The goal of customer centricity is to improve the customer experience. But the achievement of this goal must also be measured.
“If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it” is a well-known quote by management guru Peter F. Drucker. It refers to the fact that the success of an initiative can only be verified through measurement. If you want to increase your turnover, you have to observe the flow of money. If you want to speed up work processes, you have to measure them with a stopwatch. And those who pursue a strategy of customer centricity must measure the implementation.
Becoming a customer-centric company
Full customer centricity is difficult to achieve in many organisations. This is especially true if it has not been anchored in an overarching corporate strategy from the beginning. This is why a company and its employees must first be clear about what customer centricity actually means.
Many companies will be quick to respond: the customer is always at the centre of everything we do. But this statement is not very precise and many employees may find it difficult to understand what it actually means. For this reason, a customer experience framework exists within congstar to help employees focus better on the customer. The framework consists of four core questions:
- CX mission statement: How do we communicate our brand essence and brand promise to our customers in a consistent way throughout the entire customer lifecycle and thus in every single customer journey?
- Customer-centric working: How do we communicate this brand core and brand promise to customers consistently in our day-to-day work?
- CX measurement: How do we measure whether we are doing things right and how do we detect deviations?
- CX culture: How do we anchor customer centricity in the organisation in the long run?
To implement this framework, practical tools for more customer centricity and qualitative and quantitative measurement logics are necessary to measure the success of one's efforts.
Tools to increase customer understanding
The first step on the way to becoming a truly customer-centric company is to have a common understanding of customers across all hierarchy levels and departments. Without it, the communication of a brand, for example, may become inconsistent: On a service hotline customers are addressed formally, whereas on social media they are addressed by their first name. Such mistakes are caused by a lack of customer understanding, which can be improved through a variety of tools:
Personas – the typical representatives of a target group
A persona is the personification of a target group, with expectations, values, wishes, goals and behaviours. Companies use them to make decisions when developing user-friendly products and services.
User stories - requirements from the customer's point of view
The “user narrative” is a product requirement formulated in everyday language. It contains information about the who, what and why and consists of only 10-15 words. Example: “As a manager (who) I want to know about KPIs for customer centricity (what) to review our strategy (why)”.
Jobs to be done – why do customers buy a product?
The jobs-to-be-done theory is based on the idea that a person buys products or services to be able to perform a certain task. Therefore, companies should focus on the customers' tasks when developing products or designing marketing.
Customer journey mapping – understanding the customer’s journey
A customer journey is a process that every customer goes through until they decide to buy a product. This involves numerous interactions between the customer and the company, whether they be digital or analogue. With a customer journey map, a customer’s journey can be understood and then be improved.
Design thinking – understanding the root of the problem
Design thinking is an iterative method that helps companies better understand customers, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and develop innovative solutions. The process consists of five steps: understanding, defining, brainstorming, prototyping and testing.
Iterative Prototyping – A process of continuous improvement
The agile process helps to continuously improve products and services. First, the needs of the customers are identified and then a prototype is built that meets these needs. It is then tested with customers and what is learned during these tests is incorporated into the next prototype. These steps are repeated until the best possible product for market entry is achieved.
Co-creation – involving the customer
In co-creation workshops, a design process is started in which the wishes of consumers play a central role. The company enables them to co-create ideas, designs or content. One variation of this is using social media to call on people to submit ideas and product designs.
Design Sprints – validating ideas quickly
A design sprint is a 4 to 5-day-long process that compresses the realisation of projects into a few days. It helps to quickly solve major challenges and develop new products or improve existing ones. In this process, developers design a prototype which is then improved further in user tests. This method is a quick way to solve big problems in a short time span.
When implementing these methods, it is important to avoid relying solely on the theory of the tools. The company using them must consider which elements fit best and how they can be combined in a profitable way.
Customer satisfaction is not enough to measure success
Eventually, these tools will lead to products and services that have to prove themselves in the market. But how do you measure customer satisfaction beyond sales figures? There are a number of different instruments for this. The simplest is the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). Here, customers rate their satisfaction on a scale, often with school grades from 1-6.
A more sophisticated measurement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It indirectly measures the perception of customers. It asks whether a customer would recommend this product to a friend or family member. A scale is used that ranges in intervals from "not at all" to "definitely". The idea of this KPI: The more customers indicate a high probability that they will recommend the product to others, the more satisfied they are.
However, neither measurement tool makes any statement about the company's customer centricity. Ultimately, the company's management only receives a subjective indication of how satisfied customers were with the product they bought or the service they last used. Making a direct statement about the customer centricity of an organisation is not possible in this way.
At congstar, we are currently working on making the CX ambition from our mission statement measurable in all customer journeys. This is not just about using instruments to quantitatively record what is happening. It is also important to understand the qualitative reasons. To use an example: it is not enough to state that the conversion rate is getting worse. It is also important to realise that the reason is, for example, that customers cannot find their way around the product detail page.
#mytimewiththecustomer – the customer up close and personal
In general, there are numerous factors that affect customer satisfaction and customer centricity. They can all influence the perception of the customer and flow together in customer satisfaction. Companies therefore need causal hypotheses that link certain measures to the perception of the customer.
Such hypotheses can only be acquired in practice. Customer-centricity means something completely different in the everyday life of product marketing than in the specialist departments that are more removed from customer interactions. congstar has set up the customer dialogue format "Service Live" so that all employees know the desires and pain points of its customers.
This eliminates the problem of what is known as “Chinese whispers”: written notes and reports often distort the concerns of customers. Customer conversations, however, give developers a direct impression of how customers deal with the products. In addition, congstar validates not only all new products and services, but also raw product ideas with a large number of customer interviews.
They are collected internally to create a library of recorded customer interviews. This also gives employees an impression of what customers are really concerned about. The insights obtained from real customer feedback then automatically lead to more customer-centric work in the company's day-to-day operations.