Most businesses would probably claim to be very customer-centric. It is a term that one hears a lot in sales and marketing circles, but what does it mean? Literally Customer Centric means that your customers – not your products, services or balance sheet – are the center around which your business is built. It means starting each work day with the question: ‘What do my customers want today?’ rather than ‘what product should I launch?’ or ‘what is my cash flow situation?’
Given this definition, do you still say your business is customer-centric?
Changing your mind-set
Fortunately, becoming a fully customer-centric organization requires less upheaval than one might think. It is really a matter of a small but significant change of mind-set. When you consider the fact that your customers ARE your business, every problem becomes a symptom of where you’re letting your customers down; every KPI becomes a barometer measuring how your company is fulfilling the customers’ needs and every new product launch has to be justified against real customer needs.
So how do you find out what those needs are? The answer to that could be simpler than you think too.
Why every business should offer Live Chat
One thing that is becoming apparent in market research is that customers both want and expect prompt service delivery. For an online business, the only tool that can consistently and pro-actively fulfill those expectations is a live chat platform. Once a customer decides to respond to your company’s invitation to chat, you can start to demonstrate what a truly customer-centric organization you are by identifying your customer’s needs, asking about any problems they might be experiencing and making changes to your products, services or business operation depending on what is needed.
Inexpensive with instant results
Compared with other business development costs, integrating live chat with your business is easy, inexpensive and offers instant results. Sophisticated software means the technological side of things is usually refreshingly simple, with most of your time and resources needed for training live chat agents to make the most of their opportunity to engage directly with active visitors.
Once live chat is up and running, the surveillance capabilities of most platforms can be employed to full effect. If online ‘surveillance’ sounds a bit sinister, think of it as being no different than observing the movements of a customer in a bricks and mortar store with the motive of helping them find what they need with minimal time and effort. With live chat packages you can usually track where a customer has arrived from, which pages they have looked at and what on-screen actions they have taken. Inviting a browser to chat has the same function as walking up to a shopper in-store and asking whether you can be of assistance. In fact, the live chat window is even more customer-centric than an in-store assistant, as the online browser is free to ignore the chat window without feeling awkward.
It’s all in the training
Finally, a live chat platform is only as good as its customer service agents, which is why you will need to ensure the customer-facing agents are trained (or re-trained if necessary) to employ that customer-centric mind-set. A professionally trained customer service agent will look beyond the initial request for help to provide the fullest service possible. This may, or may not, involve cross-selling or up-selling and can include identifying problems with the customer journey that can be fixed for the benefit of future visitors.