interview your organization

Tough Questions to Test if You Are Customer Focused

Is your company truly about the customer? Or do you just say you are?

Organizations use words and phrases like “customer-centric” or “customer focused” quite a lot. You’ll see it on promotional websites or social media platforms; hear it meetings or see it in executive emails, but if you aren’t “walking the talk,” your customers know it. And your employees know it. To truly be focused on the customer, you need to build it into the culture, the DNA of your organization, from the top down to the bottom up. To get to the truth, you’ll need to ask some tough questions.

Here are some of those questions you need to answer to move in the right direction:

ARE BUSINESS DECISIONS SUPPORTED BY CUSTOMER DATA?

When you are changing how you interact with your customers, like service delivery or updating your website, you should make those based on customer behaviour. Too often, organizations make decisions based on what their executive or direct reports tell them rather than on collected data. Your bosses aren’t your audience, and you are doing them and your customers a disservice if you base your decisions on C-suite or middle management whims. Look at your consumer data, at their pain points and their buying trends and proactively support your customer’s needs by offering service that works for them.

DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION TAKE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK SERIOUSLY?

You not only have to have an easy to use system for customer feedback, you also have to collect it, understand it, act on it if needed and respond back. Either through a web survey, social listening or from your call centre, it is vital that the voice of your customer is listened to and heard. It allows you to correct misinformation, have an early warning sign of possible problems and further build a customer relationship. So many benefits.  And, if you won’t listen to your customer, your competition will.

DOES YOUR COMPANY USE SOCIAL MEDIA MOSTLY FOR PROMOTION AND PR?

Social media has grown into a very effective customer service platform. If you’re still using it purely (or mostly) as a marketing and promotional tool, you’re missing the boat. With ease of use and accessibility (we are all mobile, after all), social media is becoming the preferred choice to engage with brands. Don’t be more interested in talking at people with messages of how great you are, but rather help them your customers and fix their problems. You’re not really putting the customer at the forefront otherwise.

DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION ALLOW CROSS BUSINESS ACCESS TO A CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) TOOL?

Customer Relationship Management systems are a great way to better understand your customers and provide a personalized service for them. But if you A) don’t use one, or B) keep the information all to yourself, it doesn’t help the business or your customer. Imagine if sales, marketing, customer service and social media (depending on how your organization is structured) had access to the same data? They’d know where the customer had problems the last time they contacted you, what worked, what they wanted to know more about, how frequently they bought from you, what they bought and what might be a related service or product. This information offers a lot of opportunity for your company but most importantly, it helps you better help your customer.

IS USER EXPERIENCE (UX) PART OF YOUR ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE?

Is your digital experience working for your customers? Is the information they want easy to find? Do they know how to get in touch with you? Is the experience a positive one? Asking, and then regularly checking in with your customers (the users of your website and applications) is important. Go out and conduct interviews or surveys with your customers about what you do and how you do it. You’ll be really glad you did, and so will your customers.

BONUS: DOES YOUR BUSINESS’S WORDS MEET ITS ACTIONS?

Businesses love buzzwords and phrases like “customer-centric” or “customer first” to define a customer service strategy or focus. BUT, are they just words? Saying these things is great but it’s even better when you actually are. By saying your customer-centric but not actually being so, will erode trust in leadership for your employees. And, if your employees don’t believe in your hollow values, neither will your customers.

What are other questions you need to ask to understand if your business is really customer focused? Share in the comments below.

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