Digital is exposing that customer-centricity is largely wishful thinking. It’s time to put the customer experience at the heart of the business.
Companies have made significant investments to enhance their digital capabilities. However, these investments haven’t delivered expected results. Why? Most companies are using an outdated customer model that doesn’t account for how digital has impacted customer behaviors. Companies also are investing in digital initiatives without understanding the “digital intensity” of their customers. Without a clear line of sight to what their customers will notice and value, companies can’t be truly customer-centric.
Change is required. Sales executives, chief marketing officers, customer experience officers and customer service executives need to make the customer their North Star. Companies that successfully do this can attract new customers, increase customer retention and drive revenue growth.
Many companies’ inside-out approach to digital technology investments has hindered business impact:
Accenture research reveals 55 percent of B2B companies have experienced little, flat or negative growth—despite investing to improve the customer experience.
Accenture’s annual Global Consumer Pulse Research shows nearly a third (30 percent) of consumers claim their providers’ digital channels don’t include correct information.
Three common mistakes companies make are:
Anchoring on an outdated customer model. In the digital world, the point of purchase is no longer where companies win their customers. It’s during “evaluation”, which is now a continuous activity.
Nearly 60 percent of customers are now more likely to switch providers than they were 10 years ago.
44 percent are more open to offers from non-traditional players.
Viewing their digital investments through the millennial lens. Digital exposes the issues with relying on demographic data to understand customer segments. Few companies consider customers’ digital intensity in the customer experience they deliver.
Confusing a "multiple-channel" approach with a "multi-channel" strategy. Accenture’s research found that only 14 percent of consumers believe their providers are very effectively delivering multi-channel marketing, sales and service experiences.
Companies must take four steps to truly be customer-centric in the digital age:
Identify their customers’ digital intensity. Understand how customers make decisions, the sources of information they consult as they consider a product and service, how their behaviors have changed over time, and the key influencers on their decision-making.
Align customer behaviors to business results. Use customers’ digital intensity insights to prioritize investments that will match customers’ requirements and have the greatest impact.
Take advantage of the “digital/physical blur”. Balance and align investments across digital and traditional channels. Leaders emphasize accountability for results across functions and link incentives to customer experience outcomes.
Adjust the sales model to reflect the new reality. Use a much more fluid model (than the traditional sales funnel) to respond to the nonstop customers’ needs in order to win in the critical “evaluation” stage.