Key to Competitive Advantage
The old adage – "Customer is King "continues to be relevant in the present day changing world.
This adage is now used in the new avatar – Customer Centricity.
Customer centricity refers to the orientation of a company to the needs and behaviour of its customers, rather than internal drivers. Customer centricity identifies the customer as the core of the firm's strategy, around which the company's value system and DNA system is built. It focusses on aligning the firm's strengths to its customer needs.
Listening to Clients and implementing their suggestions is the first step in achieving customer centricity. Moreover this listening needs to be on a continuous basis so that we can get real time feedback of our initiatives and also track the client’s evolving preferences.
In our day to day interaction, we should be able clearly articulate the following:
- What do our clients want?
- How are their needs changing?
Listening or Soliciting Client's evaluation of current services and getting them to describe their unfilled needs has two interrelated purposes:
- Improving the competitiveness of the current service offering
- Identifying cross selling / upselling opportunities to develop new services
Japanese manufactures believe that "Defect is a Treasure". Soliciting evaluation/ Listening to Client is a way to identify our shortcomings and explore new opportunities (Hidden treasure).
With Listening to Clients being the first step, the next step for the firm is to implement what we have learnt through listening and thereby building a robust delivery model which improves the client’s experiences with our service offerings. For a service firm, Perception and Performance are two sides of the same coin. Performance goes without saying, but at the same time, we need to manage perceptions through small intangibles.
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. In a service business, "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it": That's what gets results.
Quality work does not translate into Quality service. While most of us tend to focus on being adept at quality of work, we may fall short in quality of service. Perception and Performance forms the overall Client experience and also defines Quality Service for them.
In a nut shell, Customer centricity is about listening to clients, implementing their suggestions and thereby managing 2P's – Performance and Perception; critical success mantras for any service firm in the changing landscape.