We have many examples showing how customer-focused companies are more financially successful in their industry versus the competition. These Loyalty Leaders grow at a faster pace, have better margins, and most importantly now, lose less in a downturn versus companies with a weaker customer following (we call them Loyalty Laggards).
But what makes a company successful at being “Customer-Focused”?
Pat Gibbons, our Senior Vice President of Marketing, recently posed this question to a group of Walker thought leaders.
Now when you consider the total experience this group has in working directly with Fortune 1000 clients, it is more than 200 years of Customer Loyalty Management expertise in industries such as IT, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Hospitality, and others.
I’m comfortable this is an appropriate group to handle this question.
So what did they say? As you might guess, the responses varied, but three major themes emerged:
1. Leadership – It comes from the top. You better have executive-level support, and they need to be actively involved in the process.
2. Strategic Alignment – Strategy development and decision making processes include customer input at all levels of the organization.
3. Action – Customer-focused organizations are driven to respond to the needs of their most important stakeholders and take systematic action on functional issues identified by customers. Not only is there the constant push to improve the customer experience, but there is also a continuous feedback process in place that is visible to both customers and employees.
Other major characteristics include being good Listeners and Communicators and having Customer-Focused efforts be a part of their Mission and Corporate Culture.
So where does your company stack up? What are your strengths and weaknesses related to being customer-focused?
If you are a customer advocate, a great place to start is to tackle one of your weaknesses. It will move your organization in the direction of being a customer-focused Loyalty Leader, and your company will profit from it.
Vice President – Client Services