Unquestionably, today's customers want effortless procedures and brief but comprehensive systems to engage. Therefore, in a rapidly changing world, everything needs to be digital, accessible, and fast.
But the fast, easy, and innovative solutions that attract customers and build loyalty are not the consequence of a stroke of luck or a random moment of inspiration. On the contrary, it’s the desired result of a well-thought process and a corporate determination to position digital innovation at the core of the business strategy.
Over the past few years, the global race for innovation and disruption has been remarkable, so much so that a recent survey carried out by the BCG pointed out that in 2021 innovation as a top 3 priority jumped 10 pp from 2020, the largest year-over-year increase in 15 years of research.
The competitive world we live in has pushed businesses all over the globe to invest in innovation and develop a digital strategy to survive and remain relevant for customers, and as Gavin Patterson, President and Chief Revenue Officer at Salesforce, comments: “Companies are investing, and organizations are investing, they’re realizing that if they don’t have a digital strategy, they don’t have a strategy at all.”
Startups in this digital era
This digital revolution in the corporate world is urging startups to digitalize their business models and develop a “customer obsession”, which is not just a catchphrase, it’s an approach to doing business where the focus on customers leads the corporate strategy.
But, despite most startups having a significant technology stack, when it comes to using technology to develop a customer-centric approach, the reality is that it’s a difficult task to handle. Having limited staff, restricted resources, and challenging business objectives to accomplish, makes it tougher for an early-stage startup to refocus its approach into a customer-centric strategy. Therefore, it becomes sadly common to see how these intentions turn into late and failed efforts, miscommunicating consumer insights or collecting data without a plan.
The Digital Customer Experiences
The digital experience of customers with a startup is one of the most crucial aspects of customer loyalty, thus it becomes a powerful weapon that may help a startup grow or resurrect. But, although recognizing this notion is crucial, the reality is that developing a business approach focused on the customer experience is easier said than done.
A good customer experience can only be delivered when there is clarity about the goals, the characteristics of the consumers, and the corporate strategy. So, let’s try to understand the main areas that a startup that aims to become customer-centric needs to concentrate on.
Feedback is crucial when a company wants to address customers’ interests and needs. Customers connect with businesses through many touchpoints of their digital experience, and brands must keep up to deeply understand their consumers and analyze their input. Thus, having a well thought customer journey helps startups determine where their consumers are happy, stuck, or irritated.
Customer-obsessed businesses use feedback as a source of data to personalize goods and services, improve customer experiences, develop customer-focused initiatives, assure loyalty and happiness, and foster long-term partnerships.
Automation is crucial to meeting the customers’ goals along this journey. Startups may use automation to enhance lead management, more efficiently administer data, do predictive and personalized studies, improve customer experience, create multichannel strategies, and automate workflow and core tasks, among other things.
Business managers need to embrace automation and include it in their strategies since it reduces escalating corporate costs, improves the customer’s digital experience and frees up teams so they can focus on more relevant business opportunities.
Startups that focus on customers also invest in collecting data and making decisions based on that information. All types of data related to customer behavior needs to be gathered, integrated, and analyzed, from customer retention rate and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to social media input.
Developing a data-driven culture promotes customer-centricity by allowing a better understanding of what consumers require and what motivates their purchase decisions.
Involve the entire company
Having the entire team implicated in this strategy allows everyone in the organization to develop a customer-centric mindset that supports the business efforts of delivering great customer experiences.
At this point, it becomes crucial to build customer-centric teams that are designed around results and customers rather than by discipline. By following this approach, the business will have a more thoughtful product and happier consumers if each team member can understand how their work affects other teams and the overall customer experience.
At last, it’s important that every team member understands:
- The long-term goals of the business
- How their responsibilities contribute to the goals
- The process behind each corporate decision
- The philosophy and culture of the organization
Frequently corporate culture is overlooked, yet it is essential in creating a distinctly customer-centric business where workers prioritize customers’ needs in all they do.
It may appear contradictory to prioritize culture as a strategy for improving client-centricity, but, workers are constantly connecting with consumers, listening to their problems, and watching what thrills them before these signals become recognizable, trackable, and a data pattern within a company’s systems.
Businesses with a culture that stresses individual responsibility for customer assistance are more likely to enhance customer satisfaction and sustainably deliver desired outcomes.
How to measure a customer-centric culture?
No metric alone determines customer centricity, but when some KPIs begin to trend upward, it indicates that improvements in customer strategy are having a beneficial impact. So, keep in mind these metrics since they might help measure progress:
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Customer Happiness
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Customer lifetime value (LTV)
- Churn rate decrease
- Retention rate
Startups Setting the Standard for Customer Experience
Customer experience is crucial for all businesses, and surprisingly, despite all the challenges and struggles they have to overcome, startups are leading the path towards a more customer-centered business model.
Thankfully, there are many startups that are achieving great results by following this approach. We will list some of them so you can check them out in case you need more inspiration on this topic: