Customer Centricity is a business strategy and culture that puts the customer first, and it applies across all aspects of work and can have multiple manifestations.
To become more customer centric, you need to break it into tangible pieces and find a way to measure how you perform in them, including softer areas like relationships and culture.
The more granular you get, the clearer it will become what you need to improve. At Amdocs, we developed a program for measuring and improving customer centricity – the Amdocs Customer Centricity Framework. It looks at six different domains which we believe are all key. Last quarter’s tip roundup focused on Research. This time we’ll focus on: Prioritization, which looks at whether or not you are defining the right strategic directions when engaging with your customers.
Tip #1: Ask your customers what their business priorities are, as a company, but also as individuals
Does your customer really need a razor with a vibrating head and 10 blades?
To what extent are you familiar with your customers’ business priorities as a company? And do you know what their professional goals are or what they are being measured on as individuals?
Knowing what your customers’ priorities are at both company and personal levels will allow you to define the right strategic directions when engaging with them, propose the solutions they really need and align your resources to best support them.
Reading recent company news, press releases, investor presentations or annual reports can also give you some idea. Aside high-level company goals and strategic directions, in some annual reports you can find compensation plan targets of different business units.
And, of course, it’s always best to ask your customer what their priorities are and have a conversation about it!
A great example of a company with razor-sharp focus on what customers really need is Dollar Shave Club. In 2012 they entered the American razor market with a shocking offer – $1 a month for high-quality razors delivered directly to your doorstep - competing with market titans on price and convenience. Their genius launch ad featuring the company’s CEO, a giant bear costume, some tape and a machete went immediately viral, earning the company 12,000 new subscribers the next day and 4.75 million views in 3 months. Dollar Shave Club had annual sales approaching $200 million when it was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion in 2016.
Tip #2: Make a point to listen better
There are four types of listeners. Which type are you?
At the source of failure, very often, there is lack of listening. How well are you listening to your customers? Do you really know what they need and why they need it? Did you ever change your way of working as a result of a customer request, to align with their way of working?
According to senior MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer Otto Scharmer, there are four different levels of listening: (1) Downloading – looking for information to confirm what we already know or expect, (2) Factual – listening with an open mind, learning facts we don’t already know, (3) Empathic – listening with an open heart, seeing through another person’s eyes, and (4) Generative – listening with an open will, connecting with ideas and their potential future.
Can you do a better job at listening to your customers? Do you make a point to see things from their perspective with empathic listening - to really understand what they need? Or open yourself to change with generative listening – overcoming ego and other barriers to imagine great things together and start to bring them into reality?
Tip #3: Put yourself in your customers' shoes: Think of their experience when using your solution and how it can be improved.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around” – Steve Jobs
Do you know how your customers are using your solution? Are they using all the functionality that can benefit them? Are they finding it useful and easy to use?
To find out what their customers really need, Intuit, a provider of financial software tools, took the concept of “putting yourself in the customer’s shoes” to the next level. Their “follow me home” program observed customers in their homes and offices when using their products as a way to help create intuitive software tools that meet the needs of real people.
By understanding the experience customers have when using your products, you will know what you need to do to improve them and build the products that customers will want to use.
About the Amdocs Customer Centricity Framework
The Amdocs Customer Centricity Framework aims to help improve our engagements and relationships with our customers. As part of the program, customer-facing teams undergo an assessment targeted to measure their customer centricity maturity levels and identify areas where they can improve across six domains: Customer Relationship, Research, Prioritization, Creating Value, Measurement and Culture. An improvement plan is then put in place and executed upon.