Customer culture... the key to company success
Customer Experience (CX) has become the key challenge for companies. Developing a strong customer culture is not only a proven driver of company growth, but also a lever for employee satisfaction. The crucial issue now is to strike precisely the right balance between the two.
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From a product-focused strategy to a customer-focused culture
More than ever, customers are shaping the market, and Customer Experience (CX) has become the biggest stake at hand for companies. According to a Walker 2020 report, customer experience has already overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Human interactions between stakeholders require, more than ever in an overly-digitalized society, that special “human touch” that makes customers feel safe and heard. In terms of work culture, this means that being customer-focused should be a priority throughout the whole hierarchic chain. A successful customer-focused company is one where every member of the team has integrated as part of their mission to remain accountable for the quality of service they provide. Thanks to indicators such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which evaluates the percentage of customers susceptible to recommend a brand or company to others, businesses can get a clear view of how they compete in the particular field of CX.
One good example of how a firm or a team can work on fostering a customer-focused culture is by integrating some of the 12 Agile Principles into its routine. The first of these principles is: “put customers first”. What this means is that, every step of the way, team members must think of their actions and how they participate in positively affecting customers. It is also a matter of responsibility towards the customer, and understanding how everyone within the company has a key role to play towards customer satisfaction.
In 2022, successful companies focus on their clients and employees’ well-being
If the focus put on customer experience is intrinsically intended to benefit the clients, it also provides companies with remarkable advantages. Indeed, it has been proven repeatedly by recent surveys and studies that customer-centric companies tend to do better than most. Numbers are adamant: NPS leaders have a return up to five times higher than the US median (when looking at companies with revenues of more than $500 million as of 2010). A notable link exists between experienced growth and customer-centricity. Companies known and recognized for their outstanding customer service see their growth come from increased loyalty, but that’s not all.
Studies show that companies with a customer-centric culture tend to have greater employee satisfaction as well. Does this mean that happy employees bring better experiences to clients? Yes, and it also means that companies with higher NPSs benefit from more employee engagement. Interestingly, Covid-19 increased the importance of employee experience for customers. According to KPMG’s survey “Customer Experience in the new reality (2021)”, 41% of customers say that employee satisfaction is now more important to them because of COVID-19, and want to be assured that employees are well treated, safe and enjoy their jobs. Perception of an employee’s experience is now an important decision point for customers, as a good employee experience reflects on a good customer experience.
Beyond customer-centricity, the pandemic has given room for the seeds of human-centric approaches to grow. If the trend was already leading towards better listening and understanding of customers’ needs, Covid-19 participated in accelerating the process, increasing the demand for empathy and support. Companies that were able to show their values through solidarity, integrity and transparency are the ones that were appreciated and rewarded for their ability to listen to their clients’ requests as well. Indeed, according to the same KPMG 2021 survey, Integrity is the strongest driver of Advocacy (NPS) and 80% of customers say they prefer to buy from brands whose actions align with their beliefs and values.
Tech with a human touch: the future of CX?
Looking at the future, customer-centricity (and human-centricity further down the road) seems to be destined for even brighter days. Trends such as personalization (described as the strongest pillar in driving customer loyalty (Customer Experience in the new reality - KPMG 2021) are now shaping the market, with more than 80% of customers vastly agreeing to share information with retailers and companies in order to get a personalized experience, and companies benefitting from reduced customer acquisition costs thanks to it (by up to 50%).
Moreover, the years ahead will tell us of the growing AI-integrated CX market. With techs such as face, voice and emotional recognition allowing for extensive personalization and data mining on customers’ needs and preferences. Can technology and human empathy successfully join to provide meaningful experiences to customers throughout the world? The next few decades will undoubtedly provide an answer, as technology and humans can pair up to provide customers with more seamless, personalized experiences. AI chatbots, for example, are already able to participate in emergency relief. These tools, combined with irreplaceable human empathy, can help provide better, faster responses in times of struggle.
At AXA Partners, we believe extra effort or complexity should not be part of our customers’ journey. By combining the efficiency of reliable digital tools with our agents’ expertise on human matters, we are able to provide great-quality, tailored solutions.