By Cindy Barnes
How do you operate in a world where the customer has more and more power? Is there a successful way to understand what’s going on customers’ minds so that you can ensure your business meets or exceeds their expectations? And finally, do you know how to make the necessary changes to your business – processes and offerings – to ensure your customers are happy in this relationship?
Customer-centricity as a path
Approaching these questions encourages us to think of customer-centricity more as a path than a goal; a business is the vehicle, but the route must be jointly discovered with customers. As we learn to more clearly understand and meet customer needs, rather than think, ‘what is the easiest process operationally?’, it may be necessary to change both the route and the vehicle. Recent shifts in customer empowerment (to which social media continues to contribute forcefully) demonstrate the necessity of paying close attention to their concerns, and case studies have shown the dramatic difference between businesses that have embraced these changes versus those who are unprepared for the challenging arena of modern customer relations.
If we want to fully engage customers, we must be willing to look a little deeper at both our ways of working and uncovering their unmet needs. And in order to help us accomplish this goal, we need insight.
Bring the customer inside the organization
But where can we find insight we can trust to guide us in this process?
A total value proposition is one answer that produces proven results. Every business wants to genuinely engage their prospects and existing customers. If only this were as simple as it sounds! Although we may be experts at understanding our products, services, packaging and the benefits they deliver, in order to ensure customer insight we have to actively bring the customer inside. Research can help us in this process, but it is important that we select the most effective tools for the job at hand.
Traditional quantitative methods can be useful, but we have found that qualitative and social sciences-based research approaches empower businesses to ‘see themselves through their customer’s eyes’. Using methods informed by psychology and anthropology can help us answer questions about ‘why’ customers behave and think as they do, as opposed to the ‘what’ and ‘how much’ analysis provided through quantitative methods.
To become truly customer-centric, businesses must be able to accurately model the world of their customers concerns, and to respond to these new perspectives with effective reorganization of internal and external processes and relationships. Almost invariably, the resulting changes in customer retention and new business are profound for a simple reason: they are arise from a deeper and more empathic understanding of prospects, customers, and their concerns.
The total value proposition process
A transformative approach is to create a total value proposition. Take note; ‘value proposition’ is a much misused term, but its original meaning is understanding what customers ‘value’ and find attractive in a business. Many companies are surprised by what they discover about their customers’ mindsets, needs, expectations and desires Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community