In cooperation with DMS (Društvo za Marketing Slovenije), Pristop decided to dedicate this year’s Mind Wide Open to research on how Slovenian companies are pursuing customer centricity and what challenges are they facing within the process. In spring 2017, a conducted research among 112 Slovenian marketing directors showed surprising results.
Customer-centricity: Does it matter? It sure does! Why is it important and how to achieve it?
In cooperation with DMS (Društvo za Marketing Slovenije), Pristop decided to dedicate this year’s Mind Wide Open to study how Slovenian companies are pursuing customer centricity and what challenges are they facing within the process. In spring 2017, conducted research among 112 Slovenian marketing directors showed surprising results and revealed how companies in our country perceive customer centricity.
What does it mean to be customer centric?
Customer centricity should not only be a vague concept recognized and pursued by marketing department. Rather, it should become a part of business strategy and set as strategic objective. It should become part of company’s culture and embedded into each and every single employee. Company’s promise to be customer centric should translate into its actions and reflect in higher satisfaction and loyalty of its customers.
Why is it important?
The customer is becoming highly demanding and less loyal. With broad range of products and services available to him, he can easily switch providers and less than perfect customer experience is the main reason doing so. Targeting relevant customer segments is not enough anymore. To ensure differentiation, companies need to create distinctive added value and offer superior customer experience. If customers are given superior customer experience, they appreciate it and are willing to pay more for company’s product or service. Consequently, a customer centric approach drives customer satisfaction, loyalty and decreases price sensitivity, resulting in higher incomes and customer lifetime value.
Do Slovenian companies perceive customer centricity as important?
The Mind Wide Open 2017 study showed that almost half of Slovenian companies have already placed customer centricity into their business strategy and put it on their marketing agenda. Customer centricity is perceived as very important and companies expect big impact on their business results.
Da podjetje postavi kupca v središče je nujno potrebna podpora vodstva. Slovenski managerji so že prepoznali potrebo po spremembi njihovega odnosa s kupci. Vendar pa samo koncept v strategiji še ni dovolj, da podjetje zagotovi, da bodo kupci izkusili kakršnokoli spremembo.
To ensure that the customer is placed in the centre of an organization, it is important to have leadership support. Slovenian managers have already recognized the need to change their relationship with customers. But having just a concept within the strategy is not enough to ensure that customers experience any difference.
What are some of the most common challenges, companies are facing when pursuing customer centricity?
In pursuit of customer centricity, companies are most commonly facing organizational and process challenges. Almost half of companies asked have not yet established processes to exchange data, have un-integrated technologies and databases, but also lack on competencies to utilize data and analytics.
It is difficult to be customer centric without adjustments in organizational structure and work processes, since siloed activities do not result in comprehensive approach toward the customer and do not assure consistent experience throughout all touchpoints.
How to tackle the organizational challenges?
1. Get your leadership behind it
Customer centricity requires strong leadership vision. Company leaders should commit to the approach and present an example in how to behave to deliver superior customer experience.
After obtaining full support from the company’s leadership, it is necessary to define their approach or path towards becoming a customer centric company. They should define the role of customer data and align customer centricity strategy with their corporate business strategy.
2. Do not underestimate the cultural aspect
Customer centricity starts with leadership vision, but it should not end there. Customer centricity must be designed to stimulate cross-department activity, cooperation and become an integral part of the organizational culture that is embedded within multiple departments, not only marketing and sales.
3. Define organizational structure and processes and culture
Companies should define organization and processes for data exchange, reporting and decision making. Roles, responsibilities and KPIs should be clearly defined within relevant departments.
Within customer centric transformation, major part is played by marketing and IT. This two departments need to collaborate to ensure smooth data exchange and technology utilization. Their knowledge should complement each other.
4. Define the purpose of data and technology
When objectives are defined, companies must identify relevant data that they need to understand customers. With large amount of data available, focus is the key, otherwise companies might get lost in the overwhelming amount of data that does not even provide relevant information.
When defining the role of data and technology within the company, companies should take into the account employees competencies and resources available.
5. Invest in technologies
Clear vision, direction and competencies assessment are a must before companies decide on investments in technology, otherwise they could spent large amount of money on a technological solution that might not fit their need or employees might not know how to utilize it.
As mentioned, customer centricity should be introduced through leading by example. Therefore, foremost leadership team needs to develop specific behaviours and values, they want all employees to internalize.
For competencies such as use of analytics and metrics, data interpretation and new technology usage, companies should organize trainings that are specific for employee’s level of competence.
However, customer centricity does not end when organizational issues are resolved. To see more about our approach, please visit: http://pristop.si/sl/mwo/mwo2017
Mind Wide Open. Available at: Pristop.si/mwo2017
Customer Guru: World’s 3 most customer centric companies: How do they do it? Available at: http://www.customerguru.in/worlds-3-most-customer-centric-companies-how-do-they-do-it/#
Lovro Gruden, Consulting Project Leader
Neja Arčon Peklaj, Consultant