Customer Experience: the way to becoming a “customer centric company”

Customer Experience and Customer Centricity put the customer at the center of almost every business decision – far beyond marketing. But German companies are far from achieving this potential.
“And who is responsible for customer centricity in your company?” I often ask this question in discussions – essentially, there are always the same two and a half answers:

1. “We have a Head of Customer Centricity” (or similar weighty job descriptions). This answer is quite rare, and most of the time it’s simply a product or marketing manager who more or less voluntarily puts the CC hat on top of everything else.

Florian Semle Gross
Florian Semle is coach and transformation companion for companies in the digital transformation (photo: private)

2. “In principle, every team in its field is responsible for the implementation of Customer Centricity.” This answer is relatively common and either means: We have an overarching strategy of digital transformation, know our customers, evaluate the digital footprint in the company Customer journey and work together, agile and continuously to always be one step ahead of the customer’s wishes Or: With us, sales, marketing, product development, communication, IT, etc. are still working in their silos and tinkering on their respective allotment Digitalization.

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In many cases, the vast majority of companies are convinced that the customer really is at the center of everything they do – but the majority of these customers think the opposite is true.

Why Customer Centricity Should Be at the Beginning of Digital Transformation

This misunderstanding between companies and customers shows us very well where most companies today stand on the subject of customer centricity: The necessity is recognized, but the devil is in the details of the implementation: What role does Customer Centricity play in the digital transformation? How is a roadmap developed for implementation? Who is responsible for what? Which KPIs need to be analyzed and interpreted?

The only way to really answer these questions is at the same time the basic principle of Customer Centricity: Always start with the customer! The really relevant questions are the customer, not the company – and this is exactly where the roadmap of successful customer centricity begins – and basically the digital transformation itself, because the smartest AI, the most cryptic blockchain, the most secure cloud and the most futuristic experience marketing nothing if the base is wrong: understanding who the customers are, what their desires, concerns and moving issues are and how they can be addressed in an ideal way.

Reading links to Customer Centricity

Venturebeat Editors: How to create a virtuous cycle of data with your customers

CMO Germany Staff: DMEXCO boss Dominik Matyka: “Stay curious and create experiences!”

Sven Esser: What is a #CX Methodology and a #CX Strategy?

Holger Schmidt: What digital pioneers have to do with traditional companies

Johannes Ceh, Mark Wagner: More freedom, more responsibility

The customer experience can only fully develop its potential when all relevant areas interact: the follower power for the survey on Twitter on the question of who should implement customer centricity and customer experience is also absolutely clear here: both topics are not for Silodenker and departmental corps: Either the executive suite makes customer thinking a priority, or even better, customer focus becomes part of the corporate culture beyond departmental boundaries and areas of expertise.

Customer Experience: The customer as inspiration and initiator

Good customer experience works like a good movie: we understand the story immediately and feel addressed, tension builds up, we feverishly anticipate the next scene, anticipate the dramatic climax – basically living through it like an experience journey that picks us up emotionally and takes along. This CX Journey is the dramaturgy of the film, and good customer experience management is the script behind it: you’re always creating new experiences that engage the client and lead to the climax (the lead, contact, buy).

Customer Centricity in the company means aligning products, processes, data management and even the new big technology trends of digital transformation so that every area, every action and every change contributes to a positive experience for the customer. The particular challenge of Customer Centricity compared to its predecessors, such as CRM, is the foundation with digital data and the systematic, comprehensive real-time management, and in particular the use of AI, machine learning, cloud computing, etc.

The great return on investment of customer experience and customer centricity is a new dimension of customer proximity and loyalty, because customers are not only thought along, but also through data analysis, predictive analytics and, above all, the clear priority for customer thinking, almost the initiators and inspirations themselves of marketing, sales and product development.

Roundup: From the customer mind to customer action

The new digital possibilities can take each customer journey to a new level and Customer Centricity is at the same time strategy, goal and method. The big challenge for Customer Centricity still lies elsewhere: Companies, structures and departments have to change in sync with technical innovation so that they really can realize the added value. Especially in Germany, we have a very strong focus on technology – which in the field of customer centricity could sometimes even be counterproductive because customers sometimes want something different.

In my opinion, the current data situation in almost all companies is not yet such that more complex interpretations without human judgment, empathy and lateral thinking is possible. This interplay between digital tools, automated data preparation, and human touchpoints, supervisors, and creative developers will be one of the key challenges of the coming years. The “old school departmental and departmental thinking” will (at least) have to be replaced by an agile, comprehensive work culture, at least for the leading companies, so that digital transformation in general and customer centricity in particular can succeed.

Florian Semle’s article is a summary from the Adobe Twitter Takeover. In the coming days, the following experts will be on the series:

  • Thu, 06.09. Julian Kramer – AI
  • Fri, 07.09. Tobias Weidemann – Data Marketing
  • Mon, 10.09. Nina Haller – Programmatic
  • Tue, 11.9. Florian Treiß – Commerce
  • Wed, 12.09. Live chat of all experts at Dmexco
  • Julian Kramer
    Julian Kramer is Adobe’s Chief Experience Ambassador and has always done what you’ve never done before (Photo: Adobe)
  • Tobias Weidemann
    Tobias Weidemann is a freelance journalist for numerous business and technology media as well as consultant in the field of content and digital topics (photo: private)
  • Nina Haller
    Nina Haller is managing partner at GroupM, responsible for the centralized programmatic business community, as well as AdTech & Process (photo: private)
  • Florian Treiss
    Florian Treiss is a journalist for Digital Business and founder of the platforms mobilbranche.de and locationinsider.de (Photo: private)

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