Friday, February 6, 2015

A Customer-centric mind

A customer-centric mind is to put customers at the center of what you do, to expand the thinking angle and to keep the end in mind.

How to become a customer-centric business is in every forward-thinking organization’s agenda, it requires not only management but each digital professional to shape such a customer-centric mind, think from the lenses of customers, outside-in, instead of inside-out, more specifically, what’s the thought processes evolve:



An insightful thinking about customers: The customer (including prospects) should be studied and observed and gain the insight upon. Deep understanding of the user through empathy and observation with the innovator using a more inductive approach as to what the customer wants to accomplish "next." This involves gaining a deep understanding of the motivational construct of the customer, in order that the innovator can become "anticipatory" of what the customer will likely "want next." Remember innovation is not an invention! It must prove its value in the market. Customers must be willing to pay for this, be it a product, process or service innovation. Thus, customers become an important link in the innovation process.


Design thinking vs. empathic design: According to Wikipedia: Design Thinking -“As a style of thinking, design thinking is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context." “Empathic design is a user-centered design approach that pays attention to the user's feelings toward a product.” Design Thinking (DT) is fundamentally an inclusive approach where the intent is to go beyond just need and utility. The thinking that is added to conventional design is almost always empathic because DT -thinks of other elements such as, what may be affected in future, influence behavior and not obviously visible. While DT is considered to be a subjective delivery, a very tangible objective result of an ideal DT delivery is to enhance the "sustainability of the designed product or process."


Analytics thinking: There are still quite a bit of work to do in turning analytical results and connecting to the customer satisfaction and business achievement. More often, the analytics team in the company correctly recognizes the customer value, but that knowledge is still only within the analytics team. There are plenty of organizations doing the analytics, but not yet have matured the process enough to drive the front end systems. Some customer analytics focuses on alluring new customer, with the ignorance of long term loyal customers. The business model ignores long term loyal customers because the model says that those customers are satisfied and will continue paying the company for services, many companies currently do not care whether you leave or not; their emphasis is on using marketing, advertising, data analytics to entice new customers to pay for their services. There're analytics gaps need to be filled out for delighting the current customers as well.


From reactive thinking to proactive thinking: The focus on customer success is the key, as it changes your way of thinking (from reactive to proactive) - how do you make the customer successful, using the service, platform etc. Customer success says a lot more than just customer service. There's an expectation of more than just service now, but for future as well. It is clear that customers do not make the distinction between service, experience nor success. They want to feel confident that they get what they pay for with a commensurate level of purchase fulfillment and that the interaction with the supplier is pleasant and at times exceptional when things go wrong. They enjoy the whole end-to-end experience. Being proactive also implies that functions within an organization need to look at upstream functions and call out any actions that result in a poor customer experience within one’s own function. The proactive thinking would be to understand and improve cross-functional communication and collaboration.

From reactive to proactive, inside-out to outside in, logistic to design and empathetic thinking, customer-centric thinking is a type of professional and progressive thinking to drive radical digital - to put customers at the center of what you do, to expand the thinking angle and to keep the end in mind.

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