--By CB Rajesh--
“Best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others – MK Gandhi”
Customer spirit is in essence keeping the customer aspiration in center while delivering a product or service. Pouring your soul into any engagement will deliver the customer spirit as everyone longs for a quality interaction. Let’s just evaluate what is customer spirit and how does it work? For this we will have to go back in history to see the change in customer behavior and expectations and how organizations have evolved in dealing with them.
Customer behavior got shaped and transformed by many changes in technology and the ever-expanding channels of communication available for people to interact, express their views and opinions. This change fundamentally helped people to choose the medium of communication suited their convenience and liking. It also expanded and opened new channels of communication for companies to connect and engage with their existing and new customers.
New age communications also paved way to a large-scale disruptions and new market places came alive. The new customer segments and start-ups forced companies to change the way they operated and dealt with customers. At the same time customers also evolved in their choices due to enhanced communications tools, large-scale digitization, wealth of information and their disposal.
The journey from industrial revolution till big data & AI has been path-breaking, while companies progressed from mechanization to digital simultaneously customers also evolved from generic to personalized engagements. What is driving this big change is consumer behavior and their aspirations,
1. Information abundance
2. Customer driven business models
3. Access to technology
4. Disruptions reducing customer efforts
5. Big data
What is customer spirit and its potential role in redefining consumer strategy going forward?
So how can we nurture the soul of the customers by developing winning products and services? How do you put customer spirit at play?
Take a typical visit to a coffee shop, people buy coffee or any other beverage for different purposes e.g. for passing time, to beat the heat, to ward off sleep / boredom or to spend quality time with someone, under these circumstances it boils down to how was the purchase experience and did they feel anything special about the transaction?
One needs to understand few principles straightaway, the customer is buying a product or service to enhance their lifestyle or to solve some of their problems and hence one must not be surprised if we have to deal with individual needs in future. The footprint created by customers will help us identify their aspirations through big data & AI. There is a huge opportunity for companies to redesign their interface (web or app) to be more customer friendly which will be simple and efficient in catering to customer demands, as a result reducing customer efforts.
Today customers are bombarded with loads of data and information at them, devising a right filter will do the trick. Any interface or touch-point should work towards sending an accurate and focused communication to customers which can be absorbed easily. As and when the customer decides to contact the customer service team we should seize the moment to satisfy the customer, which essentially means unlimited empowerment to deliver customer satisfaction. The customer service teams should be equipped only on discharging the empowerment and they should always ask right questions to ascertain what went wrong “this will help the companies to get to the root cause” the cost of empowerment should be treated as cost of service and this can be brought down by eliminating product defects.
The established, newer and emerging market places today carry ratings for most of the services or products that we consume, more over the sellers and service providers are also getting rated. This feature clearly expands the community and connect people across geographies and their ability to advocate, unlike in the past we would only get recommendations from friends & family which was a small community. The power to influence these rating essentially demands companies to think and act from customer’s point of view.
In the nutshell customer spirit is an attitude like a key ingredient for cooking a great product or service!