What does Customer Focus mean and how do we build this into our business?
Customers are the lifeblood of any Company. This statement is more pertinent today than ever before. We should be aware that we live in an age where there are more choices than before, access to more competitive information and far greater markets available to us.
So how do you ensure that your business can continue to service, look after and more importantly retain its customers? This is a question that many businesses grapple with continuously and the answer to this is too complex to provide in a short document. There are countless books that have been written on this subject. From the Power of 7 Strategy perspective, we are going to break this down into a few quick and easy steps to follow that will go some way towards ensuring that your business not only retains its existing customers but more importantly wins new customers. I am sure you have heard the facts that is costs 8 times more to win a new customer than look after and service an existing customer. If this is true, your strategy should be very clearly aligned to firstly looking after your existing customers and then ensuring they become brand ambassadors for your company and referring new customers to you.
An important question to answer in determining how you retain your customers must be to clearly define what your customers current and future needs are? This is huge and if this is understood, will align with one of the other Quality Management Principals being, Continual Improvement. If you are ahead of this curve of current and future customer needs and you deliver, can there be any good reason for your customers to go elsewhere?
Continual improvement on its own is not enough. You need to be able to ensure that operationally you have set up processes and procedures that ensure you deliver and if there are any glitches in the delivery mechanism, these are quickly identified and fixed.
What have you set up in the Company in terms of retention and loyalty? I ask this question as the simple fact that 8 x cost to win new customers, clearly indicates that we should be at least directing a portion of marketing spend and operational spend on retention and loyalty. There are many ways to do this. Just by way of example we have seen the massive increase in the adoption of loyalty programs. You name a retailer, airline, financial services company that does not have some for loyalty program, and you will find that they are loosing market share.
Here is an interesting fact, research company Access Development reported that 79% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service, while the estimated cost of customers switching their choice of businesses due to poor service is $1.6 trillion (in SA Rand Terms – a staggering R20.73 trillion. Our SA GDP is only a mere R5.39 trillion). What does all this mean? Very clearly loosing customer’s costs a lot of money, or in our world it simply means loss of profit and more importantly sustainability.