I’m currently waiting inside a Globe store waiting for my number to be called. So far, it’s only been a few minutes, it’s a weekend, and there are a couple of people here already.
I know I’ll be in here at least 30 minutes.
So, I thought, why not use this time to start writing an article about putting customers first.
If you read any about us section of any website, you will see some variation of customer focus. You’d read phrases like customer-oriented, put our customers first, prioritize customers, or the classic, the customer is king.
As is often the case, it’s always easy to say (or write) something than do it.
So, what exactly is customer focus?
How to Know If My Company Is Customer Focused?
- Do you have an FAQ section on your website?
- Do you have an onboarding/welcome series?
- Do you have a unified database of customer information?
What Is Customer Focus
Customer focus is putting the experience of the customer first above everything else . This means meeting customer needs across the different stages they go through from purchase down to disposal.
It’s worth noting that that definition above includes everything your organization does that affects customer satisfaction — which is pretty much every business unit and department from marketing and sales, customer service, and even accounting and billing.
One particular tool that can help you develop a customer focus strategy is using the buyer utility map from the Blue Ocean Strategy. It helps you enter a mindset that is centered around customer needs and expectations.
According to HubSpot, customer expectations today are higher today than last year (or 10 years ago). This indicates that great customer service can become a competitive advantage.
Does your organization have a customer focus strategy?
3 Simple Questions to Ask Yourself Whether You Have a Customer Focus Culture in Your Organization
1. Does your organization have an FAQ section on your website?
One of the things customers look at when trying to purchase something is the FAQ section of your website.
And if they don’t ask, do not assume that they don’t want to fulfill this need.
Every single buyer wants to know the basic information, or at least find it very quickly should the need arises. If you don’t know this already, potential buyers are over 80% of the buying cycle before they get in touch with a salesperson from your company.
If you don’t have content that helps them in their research process, you’re guaranteed to lose them to your competitors who are investing in educational and helpful content.
Let’s say you sell clothes online. Some FAQs that your customers might want to know are the following:
- How long is the delivery
- Is there a delivery fee? How much?
- What if the clothes don’t fit? Can I return them / exchange them?
- If I return an item, do I have to pay for shipping? Where do I send it back?
Pro Tip: Once you have answers to these FAQs, create a page on your website if you haven’t already. Place them all there. Make it prominent so your customers can find it easily. After they purchase, include the top 3-5 FAQs in an email, then link back to the page itself.
By doing this, you are helping them find the information that they need. You make it easy for them to do business with you. You’re not hiding anything from them. This increases trust.
An organization that is focused on their customers will make it easy for their customers to get what they want or need.Ariel (click to tweet)
2. Do you have an onboarding/welcome email series?
After buying something from you, a customer will have a lot of questions. Doubts can also creep in the form of buyer’s remorse.
The only way to fight this and create a better experience for your customers is to be there every step of the way.
The easiest way to do this is through a series of email (and/or any communication channel like SMS, on-site messages, notifications on your phone, etc).
The series is all about getting your new customers up-to-speed on your product/service.
Pro Tip: Create an onboarding/welcome email series. It’s usually 3-5 emails spaced a few days apart and differs per organization. Following the tip from the previous section, you can include your FAQs here. You can also use this series to further let them know that they made the right decision to buy from you.
By doing this, you reduce the chance of them thinking of returning your product or trying to get out of the contract. You also make it easier for them to adapt and be more productive.
For example, in the technology world, this is called the “Aha moment.” For Facebook, it’s getting 7 friends in 10 days.
That’s why when you create an account with them, you’ll see notifications and UX designs on the app/website asking you to add friends, or do some other tasks. This is all part of their onboarding series to help you get up-to-speed with Facebook and avoid you from never using it again.
3. Do you have a unified database of customer information?
Contact management is one of the operational tactics most organizations fail at. This unified database is the “single source of truth” about your customers.
Oftentimes, marketing has multiple lists. Sales has a CRM. Customer service/support has a ticket system. Accounting has another software.
This is one of the reasons why customers get passed around when asking for help or support in something. They call customer service about an issue with their billing, then they transfer them to accounting, then transfer them back to sales.
An organization that is focused on their customers will make it easy for their customers to get what they want or need.
Of course, the followup question is this, “is it updated?” Does everyone who interacts with customers use or have access to this?
The best practice here is this database contains the exact timeline of the person — from the website visits prior the purchase, the items they purchased, how much, the tickets they submitted for support, and all other information.
That way, when they call customer service or @mentioned someone from the marketing team, they won’t reply with “please send us an email” or make them go through hoops just to get a quick answer to their question/problem.
Pro Tip: There is a lot of modern software that does this yet doesn’t break the bank. The most important part here is that the people who interact with customers or handles customer data have access to it. This makes the customer experience seamless.
Just ask yourself this question, “do you enjoy waiting on the phone or getting passed around multiple departments?”
Lastly, make sure that everyone actually uses it and updates the information as needed. Most of the time, you can add notes so that when people look at it, it’s easy to get a quick grasp of what’s happening with the account. And an important part here is to ensure there’s alignment among the different departments, especially around definitions like buying stages (lead, MQL, SQLs, etc.).
So, What Are You Going to Do Next
Putting your customers first is easier said than done. In most organizations, these words are merely lip service.
Don’t be one of those organizations.
Build (or change) your internal processes to make it easy for your customers, not your employees.
- Make it easy for your customers to find important and relevant information about you, the products/services they bought, and anything else that can help them trust you quicker.
- Continue to build a relationship with your customer — even after purchasing from you. Your customers aren’t stupid. If you don’t nurture this relationship further, they’ll find this somewhere else (your competitors).
- A focus on customers means their experience is prioritized over internal systems and legacy processes. If something is not making it easy for your customers, like refunds or support, change the process behind the scenes to make it easier for your customer.
Does your organization claim that the customer is king? Is this actually true? Do your daily operations support this? Let me know in the comments below!