This week we celebrated Swiss National Day on August 1st. It is a wonderful day of celebrations and sharing, that ends in many communes with a formal speech and bonfire, and if you’re lucky, a wonderful firework display as well.
This gave me the idea that we all need to get excited and fired up occasionally, so here is my sizzling Summer selection of quotes to ignite your own customer centricity.
Each quote is associated with some questions and ideas of actions, as usual. They are all taken from my forthcoming book “Winning Customer Centricity” which will finally be published next month.
#1. “There may be Customers without Brands, but there are no Brands without Customers” Anon
Marketing is all about brands, but without our customers, there wouldn’t be any brands. What did you do for your customers this week? Prove to everyone that you are serious about being more customer centric by signing all your emails with this or another suitable quote.
#2. “Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets”
This post from Nido Qubein (Businessman, author, speaker, President of High Point University) reminds us of the importance of targeting. Are you precisely choosing the customers you target for each of your brands or are you just taking anyone who buys the category? Choice means ignoring some category buyers, which is a hard but necessary decision to make. In order to fully satisfy your target, based on your ability to satisfy and win them, concentrate your efforts to increase your chances of success.
#3. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing”
John Russell (CEO of Manganese Bronze, former VP Harley Davidson Europe) speaks of an essential element of business today, engaging with our customers. When did you last speak directly with your own customers? If you are not doing this at least monthly, and ideally weekly, you are not keeping close to them, nor up-to-date with how they are changing. Please get out of your office NOW! (You can tell your Boss I told you to!)
#4. “If you use standard research methods you will have the same insights as everyone else”
This quote from David Nichols (Managing Partner at Brandgym) suggests that there is more to be gained than lost, from revising our methodologies, especially when we have been using them for many years. Some people mention lack of comparability as a reason for not changing, but the world is changing so fast that even if our methods don’t, people are changing and will not answer in the same way as in the past.
Therefore ask yourself when did you last review your market research tools? Are you really comfortable that you have all the right methodologies to gather the information you need? Today’s markets are changing and your customers are altering their behaviours even if you aren’t. It is not necessary to replace every tool you use, but you should be constantly challenging your thinking and methodologies to ensure you are doing the best possible information gathering.
#5. “Customer Service shouldn’t be a department; it should be the entire company”
Tony Hsieh (CEO Zappo) is one of a handful of CEOs who really get customer centricity. He makes customer service the responsibility of everyone in his company and everyone gets to speak directly with the customer in their few weeks of being hired at Zappo.
Who is responsible for serving the customer in your organisation? If your answer is not everyone, as Tony Hsieh of Zappo’s suggests, perhaps it is time to ask yourself why, or rather why not? An organisation can only become truly customer centric if everyone in the company thinks customer first. How can you help everyone understand that their job is important in satisfying your customers?
#6. “What helps people helps business”
Leo Burnett is often referred to as the father of advertising. Who better therefore to guide our own customer engagement. Today engaging the customer means far more than advertising. If a business thinks customer first and works to satisfying their needs, whether articulated, unarticulated or unimagined, then it will inevitably be successful.
If you are only meeting articulated needs, those specifically mentioned by your customers, then you will constantly be in competition with others satisfying them. Getting to and satisfying as yet unimagined needs, which is what Apple is (were?) great at doing, is the way to exponential growth.
#7. “Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game”
Tony Allesandra (Author, entrepreneur, speaker) highlights today’s challenge of differentiation. Even price can no longer win loyalty, as promotions, price cuts and own labels proliferate.
If you are competing on price alone, then you are open to serious challenge. You could even be training your customers to eventually trade down to private label. This is what Nielsen’s Jean-Jacques Vandeneede once described as the “Stairway to Agony”. Even if you are of equal quality, you can still lose to a competitor that offers superior service. Customers have been known to accept a higher price or lower quality for a better service. Which are you prioritising?
#8. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”
Steve Jobs (American entrepreneur & co-founder of Apple) showed us all the value of innovation and built the company to become synonymous with it right up until his death in October 2011.
However, despite recent criticism of Apple’s lack of truly innovative launches, they have always shown a remarkable power of inventing not what customers want, but what they will want. They have had a talent for understanding their customers’ future needs better than the customer himself.
This can only come from deep understanding. Are you a leader or a follower? If you don’t know your customer deeply then you risk becoming a follower, and your innovations are more likely to be merely renovations. Isn’t it time to break out of your innovation box?
#9. “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things”
We all like to think we are creative and innovative, yet there is a huge difference, as pointed out by Theodore Levitt (Professor at Harvard Business School & editor of HBR).
Are you a thinker or a doer? Insights without action remain theory and are virtually useless in the business world. Make sure all the insights you develop are actionable. How? By integrating information, the hindsights, hearsights and foresights that I mentioned in a recent post (if you missed it you can read it here) Information is not Insight.
#10. “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”
This Chinese Proverb is a great way to end this post, as it is time to take action, by making that first step towards customer centricity.
Are you happy with where you are on your own journey? If not, what action, what small step can you take today to move your organisation forward? The inspiration from any of the above nine would get you there if you are struggling with where to start.
To summarise the above ten quotes in just one sentence, it would be:
Think customer first; target, engage, satisfy, then rinse and repeat.
Sounds easy doesn’t it and it is, but oh so difficult to do really well.
Are you already advanced on your journey to customer centricity? If so, I would love to hear what was the one step you took that made the biggest difference in moving your organisation forwards. Was it one of the above? Then share your story. Do you think customer centricity is really as simple as “Target, engage and satisfy?” Let me know.
Would you like to know where you are on your own journey to customer centricity? Complete our FREE C³C Evaluator tool: http://www.c3centricity.com/evaluator/
Need help in targeting, engaging or satisfying your own customers? The let us help you catalyze your customer centricity; contact us here.
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