Hints & Tips Blog

Is Your Business ‘Customer-Centric’?

All businesses are dependent on their ability to attract customers, satisfy their needs and retain them. But when we’re focused on pursuing more sales and greater growth, we sometimes forget what really matters to our customers. When that happens, you’ll lose them.

How can you determine the importance of your customers in your business?

First, ask yourself whether everyone in the business is concerned about customer service. That means not just the customer service team itself, but everyone.

Are the sales team putting customers’ interests first, rather than their own commissions? Are they factoring in your capability to deliver the amount they sell? Do they take account of the company’s resources, and the impact on other teams such as delivery or operations?

Is your accounting team fostering relationships with customer contacts? Have they built up good channels of communication and ’emotional capital’? If problems arise with payments, these will go a long way to smoothing your path to a solution.

Are you endorsing ‘the human touch’?

The digital revolution is spreading and, in most cases, can improve your efficiency and service. But do your customers have a number to call if the unexpected happens or things go wrong? Most of us have experienced the frustration of trying to communicate with a real human. Automated switchboards and soulless muzak can drive you mad, when all you want is to explain your problem. Speaking to a real person makes all the difference in problem-solving, and your customers’ frustration will be considerably less.

Do you see opportunities in failure?

It’s rare never to make mistakes in business, as in life. There are many pitfalls, such as supply chain issues, over-expansion or staff shortages, and we need to bounce back. The companies that inspire the most loyalty aren’t those who’ve never messed up, but those who’ve gone the extra mile to fix it when they have.

Showing human frailty establishes a more equal relationship, where customers feel that you care. It’s less usual and more satisfying in the business world, and they’ll remember you for that.

Do you have strategies in place for unexpected problems?

These should be responses or incentives your team knows you’re happy to offer. If they can do this quickly and seamlessly, you’ll turn a negative issue into a positive outcome.

Does your front line have the power to deliver?

Do you have confidence in those who deal with customers directly? Do you trust them to make rapid decisions, and take action to resolve issues without reverting to you first? If not, you should ask yourself why. Do they lack knowledge or experience? Understanding why you’re not delegating responsibility is halfway to resolving the problem.

You can fix this by reassessing your hiring profile and training methods, as well as the tools and direction you give out. This will help increase your confidence in people to make appropriate, timely decisions for both customers and company. Delays in fixing mistakes will only add to customers’ frustration, so it can really help to empower your front-line staff to speed things up.

How are you assessing customer care?

  • Do you understand and measure what’s really important to your customers, beyond standard KPIs?
  • How responsive is your team to a crisis? Or an unusual request?
  • Do you discover customers’ preferred channels of communication?
  • Do you reward your team for ‘customer-centric’ behaviour?

By asking customers and reflecting on their views, you can introduce new customer-centric practices and monitor their impact.

If you find this message resonating with you, why not contact us to see if we can help.

Our team at BHP Consulting have all successfully run businesses, and we understand that every business is unique. Our practical approach to supporting our clients enables us to share our real-world experience to positively impact on the performance of your business. To arrange a call or an exploratory face-to-face meeting, please click here.