The disruptive changes in the digital era have brought a completely new outlook on how we interpret customers’ requirements and deliver excellent experiences. The shared services industry is embracing digital intervention at a rapid pace. In the early days of outsourcing, more focus was given to mass production of repetitive services. However, a digital intervention like automation and human behavioral approaches have severely challenged these services. At present, most business organizations no longer visualize success as having a large group of employees operating out of minimum budget back-offices; rather, they focus on having operations that are able to create the desired outcomes for customers. And, to acquire new customers and transform existing customers into brand advocates, it is important to come up with services that save time and costs along with offering the simplicity of use.

CEOs of industrial companies are looking forward to delivering as convenient and transparent services like Amazon, Uber, and Apple. Even in oil, gas, and chemical industries, the expectations of commercial and retail customers are evolving to match what they experience online. For many industrial companies, responding to new customers’ expectations represents a significant challenge. Over the past 10-15 years, they have more focused on achieving operational excellence, improving the productivity, performance, and safety of their assets and personnel. A well-defined customer journey and experience is design-led, digital-first and user-centric as it centers the solution on the core needs of the customers. This involves functional, domain and human-centric expertise together. For example, a finance solution for a pharmacy company need not be built by finance or deep domain industry experts alone; rather, it also requires guidance by behavioral scientists who can instill customer-centric thinking. Hence, a service provider’s ability to create a customer-led digital journey is of paramount importance.

The design creation expertise of the service provider should be backed by the ability to deliver transformative experiences. While there is no broadly accepted, formal definition of customer-centricity, in our view we see seven principles that customer-centric companies have used to gain leadership in satisfaction and loyalty.

1. An ‘outside-in’, solutions-oriented approach- Bundling of support such as advice, knowledge or other services to help the customer to acquire the best solution, and understand how to optimally deploy and use it.

2. A deep understanding of the customer across the life cycle- It’s important to recognize that customers’ needs change over that time, and they respond to the change continuously, as it occurs.

3. Empowerment at the point of interaction- For service providers serving business customers this means building highly trained, empowered account teams (or channel partners), and upgrading customer support processes and tools.

4. Efficient, tailored business processes- Customer-centric companies strive for efficiency in their processes to increase speed and satisfaction.

5. Cross-company consistency- Customer-centric companies understand that customers ultimately build their perceptions of a company, based on the whole company, and expect consistent and predictable interactions across organizational boundaries and interaction channels.

6. Transparency- Companies must build transparency into their business processes, allowing customers real-time access to the data they need

7. Data-driven decisions- Customer-centric companies understand that the execution of their strategy is highly dependent on having the right information at the right time.

Delivering exceptional customer experience has become the core of achieving a competitive edge. Customer journey maps are built from the customer’s experience. It’s important to visualize your customers’ interactions with your brand across multiple touch points and identify the emotions they are experiencing throughout the journey. Journey maps are a tool for chronicling the customer experience from an outside-in perspective and presenting them in an honest, engaging, and actionable way—which makes them an ideal tool for transforming your company into a truly customer-centric organization.

Mano is an experienced Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Demanzo, a sales and marketing services agency focused on helping startups and small businesses. Mano is an avid blogger who blogs about SEO, PPC, digital marketing and social media marketing.

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