It's Not About You

It's about the customer.

That's a basic concept that we forget most often. It's not one that a shopkeeper or electrician can forget, because they talk to their customers ever day. But surrounded by 4 cubicle walls and coworkers without a customer in sight, how often do you make a decision based on your customer?

Customer experience begins well before a handshake takes place. It starts when they hear the name of your company. Great branding transforms a product name into a household one. Have you ever heard someone say, "I can't remember. I'll Bing it." (Spoiler: No.) 

Success is when your customer feels like an insider. You have to do more than get them in the door, but show them great service and make them part of the story. Where is that on a spreadsheet?
— Chris Brogan, "Strip Naked to Avoid the Emperor," INBOUND 2015

(Find more great inspiration from #INBOUND15 here.)

Silos Are The Enemy of Customer Centricity

The challenge, then, is to break down the concrete (sometimes literal, sometimes figurative) walls between organizations and people within the company. The customer doesn't see the multiple groups and people behind the product or think that maybe the engineering team doesn't talk to sales as much as they could or should. Petty politics plays out in divergent, conflicting, and often confusing experiences. 

Digital Marketing Trends Can Fight Silos

Thanks CollegeHumor for hitting SO close to home.

Thanks CollegeHumor for hitting SO close to home.

New digital trends erase many of these conflicts as companies scale. Personalization, or the ability to dynamically tailor experiences to an individual with context across multiple channels, gives consumers back the feeling you get when ordering "the usual" at your favorite restaurant. 

Today’s consumers look for unique experiences that feed relevant content directly to them. Think about your tv preferences for a minute.  I don’t want to watch goofy workplace tv comedies. I would rather watch critically-acclaimed 20th century period pieces with a strong female lead. Netflix’s recommendation engine knows based on my ratings and watching history that I prefer the latter to the former.

Building Customer Centricity Into Your Business Model

Source: Ernst & Young Customer Centricity 

Source: Ernst & Young Customer Centricity 

Customer centricity starts from decision making. Rather than starting with "What's best for our company at this point in time?" we have to start thinking "What's best for the customer at this point in time? Do they care about what we have to say? Why/why not?" You have to get curious enough to start asking questions.

Maintaining customer centricity requires feedback. In the digital realm, that means we're not limited to surveys, but can look at views, bounce rates, and time spent on pages. Is our content really engaging our customers? Are we providing them what they're looking for fast enough? You can't find out what the solution is until you know the problem.

I love this chart from Hubspot because each metric isn't just to impress your boss, but to impress the customer and do more, better.

I love this chart from Hubspot because each metric isn't just to impress your boss, but to impress the customer and do more, better.

When we decide to publish a piece of content or make the logo look a certain way, are we choosing that because it's what WE like? Or because it's what the CUSTOMER likes? That's the distinction we rarely pause to make.

Facing these questions can be tough and can require some serious soul searching. But the creating something special for each individual customer adds exponential value.