The Importance of Customer Centricity and How to Achieve It by Answering One Question

And How to Achieve It by Answering One Question

It’s long been believed that “the ultimate question” companies should be asking their customers is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” That seems like a good way to see how well you’re doing with your customers.

During research into The Effortless Experience, we also learned that while the NPS question does a good job of assessing overall customer loyalty, in the moments immediately following an interaction the question you should be asking customers is, “How easy did we make it for you to get what you needed?”  

To understand how customers are likely to answer that question, companies need to ask a question of themselves: What is prompting this customer to contact us right now? 

Don’t Wait Until After The Interaction to Start Asking Questions

As we’ve been exploring the model of Unified Interaction Management (UIM) this question is critical to achieving customer centricity, and unlike the NPS question, this one needs to be considered before the interaction even starts, rather than in a survey AFTER the customer’s issue has already been resolved.  

In other words, what experience does your customer need to have, in order for your organization to be successful? How can you guide that experience across your website and communication channels into something coherent and seamless? This is the fundamental question you should be asking if you want to become truly customer-centric. And in the digital-first world, that’s all you need to know. 

In analyzing over 2 billion interactions with customers of financial services companies, it turns out there are only 3 primary REASONS any customer ever reaches out to your company:

  1. They need to buy something
  2. They need to take care of something
  3. Or, they need to fix something
  • Buying something could be a purchase, or opening a new account, applying for a policy or a loan, or taking advantage of some promotion or new service
  • Taking care of something could be transferring funds or making a payment, getting information about their account, accessing their online banking, or locating records from past transactions
  • And fixing something covers almost the entirety of traditional Customer Service, every situation where a customer needs help or finds  there’s some kind of issue that needs to be resolved

In the digital-first world, with these three categories, you can know almost immediately what is prompting this one customer to contact you at this moment. When you know that, you can manage each interaction to set everyone up for success.

What Every Need Needs: An Interaction for Each Situation

Unified Interaction Management (UIM) enables companies to automatically match the exact right interaction type to each customer, based on WHY they’re reaching out to you in the first place–no matter which channel they choose to initiate the interaction. This means guiding your routing and channel mix with unified data, enabling an interaction to move between channels without losing context as the conversation evolves, and in some cases to transfer understanding from one channel or representative to another. 

That’s the one question you need to be confident in answering to become truly customer-centric:

Why is this customer contacting us right now?

  • For customers whose mindset is about buying something, you can now build an interactive digital journey with Live Observation that instantly takes them to the exact place they need to go. You can automatically guide them through any process.  If the customer wants to speak with a live rep, all they have to do is press a button on their screen, and they’re having a live On-Screen Voice conversation.
  • For customers who need to take care of something, their prevailing mindset is “getting this task off my plate.” At a psychological level, most customers are looking for reassurance and quick, effortless resolution when they need to take care of something. This is easy to accomplish through the use of virtual assistants, each purpose-built for each specific task customers need to take care of. Even when interactions evolve in unpredictable ways, customers can upgrade to live support without losing the context of everything that has happened up until that point. 
  • And when it comes to fixing something, there are certain kinds of issues that can be handled effortlessly through virtual assistance, while others are almost always best resolved through live assistance. And live assistance takes many forms–phone calls, live chat, and even OnScreen Voice. This contact reason is the trickiest to predict, but with seamless channel switching on a ChannelLess™ platform, escalating and transfers are frustration-free. 

So instead of ending every interaction by asking: “How likely are you to recommend us” (an inherently company-centric question), what if you began every interaction by considering this question: “What exact need does this customer have, so we can create the most efficient and effective interaction for this person right now?” 

That is the one question you–as a leader in your organization–ought to be laser-focused on, if you aspire to someday achieve a state of true customer-centricity.