Be True to Your Customer Centric Approach

Customer Centricity has been defined as “An approach to doing business in which a company focuses on creating a positive and consistent consumer experience at the point of sale, through the call center, online, via all communications, including mobile, email and print. A customer centric approach adds value to a company by differentiating themselves from competitors which do not offer the same great experience.” 

Today, many companies talk about employing a customer centric approach, but are they true to this definition across all consumer groups including their best Hispanic prospects? My experience has been that many companies say they are applying customer centric approach with all their customers in mind, but in reality, it is often employed selectively. It is being applied without consideration for the one hundred million plus multicultural consumers in the U.S. today of which 53 million are Hispanic. I find that companies speak of brand missions and promises, but actions indicate multicultural consumer segments are often excluded when planning and implementing the company’s delivery. 

And while many companies are targeting Hispanics with marketing, I assert that even the best intentions and efforts to market to Hispanics, including advertising, loyalty programs, product development and customer service will fall short in creating appropriate customer experiences among Hispanic consumers and other ethnic segments.  In fact, it is estimated that poor customer experiences regularly undermine these types of investments and cost companies targeting Hispanics with just marketing, billions of dollars annually on lost purchases and defections to the competition. 

I propose the key to successfully delivering and being true to a customer service experience initiative to all consumer targets is the deliberate development of a customer centric approach that is inclusive of all customer target profiles irrespective of their ethnicity or culture.

Delivering an excellent customer experience to all target consumers requires a Customer Centric approach that takes a global view of the consumer and uses consumer insights to connect and coordinate every channel of the organization to allow consistent delivery of the most relevant level of service, products, benefits, and customer care to each segment of a company’s the total market customer base. Each channel (website, in-store, call center, mobile and marketing communications) must be able to collaborate with all target customers as a primary focal point. This consistent delivery of the experience from web to store and from call center to marketing communications is the basis for a winning customer experience strategy. 

This involves establishing direct accountability for the customer experience. The Customer Experience is the responsibility of everyone in the organization and not just a marketing promotion. The best organizations make a cultural shift that drives customer experience responsibilities throughout areas of the company – from cashiers to the website and from the call center to monthly statements, and it must be championed from the top. All company associates must understand their roles and be measured and held accountable for consistently delivering the appropriate experience to all target customers at the right time. 

Real customer experience management mandates that the organization treats each segment of the customers in a unique and relevant manner. And to accomplish this rewarding goal, the organization must be prepared, aligned and committed from the top to bottom. In his blog Experience Matters, Bruce Temkin, a vice president at principal analyst at Forrester notes that “Given most people want their company to better serve customers, a clear view of what customers need, want, and dislike can align decisions and actions. If everyone shared a vivid view of the target customers and had visibility into customer feedback, then there would be less disagreement about what needs to be done for them.” Most companies believe this, but they forget these principles when it comes to targeting other ethnicities and cultural segments. 

So take a look at the following Organizational Readiness Checklist and ask yourself if your company’s definition of a customer centric approach truly applies to all potential target customers including Hispanics: 

ü      Executive sponsorship to ensure commitment from key stakeholders

ü      Established success metrics to gauge milestone achievements and Hispanics contribution to overall results

ü      Areas are aware, culturally competent, and tightly aligned to deliver a positive experience consistently and relevantly

ü      Employees have measurable customer experience objectives that are measured and reviewed quarterly (or more frequently) 

While it may seem like a good idea to invest in efforts to communicate and attract Hispanic consumers, these efforts won’t take you far I would argue may even be counterproductive unless the company is able to deliver the same experiences to all its customers.