Any business that lacks a customer centric culture is well on their path to being irrelevant. But customer service statistics show that those that are customer-centric become profitable faster.
In a recent Aragon Research Podcast, Nextiva’s CMO, Yaniv Masjedi, and Aragon Research founder and CEO, Jim Lundy, discuss this topic. They also discuss how businesses can meet the demand for these future-forward tools.

What Does it Mean to Be Customer Centric?

A customer centric culture refers to a business mindset, approach, or culture. This culture positions customer satisfaction at the top of every agenda and process.
All forward-looking organizations have a customer centric culture. It’s crucial for success in a digital economy.
Such companies align their products, processes, and people with the needs of their customers. They serve customers by:

  • Meeting their demands
  • Solving their problems
  • Satisfying their desires
  • Addressing their issues
  • Valuing their feedback
  • Supporting their success
  • Enriching their experiences
  • Exceeding their expectations
Customer centricity goes beyond delivering top-notch products. It nurtures authentic and value-generating relationships with customers.

Customer Centric Culture and Collaboration

Jim Lundy: At Aragon, people centric collaboration is about connecting people to get work done. You then let applications figure out how to connect people.
Yaniv Masjedi: You’re right, Jim. We’re in the era of the customer right now. But most companies are failing at to communicate and engage with customers. That’s why customer centric collaboration and the tools to support it are so important.
Related: The state of an organization’s communications is crucial to its bottom line. This may not always be top of mind for business leaders. In fact, Aragon Research explains people-centric collaboration as seamless communication and collaboration. With technology, our means of communication should also advance to meet the demand. According to our survey, 25% of our respondents said communications issues have resulted in massive churn.

Why Does This Matter?

A company’s revenue, reputation, and relevance depend on how it treats customers. Satisfied customers lead to higher profits, stronger brand loyalty, and sustainable growth.
Furthermore, happy customers tend to share their experiences by word of mouth or on social media. The evolution of organizational structures show how important a customer centric culture is. From startups to global enterprises, customer-focused departments and roles have sprouted like mushrooms.

Top Challenges in Creating a Customer Centric Culture

While focusing on customers sounds easy, establishing a customer centric culture can be tricky. Some challenges here include —

  • Lack of a shared definition of customer centricity.
  • Reluctance/resistance of top management to come on board.
  • Wrong ICP (ideal customer profile) or buyer persona.
  • Persistence of a product-centric or sales-centric mindset particularly in tech startups.
  • Siloed organizational structures.
  • Insufficient customer data as well as technology support.
  • Costs associated with an organization-wide re-orientation.

How Technology Comes into Play Here

Yaniv Masjedi: At Nextiva, we’ve been growing faster than the market. We focus on innovations that serve the future of business communication. Just like our introduction of NextOS!

Jim Lundy: Tell us what NextOS is all about.

Manage and measure your entire customer life cycle with NextOS

Yaniv Masjedi: It’s an all-in-one business communications platform. You can manage customer journeys in one single screen. It eliminates the fragmented and siloed communications that today’s businesses face.
We’ve talked to many businesses and heard that they use upwards of 15 different tools to communicate. This results in a fragmented view of the customer. With NextOS, it’s easy to measure customer sentiment across all channels.
The NextOS platform brings all critical business communication channels into one place. That means voice, email, surveys and chat. And the true value of these applications is our use of AI and ML. These unlock in-depth customer sentiment analysis and analytics.
There’s nothing like NextOS, so there’s very little to compare it to. When we introduce NextOS to buyers, they immediately understand the business problems we’re solving. We’ve seen a great amount of traction in a short period of time.
Related: Nextiva’s founder and CEO, Tomas Gorny, says, “Business communication today is in a state of crisis. It hurts employee productivity and causes unnecessary customer churn. It’s overwhelming for employees to use as many communication apps. Business leaders struggle with too many options that add to the communications overload!”
Yaniv Masjedi: We focus on creating tools with a mindset to enable a customer centric culture. Because of this, we’ve been able to offer a vastlydifferent solution that beats what’s in the market today. Our communication tools let you work smarter, not harder. With NextOS, customers have the opportunity to buy what they need today and scale for the future. No more rushing into all-or-nothing investments.

Best Practices to Build This Type of a Culture

Building a customer-centric business takes time, resources, and a lot of determination. But like any other journey, all it takes are a few simple steps to move forward:

  • Incorporate customer satisfaction into your organization’s core values.
  • Create a universal definition of customer-centricity for your organization.
  • Get everyone involved, especially the ones at the top (CEO and other  C-level executives).
  • Drive organization-wide awareness about the imperative to embrace customer-centricity.
  • View the universe from a customer’s vantage point.
  • Listen to the customer’s story and build products around it.
  • Where legal, enable collaboration and customer data sharing across departments.
  • Recast existing services and products to match the needs of the customer.
  • Integrate customer-centricity in compensation plans. (e.g., link customer retention/churn with incentives/bonuses for customer-facing roles)
  • Hire customer-focused candidates.
  • Conduct regular and updated customer-centricity training.
  • Celebrate the success of customers.
Top Metrics to Measure Customer-Centricity
Customer satisfaction and success can and should be measuredTracking the relevant metrics is the only way to make incremental improvements as you build this type of a culture.
Here are some of the commonly used metrics to measure how customers perceive your brand:

  1. Churn Rate (CR): percentage of customers who stopped subscribing to a service in a given period.
  2. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): profits generated per customer throughout the customer lifecycle.
  3. Revenue Expansion/Churn: how much existing customers are upgrading or downgrading their subscriptions.
  4. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): method of quantifying customer satisfaction, using an arbitrary scale.
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS): survey-type method used to discern the likelihood of a customer sharing their experiences with other people.
  6. Referrals: number of new customers brought in via referrals from existing customers.
  7. Customer Health Score (CHS): measures the customer’s satisfaction level against the probability of an opt out.

Conclusion

Customer centricity is not a fad nor a feature that is nice-to-have. For the vast majority of businesses, it will be a baseline need to succeed in the digital economy.
Establishing a customer centric culture can be very challenging. But it’s a pivotal step every forward-looking company should take. So don’t pay lip service to customer centricity unless you want your smartest competitors to foot the bill and make it happen. Back your intent with real changes in policies, processes, systems, technologies, and mindset.
Only then can you truly establish a customer centric culture.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Originally published at Small Business Trends

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