Customer Centricity

The right thing in business

A previous Consulta blog post raised the question about the ‘right thing’ in business. This is often unspoken actions and behaviours that managers expect employees to exhibit. The blog post referred to the right behaviours and company-wide competencies to deliver a good customer experience.

The right behaviours, and the right business results will increasingly come from a customer-centric philosophy in business. This customer-centric philosophy is enabled by the right business transformation programs that help the company better meet customer needs and expectations. Achieving this maturity does not come purely from more investment. Investments in business activities that delivered results in the past may continue to do so, but this is not guarantee. To achieve higher levels of performance that the business has never achieved before will require doing things in a vastly different way.

A simple, clear definition that can help us understand customer centricity, as well as its’ quantifiable business value is: A business that is customer-centric does business with customers in a way that provides a positive customer experience before, during and after the sale. This is in order to ensure repeat business, as well as improved loyalty and profitability. This is much more than providing ‘good service’ as it means that the company has built a culture around understanding the customer, and delivering to the customers’ needs, through putting the customer first and at the core of business (MacDonald, 2017).

Achieving enhanced business results – outcomes, efficiencies and financial performance from a focus on customer centricity touches on the various disciplines and functions of business. Zhecho (2014) shares facts on the Return on Investment (ROI) in companies that deliver exceptional performance. These include the following:
* Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience
* Customer satisfaction results in a higher share price
* Keeping customers results in a high increase in value – especially in an environment where 68% of customers routinely leave because of bad service
* Your existing customers are much easier to up-sell

To demonstrate the enhanced positive impact of customer centricity, the founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) performs an experiment to compare returns of the companies with the highest satisfaction scores with the S&P 500. Customer centric companies clearly deliver higher stock returns.
Source: Hart (2007)

Comparable national benchmarking information is becoming available through the work that Prof Adré Schreuder – founder of the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) is doing. The SAcsi is the localised version of the ACSI that is a national benchmark of customer satisfaction, as an outcome of internal customer centricity. The index also provides international comparability.

Our experience have highlighted significant challenges that business need to overcome in the customer centricity journey:
* Business silos that limit collaboration, stifling innovation and the ability to gather and act on insights
* Company culture not enabling of delivery towards the needs of customers
* Lack of understanding of customer centricity
* Effective ability to deal with customer issues

Consulta is passionate about helping you improve your business performance through making it easier and better for customers to get what they need and expect. We believe that our mission to enable knowledge, skills and implementation for more mature customer centricity in organisations across Africa. Our customers - many whom we have partnered with for over a decade - engage us to improve customer centricity and benchmark performance against the BEST organisations in the world.

Reach out to our team at getresults@consulta.co.za and let us work together to navigate through the customer centricity challenges, deliver greater customer centricity ROI, and enhance business outcomes.

Sources:
Hart, C. (2007). Beating the market with customer satisfaction
MacDonald, S. (2017). How to create a customer centric strategy for your business
Zheco, (2014). 5 Facts to end the ROI debate on Customer Experience