, and ensures that customers are satisfied. If you keep investing in learning and education, you are upskilling for an improved outcome. You can take the help of courses from reputed institutes to instill innovative ideas in employees, learn more, and take their feedback. This will help you develop customer focus skills and create customer-focused interactions. Learning will help offer an advantage over competitors and predict insights to ace disruption.
With the rising need to provide a greater customer experience, companies are evolving from sales-driven or product-focused cultures to a customer-focused culture. It has become increasingly important to give better service to customers. As a result, the onus has expanded from just professionals with customer-facing roles to the whole organization.35
Every team in an organization has something to learn from customer experience that can be integrated into their functions. Even the products must be designed keeping the core user’s needs in focus rather than the product owner’s intuitions. Instilling customer focus values throughout your organization takes time but, once done, it prevails forever.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published 21 Sep 2020, Updated 25 Aug 2022
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