Have you ever been in a situation where your business has been so focused on the product or services it provides that it's forgotten about the customer?
We don't mean to sound like a broken record, but when you're running a business, it's all about your customers. They're the ones who keep you in business, and if you can learn to truly understand how to serve them, you're well on your way to success.
The world is changing, and it's time for your business to change too. We're now moving away from a product-centric economy into a customer-centric one. Customers are in the driver's seat and we must provide them with the products and services that they need and are willing to pay for.
In this article, we'll show you how to start focusing on your customers rather than on your personal preferences or your company. Follow along as we use the example of K-Rep, a management service provider for community-based financial institutions.
What is customer-centricity?
Customer centricity is a way of thinking about how you can build a business that's focused on the needs of your customers. It's about understanding your customers and what they want out of life, so you can offer products and services that help them get there. In a nutshell, it means taking into account their needs and wants when you're designing or developing products or services. It also means constantly looking for new ways to meet those needs and make improvements.
It sounds simple, but it's not always easy to put into practice. In fact, many businesses are still lacking in their customer service practices—and without customer centricity at the centre of their businesses, they may not be able to thrive in today's dynamic market.
But if you can create an environment where you truly listen to your customer's needs and provide them with everything they need to succeed, then you'll have a great chance of succeeding as well!
How to introduce Customer-Centricity using K-Rep Fedha Services (KFS) & Financial Services Association (FSA) as a case study:
Financial Services Associations (FSAs) are membership-based financial institutions that offer members credit, savings, and money transaction services. K-Rep Fedha Services Limited (KFS) was established in 2005 as a specialist FSA management company to provide management services and oversight to the FSAs to ensure their long-term sustainability.
To better support the FSAs, our objective as Spindle Design was to guide both KFS and the FSAs to orient their institutions toward customer-centricity by reviewing their strategy, organisational structure, and culture to develop recommendations.
We developed a customer-centricity framework for KFS and the FSAs based on themes that we established in our formative research phase. Below are the five key strategies you should take to introduce customer-centricity into your organisation:
- Foster direct interaction with your stakeholders
It’s important to consistently communicate with your stakeholders to learn more about them, their likes, and their pain points. By collecting feedback, you can keep their needs and wants in mind as you create or improve on your solutions to better serve them.
The KFS and FSA team noted a lack of open feedback channels for both staff members and customers which greatly affected the trust levels of KFS and FSAs to its users. This affected communication challenges and misalignment of processes and systems put in place for customer needs. We recommended that KFS and FSAs adopt a feedback collection system that allows stakeholders to openly communicate their pain points with the business model, structure, products, and more.
- Create strategies and policies that provide value
Strategies set an organisation’s overall direction while policies support the execution of these strategies by offering guidance on everyday decisions. It also acknowledges customer satisfaction as a profit driver and customer complaints as a positive learning experience.
28.6% of KFS staff ranked financial well-being as the main need for their customers, while 38.1% of the FSA staff ranked being a trustworthy financial partner as the main need for their customers. This shows a clear difference in the understanding of the customers’ needs which can lead to misalignment of their efforts and priorities across the two organizations. We recommended that both KFS and FSAs staff members collaborate to create a strategy centred on customer-centricity in a way that allows key stakeholders, both internal and external, to actively participate and provide input across all touch points through surveys.
- Think about the post-purchase phase
It’s a known fact that it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep one. So how do you make sure you keep your existing customers coming back for more? You need to create an experience for them that motivates them to keep coming back. That can be done by providing added benefits after purchase such as a user guide or a reward points system.
We identified a lack of saving awareness by FSA members. Very few of these members save consistently for future needs, like education, and instead focus on increasing their shares when they need loans. We recommended that FSA and KFS should introduce loyalty programs to incentivize members to stay on track with their savings and loan repayments while rewarding strong performers. This would also keep money in circulation within the community.
- Connect your company’s culture to customer outcomes
Not only do your customers benefit when their journey is as smooth as possible, but so do your employees. Your employees will be more motivated when their actions can be linked to results. When your employees feel appreciated and valued, it fosters trust and opens up communication channels within the organization which allows them to serve your customers to the best of their abilities.
Our insights uncovered mismatches in measures of success between organisations to satisfy customers’ needs. We recommended that KFS and FSAs should improve their outreach and visibility in the community through various incentives and measures that will boost customer-centricity internally. This includes team building exercises and reward mechanisms to stimulate employee satisfaction, morale and capacity building.
- Reevaluate your organizational structure
When your company’s structure is built around your customers’ profiles, behaviours and needs, you can focus on both business and customer metrics. Every team member should have access to all this information to promote a higher level of trust within your organization.
FSAs operate as independent organisations in isolation as opposed to as a collaborative network which causes missed opportunities to support each other and agree on best practices and standards. The project offered insights into business structure transformation to enhance member involvement.
The first step toward becoming more customer-centric is realising that you need it! Reach out to us today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to co-create solutions that put your customer at the centre of your business.