Customer experience has always been a crucial business differentiator, but 2020 stressed why it is more important than ever that brands listen to their customers, whose needs are continuously evolving and changing.
Forrester’s Consumer Energy Index study found consumer trust as the most relevant and influential metric for success. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020, 81% of consumers indicated that they want to be able to “trust a brand to do the right thing”, and 60% of the participants said they are opting more and more for brands that they are absolutely sure they can trust.
Consumers want to be sure that the brands they support have values and morals that echo their own. So, to build a deeper connection, brands need to prove to consumers that they are trustworthy. This can only happen if brands become customer-centric and actually listen to their customers.
Being a customer-centric organisation means you always put yourself in the shoes of the customer. It means that you pay attention to the user’s journey and aim to minimise customer effort. Only when brands seek genuine customer feedback about their service or product will they uncover genuine problems that are hindering their customers.
One could define a customer-centric approach as a way of doing business that is focused on facilitating a positive customer experience before and after the sale to drive customer retention and improve customer loyalty. So, a customer-centric approach, therefore, requires more than just good customer service.
To get a better understanding of their customers, brands need to set themselves apart and consider everything available to them, from customer behaviour tracking to transactional customer data. According to #Biztrends2021, it is well worth it to look into the personalisation of customer communications because this will make your audience feel like the business has a better understanding of who they are and what is important to them.
Personalisation of customer communication also helps to provide a positive customer experience throughout the customer journey. And adopting a customer-centric approach is definitely worth it. A study conducted by Deloitte and Touche revealed that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable than companies that did not hold the customer at the heart of everything they do.
If you don’t have a culture that is customer obsessed, you need to change that first. Make customer-centricity one of your brand’s core values, and ensure that everyone in the company is on board. Delivering a consistently superior experience across a complex value chain – and at scale – is no easy feat. Therefore, change can only truly happen when there is a company-wide commitment.
You will also need a strategy that helps you to collect meaningful information about your customers. This can be done with Voice of Customer (VoC) surveys, for example, and ideally, questions used in the survey should help to gauge if your brand is living up to customers’ expectations.
A great thing about social media is that your customers feel free to speak their minds here. As a result, a lot of the comments left by your customers will be of their own volition and will reflect what they actually think of your brand. There is a lot that you can glean from the feedback they are providing and the way in which they are providing it.
The 2020 South African Digital Customer Experience Report found that even in these trying financial times, value eclipses price as one of the key elements of an outstanding customer experience. They found it remarkable how willing consumers are to switch between rival brands and even pay more for identical products or services if they believed their experience would be better.
Consumers are not as loyal to brands as they are to experiences. The head of marketing at Gumtree South Africa, Michael Walker, remarks that: “Our most successful sellers rarely have the best-priced product – what they do have though is an ability to fulfil buyers’ needs”.
Markets will continue to experience disruption, and competition will intensify, and it is clear that if brands cannot provide exceptional customer experiences, then their customers will take their business elsewhere.
A happy customer is likely to become a loyal customer, and it is not hard to understand why a positive customer experience is pivotal to the success of your business. Loyal customers become return business and likely brand advocates.
So there’s no better time than the present to become customer-obsessed. You might not reap the benefits immediately; those who only start to shift their focus now will face obstacles and difficulties like organisational resistance. But with dedication, even organisations with an elementary customer experience system, meagre data, and little to no data scientists; can put down the scaffolding to start changing their customers’ experience.
List of references:
#BizTrends2021: Communication refocuses on people-centricity [online] Available at: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/424/211804.html [Accessed 23 January 2021].
Consumer Energy Index [online] Available at: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/category/consumer-energy-index/ [Accessed 22 January 2021].
Edelman Trust Barometer [online] Available at:
How To Create A Customer-centric Strategy For Your Business [online] Available at: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/how-to-create-a-customer-centric-strategy/ [Accessed 23 January 2021].
The 2020 South African Digital Customer Experience Report [online] Available at:
Wealth Management Digitalization changes client advisory more than ever before [online] Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/de/Documents/WM%20Digitalisierung.pdf [Accessed 22 January 2021].