By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
In a recent Future of Field Service Advisory Forum session, we discussed the topic of what customer centricity looks like in practice. It was a great question posed by one of our members, wondering what exactly others do behind-the-scenes to substantiate their claims of customer centricity. The conversation among the group surfaced some really interesting points, which I’ll recap here, and a sense of camaraderie around the fact that customer centricity isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds – and certainly not as simple as making the claim.
Be Clear on Your Definition of Customer Centricity
The first thing that came up is the need to create clarity around what you mean by customer centricity. It’s easy to claim customer centricity as a buzzword, but if you want to make true impact you need to further qualify the areas you’re looking to address. One of the forum members suggested looking at this in terms of three areas: customer success (the ability to use and benefit from your products or services in the intended way), customer experience (the feelings your customer has about how you’ve delivered said products or services), and customer satisfaction (the customers overall feelings about what you provided and how you’ve provided it).
Examining each of these areas allow you to see where you need to focus the most attention and develop an action plan around the feedback you’ve gathered. Another important point to note is that customer centricity can’t be the focus of service in a silo, it needs to be approached from a company-wide perspective.
Determine What (and How) to Measure
We discussed the fact that, to start, many of the metrics by which you measure service success operationally will also be important to your customers. For instance, first time fix is important to you as it relates to keeping costs controlled, but it’s important to your customer satisfaction as well. The suggestion from the group was to examine the operational metrics you currently use and determine the lens through which your customers would look at them. So, if you look at SLA compliance, that would likely translate to your customers in terms of the importance to them of uptime. Understanding what is most important to your customer will help you create the best metrics by which to measure your performance in a way that is truly customer centric.
You also need to consider how you’re assessing customer feedback. With NPS being a commonly-used tool, one member pointed out the importance of measuring both transactional and relational NPS – in other words, NPS related to how your customer rates a specific transaction as well as NPS related to how your customer relates their overall working relationship with you.
Prioritize the Personal Touch
One of the most emphatically reinforced points by many members of the conversation was the importance of keeping a human feel to all of this. While customer surveys and NPS scores are important tools to use, we discussed the fact that they are relatively impersonal. The group was passionate about the need to have actual, one-on-one conversations with customers to gather more detailed, anecdotal input and to express that they – as people – matter enough to you to take the time to prioritize talking with them.
Not only is this approach important when it comes to personalizing your brand and showing customers how much you care, but this level of customer engagement is key to developing a deep enough understanding of your customers’ businesses, processes, and needs to be able to effectively develop new value propositions for the future. And while gauging the impact of your current efforts is important, the real key to customer centricity is developing relationships and gleaning insight that will put you in a position to better meet the needs of your customers, now and into the future.
What advice do you have about walking the customer centricity talk? I’d love to hear from you!