What is Your Strategy When it Comes to Customer Focus?
Most businesses need customers in order to survive and thrive. So it seems that they should inherently put the needs of their customers first. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Some businesses use the strategy of whatever is best for the business must be good for the customer as their customer focus model. Instead of making choices that benefit the customer, and in turn, build a loyal base, they operate under a business-focused mindset.
How can you determine your company’s level of customer focus? How can you put your customers first? We have a few practical steps.
What is Customer Focus?
Customer focus is as the name implies, considering your customers first. Your business decisions and strategies take into consideration the customers’ needs.
However, it isn’t only about increasing customer satisfaction. Customer focus is about building relationships with your customers. This increases loyalty, builds your customer base and improves your company’s reputation.
Customer Focus, Is It a Part of Your Company?
Having a customer support team or sending out satisfaction surveys doesn’t necessarily mean your company is customer-focused. Customer service is a valid part of customer focus, but customer focus must extend throughout your practices.
To determine your commitment to customer focus, think about:
- Your service or product
- Your pricing model
- Your marketing campaigns
- Your relationship with your customers
Take a look at the quality and honesty of these things. The best customer-focused companies understand that a compromise between customer-focus and business needs should be at the heart of their organization.
5 Practical Steps To Achieve Better Customer Focus
#1 Ditch “The Customer is Always Right Thinking”
This motto is overused, somewhat vague, and doesn’t come with actionable steps. Whatsmore, customers can sense your authenticity. Remember, the needs of the business and the customer should reconcile.
The mindset of the customer is always right may lead to your employees being resentful, feeling unhappy in their job, or struggling to provide effective and quality customer service.
The relationship your company builds with its customers is a human one composed of two parties, the customer and the business. It should reflect that, meaning your organization should consider customer needs at every step of the way along with best practices for your employees and your business.
#2 Customer-focused Company Culture
You can’t manage things at the top with a business-first mindset and leave the customer focus to your customer service representatives. Customer focus should be applied across the board. At the heart of your company should be your customers.
Try to consider your customers with each step. Include them in your organization’s vision. If you have customer focus at the core of your business’s mission, your employees will authentically work towards customer satisfaction.
#3 Know Your Customer
It’s great to have customers focus as a part of your business’s vision statement. But to make it actionable you have to know who your customers are.
Customer personas are extremely helpful. A customer persona is a profile of your customer base. It is based on the research of actual customers. While it may include things like demographic and location information, it provides a clearer picture of who you cater to.
Customer personas look at your customers’ motivations, what they value in a company, and what they want. For example, how do they prefer to communicate? Do they prefer 24/7 service or are they only active at certain hours?
This knowledge about who you do business with and who is your target audience can save your company time and money. It also helps you tailor your business practices to suit your customers’ needs.
Transparency works two ways. The first is being transparent with the customer. It is likely that you won’t be able to deliver on every customer’s request. Sometimes, this may lead to a customer becoming upset and dissatisfied. Instead of placating them, be transparent.
Be honest and upfront with customers about why their requests cannot be fulfilled. Being open about the reasons behind your decisions and policies can make the customer feel heard and respected. As a result, they may be more understanding.
The second way to be transparent is within your company. Holding company-wide meetings, collaborating across departments, and circulating customer feedback is a great way to keep your employees up to date with practices regarding customer focus.
It can be validating for employees to see how their work is making a difference. Additionally, transparency within the company can help your employees feel more engaged and boost productivity.
#5 Gather and Use Feedback
Collecting data is a helpful tool to gauge the success of your efforts towards customer focus. Surveys, follow-up phone calls, or even online communities are simple ways to learn about the customer experience.
Here is where you can use the customer persona that you have built. Solicit feedback via your customer bases’ preferred channel of communication. Are they bothered by phone calls, would they prefer to provide feedback via text message?
Don’t just provide your customer with an opportunity to tell about their experience, but use it as a point of contact. Build a relationship with your customers by responding to their reviews, online community posts, and any other ways in which they provide feedback.
Once you obtain feedback, make use of it. Amplify the voice of the customer, instead of trying to bury any negative reviews. Use their feedback from all of your communication channels to shape your future decisions. Customer feedback should be considered invaluable to a company with a strong customer focus.
- Customer focus is considering the needs of your customers
- Customer focus is not the same as “the customer is always right”
- To determine your company’s level of customer focus consider the honesty and quality of your practices, products, and services
- Customer focus should be a company-wide effort, boosted by transparency and a unified vision
- Customer focus is built and maintained through feedback gathering and implementation
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
All You Need to Know about First Call Resolution in Customer Service
How to build your professional reputation via email
Understanding Cultural Differences in Email Communication
Exploring a Career as a Customer Service Manager