Is The Customer At The 'Heart Of Your Business'?

It is time for organisations to re-focus and re-centre their plans and activities with the customer at the fulcrum

The key differentiator for any brand is its customer experience – the sum total of all the activities it performs. As competition intensifies, the need for creating excellent and outstanding CX only amplifies further! Especially so, post the recent black swan event, when customers have become so demanding and beginning to harbour high expectations from brands.

Literally and metaphorically, the customer is at the heart of every business! Increasingly now, more than ever, it has become mandatory to ensure that your customers stay happy, if not “delighted” after each interaction with your business. After all, not only does he/she pay for your bills, but he/she is, ultimately the reason for your very survival and sustenance.

It is time for organisations to re-focus and re-centre their plans and activities with the customer at the fulcrum. Doing so, brings ultimate clarity and simplicity in plans, collaboration and alignment between teams due to aligned objectives and priorities and also a drive for results, from the alignment of actions between stakeholders, for CX and business goals. However, the implementation of such plans does require a die-hard focus on the customer and a deft & undeterred commitment to its customers

Quoting from a recent survey conducted by SalesForce, Customer centricity reigns supreme when it comes to customer service –

-91% of customers agree that they are likely to make another purchase post a good service experience

-80% agree that the experience a company provides is as important as the products and services

-59% agree that the pandemic has further raised their standards for good customer service

-71% customers said that businesses that showed empathy during the pandemic have earned their loyalty.

Lessons from Amazon – The North Star in CX

The one blazing example of a brand that has truly lived this philosophy in its DNA, is Amazon. It is no surprise that it is the Globally most valued brand today with a presence in countless categories, and in every one of those categories it has risen to become a leader, due to its ultimate and die-hard obsession with its customers.

Taking a peek-a-boo into the Amazon model, whose Mission is “To be the Earth's most Customer-Centric company” - the commitment of each member of the Amazon family is that they make their customer's lives better.

Customer Obsession is primary to their operating model. It is a conscious choice to de-prioritise all other stakeholders – be they Investors, Media, Competition or any others Every new product category that Amazon has ventured into, over the years, has come from deep insight into evolving customer needs and “problems” that require to be solved.

The Amazon Flywheel model encapsulates very beautifully how CX stands at the cusp of the two virtuous cycles of the e-commerce business – first being the purchase and cost structure and second being the customer acquisition. CX sits at the confluence and permeates all aspects of key decisions with “price value” proposition for the customer always remaining at the fore, in line with their vision.

The Amazon operating principle is based upon adopting Innovation as integral to enhancing their customer experience. The ideology for Innovation is to start with the customer and then work backwards

Let's take the example of the Amazon Kindle. The birth of the Kindle idea came from the insight that people want to carry with them, multiple books at the same time but it does become physically bothersome to do so. The concept to digitise books and having as many as you want, on a light device was an answer to that problem. At the time, Amazon was largely an online bookseller and the Kindle challenged the primary bookselling model. Yet, the decision to go forth with it was taken because the belief was that it was the right thing to do, for the customers. Of course, we now know that the models have eventually become complementary and co-exist.

Many companies that failed to acknowledge such customer evolutionary trends and chose to “protect” their then prevailing model have since been wiped out from the marketplace. Examples of Kodak, Sony, Nokia, Blockbuster – are all great brands offering great solutions at their time, but chose to ignore the change of tide and consumer behaviour. The “protective” decisions proved too costly in the long run and they had to pay either by a highly shrunken revenue/market share or even bankruptcy/ closure of the company.

Coming back to Amazon, it is often said that AWS is a technology company, which seems obvious since they are the world’s largest cloud solutions provider. However, Amazon insiders insist that AWS is a customer company that leverages technology to deliver what the customer wants. Averse to say, Google, which is largely a technology company. A slight shift in articulation but a giant transition in perspective, which almost completely redefines who they are and how they conduct their business.

Bring the customer voice in, into every key meeting and watch the haze diffuse for clarity to emerge, multiple priorities subsume in a focused approach, & complexity meltdown towards simplistic solutions, which the customer can relate to.

Bring the customer into the heart of your business!

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