Customers are not like they used to be. Not only they are not the same, but they’ve also become more demanding and more skeptical. And, to be honest, who can blame them? They’ve been let down too many times; either by over-promising marketing ads, or fake industry experts who in reality just want to earn their commission. And with so many options on the table, it’s just not the simplest task to perfectly choose which one is right for you.
Customer focus is a strategy built on recognizing the customer needs and making sure customer satisfaction is the top priority in every phase of the customer journey.
Customer-focused brands are well aware of the challenges one may experience as a customer. Therefore, it’s in their DNA to put customers first and provide the best possible solution. In this blog post, we write about 5 customer focus examples of companies that you may find inspiring.
Zappos - customer service at its finest
Our first customer focus example is Zappos - an e-commerce company that takes customer experience to a whole new level! They describe themselves as a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes, clothes, accessories, and the rest. And they mean it! When you open their site, the first thing you will notice is a link to customer service with their number aside. How convenient is this? Instead of playing the detective (like on many other sites), here you have everything on the palm of your hand.
Not only are they available 24/7, but they have free delivery, a 365-day free return policy, and unlimited call times. Their customer focus culture is a part of every aspect of the company, as they are eager to make a personal connection with every customer. That being said, employees play a huge role in providing their so-called WOW service. From what they’re stating, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself chatting for hours about random subjects with their call center. Steven W. is an employee from the CLT department who went so far that he was speaking to a customer for exactly 10 hours and 43 minutes! He was later dethroned by Stephanie V., whose phone lasted 10 hours and 51 minutes. Just WOW!
Netflix - the king of personalization
Every day there are more and more options to choose from. And that can become overwhelming. What to select and is there a better option than the chosen one? This leads us to believe that customers don’t need more options; what they do need is a rather personalized, tailor-made experience. At Netflix, they are well aware of that, as by listening to their consumers they collect valuable data that they use to provide personalized content.
How accurate they are shows the fact that 80 % of watched content comes from recommendations. Consumer research also showed that the average Netflix user spends 60-90 seconds choosing among 20-30 different titles to watch on the screen. Within that time, they will either find something compelling to watch, or the chance of abandoning the service will increase. When you take in mind the short attention span that most people have, you get the idea of how important it is to recognize your customer needs.
More and more companies are benefiting from personalized recommendations. For comparison, Amazon’s recommendation system was responsible for 35% of its total sales.
Amazon - innovation-based customer centricity
With a mission to become the world’s most customer-centric company, Amazon strives to make the interaction with the brand as comfortable as possible. Their solutions are based on data analysis, machine learning, business intelligence, and other latest computer science technologies. To understand how innovation is integrated into their core, consider the fact that for many of their technological obstacles they don’t have textbook solutions. So they continuously have to change directions and innovate with new approaches.
One example of that is Amazon Go - a technology-based concept of shopping, that allows you to enter the store by scanning your phone, picking up the wanted items, and exiting without waiting in line, or checking out. They use the same technology as the one that’s being used in self-driving cars, where the system detects when products are taken from the shelves and marks them in your virtual cart. When you exit the store, you will get an invoice and you will be charged through your Amazon account. Well done, Amazon!
Slack - customer feedback is the foundation
Who would’ve thought that we will need another messaging app! Apparently, we did since Slack was named as the fastest growing B2B application ever with more than 500.000 daily users in the first year, while they’re now counting 12 million. What is the secret behind it? Well, besides that they managed to solve multiple problems by simplifying business communication, they’ve implemented a customer-focus business model from the beginning.
How did they do it? They were listening to customer feedback while discovering new ways of improvement. The fact that they would respond to around 8.000 help tickets and 10.000 tweets per month shows how dedicated they were in making the most out of every feedback.
In 2018, when there were only eight of them in the company, they didn’t have a salesperson at all. The team truly believed that if the people were passionate enough about their application, the word will spread. Even today Stewart Butterfield - CEO of the company, emphasizes the importance of customer focus on every customer life-cycle as well as measuring customer-centric metrics over the sales metric to be successful in the long run.
Ikea - adaptation is the key
This Swedish brand is famous for providing remarkable experience while shopping in their store for affordable prices and stylish furnishings. The concept of the store is that it is located outside of the city, and that you can spend the whole afternoon immersed in the experience - with beautifully designed showrooms and dining areas. However, with customer needs that are constantly changing, IKEA had to change their business strategy and adapt to maximize their profits.
Over time, it was notable that many customers don’t have time or just don’t want to drive out of town and spend half of the day shopping, while the same can be done from the comfort of their home. For that reason, they decided to provide an excellent digital solution as well.
Aside from their user-friendly webshop, they made the first step forward in 2017., when they launched IKEA Place - an Augmented Reality (AR) experience where you can scan a room with your phone to see how an item will fit in your home. Today, they are bringing small IKEA pop-up stores to more and more city centers to make their brand more accessible to everyone and that nobody gets left behind. It is great to see how companies are adapting to meet their customers’ needs!
To sum up, there are a few things that you can do is you want to be customer focussed:
- Integrate customer focus mindset into your company’s DNA
- Listen to customers’ feedback and act upon it
- Adapt to changes in the market
- Use technologies to innovate new solutions
- Focus on customer-centric metrics
- Value customer satisfaction over the sales
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