Digital Culture 4.0: Customer-Centricity

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Advances in technology and communication, combined with the explosive growth in data and information, have given rise to a more empowered global consumer. 

By 2020, 80% of the global population will have access to mobile telephony and more than 60% to smartphones or low-cost tablet computers. It is anticipated there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally, with mobile being the primary internet device for most individuals.

Social media and unprecedented access to information, such as peer-to-peer product and service reviews, are giving greater power to consumers, creating more informed and demanding customers. These experiences are shaping consumer expectations across all sectors. 

Digital 'Customer-Centric' Culture

Over recent years, researchers have asked what the most important characteristic is in order to establish a truly “digital-native” culture. The answer to that question and leading the responses with 58% was to be customer-centric.

Customer-centric starts with getting their attention, having their "eyeballs", encouraging them to purchase through a great experience, the purchase, the owning experience and anticipating/prescribing their future purchasing experiences. It's a strategy that sits front and core of your business:

  1. Customer focused leadership

  2. Understanding your customer

  3. Design the experience

  4. Empower your front lines

  5. Metrics that make a difference

  6. Feedback drives continuous improvement

Not only does focusing on the customer make sound business sense, but research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.

Customer Demands

Although technology is changing the way customers engage, surveys indicate that the more complex the product, the more personal the interaction required. There are a number of dynamics redefining the purchaser that subsequently affect the organizations digital culture:

  • More Demanding: Increased expectations: convenience, flexibility and personalization are a given

  • More Hedonistic: it's all about me

  • More Sophisticated: Emerging middle classes want more

  • More Diverse: Global growth of women in the workforce

The Challenges

The shift came about during the downturn in 2006/2007. It was during this time when the customer became more selective and at the same time, the usage of Social Media, SM Marketing & Selling came into force. It allowed greater comparison searching, gave a realtime channel to customers to give feedback and created the multi-device chaos for organizations to try to keep-up and interact. 

Many organizations have struggled to keep up and to evolve their cultures inline with this. Research has defined the top few challenges hindering the cultural shift:

  1. In-house silos created hinder customer data sharing

  2. Culture not aligned around customer needs

  3. Missing key technology platforms to manage data

  4. No common definition of customer-centricity

  5. Support ill-equipped to manage customer issues

  6. Insufficient skills to manage data analytics

  7. Organization focused on sales before service

Emerging Best Practices

The customer centric brand creates products, processes, policies and a culture that is designed to support customers with a great experience as they are working towards their goals. As brands have been developing since the '06 period, we have seen a series of common threads across those:

  • Customer-Experience passion - an obsession with enhancing the customer experience through their interactive journey

  • Having obsessed and focused around the customer, the organization remains agile and capable of adapting products and experiences to the wants of the customer

  • They build relationships over time

  • Strategies are defined to create and keep profitable customers

Creating The Culture

I've always been a big believer in recipes equal methodology equals a roadmap to success. In defining and creating the Customer Centric Digital Culture, I've located a few pointers from some of the world's great brands:

1. Detail your central why, your purpose in just a few meaningful words (the operating principle) 

2. Extend your 'why' with a brief list of core values — covering how customers, employees, and vendors should be treated at all times.

3. Reinforce your commitment to these values continually. 

4. Make it visual and visible always

5. Do whatever it takes to enforce what’s important to you. It needs constant nurturing and at times tough love

6. Include the wider world and make it public knowledge that you intend to 'change the world' to a better place

Adapt or Be Left Behind

Many organizations are not keeping pace with changing market and customrer dynamics. To succeed in this fast-changing environment and achieve sustainable top-line growth, organizations need to focus on redefining customer relationships, transforming business models to embrace data and digital and introducing an innovative culture in support of strategic decision-making.

Achieving customer centricity is less about implementing a grand vision than about building cadence today, next week, next month and next year. But the time has come when the journey is a strategic necessity.

Whether you're B2B or B2C, it matters not as we all have a customer who needs focusing on, looking after and giving the end-to-end experience that they want. 

We love to bring you the resource that can help align that experience to your customer, combined with a digital framework for delivery.

Love to hear from you, Andrew