Last week we have discussed why is customer centricity important, and who can we consider as customers. As promised, this week we are continuing to dig into the topic by discussing what is customer centricity, and how can we use some practical tools to get in this mindset.
WHAT is customer centricity?
I am going to use a definition by Emilie Kroner from the American Marketing Association, as I think it is a perfect summary.
„Customer centricity is sometimes used as a catchall term for talking about customer feedback or customer satisfaction results, but making people happy is only one part of the equation. To have sustained success, companies must understand current customer needs and wants, and ensure that there are the right internal and customer-facing strategies, processes and marketing initiatives to satisfy them.“
Customer centricity is the new approach where all innovation starts from understanding customer expectations. All aspects of a product of service should be designed to be elevating the customer experience.
This is currently extremely rare- only 3% of companies nowadays can be considered in the Leading edge of companies, and 39% are lagging behind (IBM Customer Experience Index 2017 https://www.ibm.com/industries/retail-consumer-products/customer-experience-index).
So, when it comes to planning a new step in our business first we will define who are our main customers, what are they like, how do they behave. We will see their needs, and decide which ones will we fullfil according to our resources and capabilities.
HOW to be more customer centric?
Luckily, there are many tools to help us put a new customer service approach in place. We have traditional tests, new models, maps, ideas to help us. I am going to introduce shortly a few of the tools I find exceptional to help along the way.
Get to know the customers
First thing first- who is really your customer? How can you define them? Take time to get to know them. Technology is an absolute supporter when it comes to define who our customers are, what are their interests, as we can know so much from their online behaviour. Use website and social media analytics you will know, how do they find you, and what do they do online when they see you. You can use traditional research methods, and you should go out in the field and observe, converse with your customers. When designing a new product, you can choose to define your customer group first, and make rigorous research on this new base. After you have done your homework, and know who your target is, you are ready to define them.
Personas are fictional characters, who represent a typical group of customers using your product/service in a similar way. They are based on the research you have conducted in point 1. They help you to exactly define the behaviour, needs, character of your customer. They help you to empathise with your customer and design the product from their perspective.
You can use a similar canvas to create a persona. Make sure to be as detailed as possible, think of different personality traits, hobbies, behaviours, like and dislikes, attitude toward brands. Be objective, make sure your persona is a viable reflection of your customer. Don’t be afraid to back to test, research and fine tune your persona, as this tool is the base for customer centric approaches.
Value Proposition Canvas
The wonderful concept of the Value Proposition Canvas was designed by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur as a follow up on the Business Model Canvas. It helps to design, unify and test value propositions.
The canvas starts from the right side. We need to define first what our customers are trying to accomplish- the customer jobs. Drawing from these tasks, we can see what are the main pain points for our customers. Then, we can see how could they have additional gain from their activity, something which would make the job better, easier.
We move to the left side to make our product- considering few of the major pain points we design features to cure existing customer pain. Based on what our customers would feel as additional value, we add some gains. Assessing these 2 points we make a complete overview of our product and service, thus completing the value proposition.
A storyboard defines and describes key moments in the customer journey. It is easy to understand, descriptive, and transports us into the life of the customer to see how they live our brand experience. It is like a comic book of customer experience.
Buying decisions many times are not based on fully realized objective needs in the customer’s head. I do not think you thought consciously about how nice would it be, if there would be an app on my phone to look at other’s beautifully filtered pictures. Customer behaviour and decisions many times are based on feelings, what customers pick up from their surroundings.
Empathy map gives us the possibility to fully immerse in the customer point of view. It helps us describe from each perspective how the customer feels, hears, see and does, and finally where are the pain points and possibilities of gain. I do think this is a great tool as it enables us not just to see the objective decision making process of the customer, but the social, emotional implications as well.
There you have it, now we know what does it mean being customer centric, and how to practice it. Of course, there is a large amount of theory, maps, guides, tools to use, and in no way is this a complete summary. Which gives us way more space to explore!
Don’t forget to let me know, if you agree, disagree, or if there is any of the topics you would like to hear more about! Comment, write, follow, send me an owl!
Special shout out to my teachers at BBS, without you this would not have happened, thank you!
References http://www.keepitusable.com/blog/tag/benefits-of-personas/ https://productcoalition.com/value-proposition-canvas-6d5edec84bca https://uxplanet.org/storyboarding-in-ux-design-b9d2e18e5fab https://www.tuzzit.com/en/canvas/empathy_map