Are you Truly Customer Centric?

centricEach of us knows a little about a lot of the people that we see every day.  We trade niceties, glances, small talk and currency as part of our daily grind.  Buried deep below the surface of our everyday interactions are small trails of data that know us better than we know ourselves.

In today’s competitive business environment, just knowing your customer is not enough; instead you must harness these data trails to deeply understand them.  Since the cost of acquiring a customer is much higher than the cost of retaining them it is essential that we focus on understanding customer experience, development of key experience indicators and our customer’s lifecycle.

Here are a few suggestions that I have for small businesses evaluating their approach:

  1. Stop being “stractical.” I coined this phrase to explain people who mesh strategy and tactics.  Strategy starts above your shoulders and tactics translate below.
  2. Define your customer experience. If you don’t know what you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business and you believe that everyone is enamored with you, your head is in the clouds. Defining the experience, building it into your core values and evaluating its effectiveness is a never ending continuum.
  3. Analyze the data that you collect. Data has a funny way of telling the true story about the state of your business. For instance, if you are a membership organization trying to determine why members are defecting, you can look at event participation, total spend, membership cost and engagement year-over-year. This will help you grade your members, survey their experience and help create a customer persona.
  4. Develop key experience indicators; these can be as simple as the scoring system I discussed above or as complex as determining early warning indicators for customer defection. Evaluate your current customer base; are you delivering your defined experience?

Customers, in every industry, are looking for a personalized experience. Be methodical in your analysis of data and development of strategy. Understand your customer lifecycle and ensure that you clearly communicate the tactics necessary to propel your strategy forward. Through the customer experience continuum you will find new inspiration in what you uncover and should continually evolve your strategy based on what the data trends are telling you.

Support this evolution by empowering your team dig a little deeper, to look at a service failure as an opportunity to strengthen relationships and to build lasting customer relationships. Once you have gone through this exercise, you will look at customers in an entirely new light.