Chapter 3: How You Engage Customers

Build Customer-Centric Business Processes

Time to read: 4 minutes

Your business practices are your company’s habits — repeatable behaviors that enable you to scale effectively. In a product-centric world, your business processes optimise how you manufacture, market, sell, and service those products. In a customer-centric world, you still need to do all of that, but you also have to think about all of your activities from the customer’s perspective.

Your goal is to make it easy for your employees to make it easy for your customers.

Well-designed customer experiences have never been more relevant. Research shows:

The only way to deliver an excellent customer experience is to enable employees at every stage of the customer journey. For example, reducing the number of steps in a transaction could be the start of a journey toward making that whole transaction “invisible” from the customer’s perspective.

Traditional approaches to the design of new products, services, and experiences usually start from a business-first or technology-first perspective. A customer-centric approach starts with the user experience, and considers the needs of both the customer and the employee, including the relationships between them.

Consider the way Uber redesigned the entire experience of getting a ride. They removed every area of friction: No standing in the rain to hail a cab, no waiting to exit your ride to pay. At the same time, they made it easy for drivers to find riders. This combination of improved customer and workforce experience revolutionised an industry.

Define the Jobs to be Done

Redesigning business processes to be customer-centric means moving away from seeing your business as selling, to seeing it as serving. It means using customer insights to deliver more personalised experiences, including tailored recommendations. It also means streamlining customer touchpoints to increase speed and reduce effort.

The heightened stakes for customer expectations mean you have to solve for the customer’s job to be done — what the customer hopes to accomplish — at every moment. By defining your customers’ jobs to be done, you’ll be in a better place to meet their needs and reconfigure your business practices to respond to their demands.

This practice helps you develop a more complete view of the customer and how they use your products and services to solve real challenges in their lives. Invest time in learning who your customers are and why they behave as they do.

How You Get Started: Pick One Customer Touchpoint

Speak to your customers, and they’ll surely give you an example of an inconvenient or clunky touchpoint with your company. Then, bring together stakeholders from all teams that influence that moment to explore how you might fix it, focusing solely on that single touchpoint and time frames needed to address it.

When there is an issue, why should customers have to call you? Instead, can you identify the problem and proactively engage in solving it? Think about the last time your flight was canceled. Chances are, you were already rebooked before you even knew there was a cancellation. With the right data and processes in place, the airline can move the customer from a canceled flight to an alternative one before they even know there is an issue.

Service like this is the company imagining what the customer needs, when they need it, and why. Find a way to make it effortless for your customers to get what they need.

Key Actions to Take

Identify target personas and their unique behaviors.

  • Designate a group of experts to deeply understand the needs of users in order to inform products, marketing, and processes.
  • Divide your customer base into smaller persona groups to help you tailor messaging, product development, and relationship management.
  • Map out a journey for each persona, outlining the job to be done at each stage of the experience.

Enable the full power of your company.

  • Empower your organisation as one team serving the customer through a single source of truth.
  • Ensure consistent tracking of each interaction between you and your customers.
  • Use that data to inform a short- and long-term roadmap of products and features.

Optimize to deliver personalised customer journeys at scale.

  • Develop a plan to engage your customers using cross-channel communication. Give everyone in the company exposure to customer interactions and opportunities to interact with customers directly.
  • Integrate data points so you have a complete picture of customer experiences.

Think big, but break down your vision into smaller components.

  • Throw out everything you know, don’t make untested assumptions, and prioritise a minimum viable product (MVP) to prove the value.
  • Iterate with rapid prototyping to design a product or experience that is desirable, feasible, and viable.
  • Focus on building a solution that users want, can be built with relative ease, and helps you reach your outcomes now and later, as you adapt.

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