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4  Tips to
Understanding your Customers Better 

Allan_Savvy_Article_Author

18 May, 2022

Leigh Whiting,

Experience Design Lead

at Decision Inc. South Africa

Even though customer experience and customer service are inextricably linked, some differences see them operating separately as well. The former entails the entire journey from initial discovery to after the service is delivered. And the latter is a segment of the customer journey that contributes to the overall experience. So, what can organisations do to enhance both?

1. Understand your Customers’ Needs

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On the service side, organisations can assimilate how best to meet the needs of their customers by embracing more advanced data analytics. This goal requires the business to move past the ‘first call resolution’ metric and truly empower customer service staff to resolve the actual problem that the customer is facing, with access to the right information at their fingertips.

Measuring customer experience entails putting a method in place that delivers continuous feedback. Implementing metrics that are a fair measure of improved customer experience becomes critical. In this environment, reduced support requests are a better indicator of improved experience than the resolution of support items or Net Promoter Scores – something that many business leaders tend to forget.

In many ways, customer retention comes down to understanding the needs and requirements of customers and responding to those as quickly as possible. The subscription economy means that, more than ever before, consumers have a wealth of options available to them. It is therefore imperative for companies to really listen to what it is that the customer wants, deliver on it, and differentiate the company from its competitors.

2. Have a Single Customer View

A single view of the customer that provides oversight of their entire journey is a critical enabler to achieving these insights.

Those companies who lack in this department have a huge impediment in their ability to ensure a positive customer experience. An aggregated view across legacy systems is the best way for companies to overcome this challenge in the short term. But the end goal should be a fully integrated omnichannel experience for customers that enriches the data available to drive hyper-personalisation.

As an experienced design professional and customer, myself, I believe that when companies leverage this single view correctly, there will be massive benefits for both the company and the customer.

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For instance, a customer receiving a relevant offer with a discount voucher at the right time means they feel understood and rewarded. Simultaneously the company will increase sales, loyalty, and advocacy.

It is imperative that the customer journey must always be mutually beneficial to help strengthen this sense of loyalty and return. The best way to do this is by fully integrating data-driven insights into the customer experience process.

3. Focus on Sustainability

Sustainable consumers are often confused with those who care about the environment and that are eco-friendly. This is not necessarily who sustainable consumers are. From a business perspective, a sustainable consumer holds brands accountable across multiple practices. For example, to respect human rights and ethical workplace practices.

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Sustainable consumers are vital as they support brands who are open about their values, and this encourages brands to operate sustainably. The organisation, in turn, can also encourage its customers to consume sustainably by simply switching from printed receipts to emailing them.

I think that even if we look at multiple factors that have impacted the supply chain in the last two years: from COVID-19, the container ship stuck in the Zeus canal, or more recently, the Ukrainian invasion, we can see that we do not have ready access to as many resources like we had previously. This lack of resources means that companies should reconsider the opulence that consumers previously had. They need to re-evaluate what sustainability means, not only from an environmental perspective, but holistically. Plans should be implemented to sparingly use materials available until supply chain issues are resolved.

Companies are fortunate that customers have an increased knowledge of the external influencing factors that result in the lack of on-demand availability of some of their favourite products. The scarcity of goods lends itself an opportunity for brands to teach their customers about the juxtaposition of convenience and sustainability.

4. The Customer is Always First

The ‘customer first’ is a method for companies to make sure that the customer is at the heart of every decision a company makes, more than products or internal business structures. This customer-centric view is achieved by proactively seeking ways to deliver a positive experience, and consistently design and deliver with the customer in mind.

Contrary to popular opinion, I personally do not think that the customer always comes first. While this might seem in stark contrast to the focus on customer centricity, customers must also be held accountable for their actions, interactions, and behaviours.

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From a business perspective, the company must seriously consider whether aligning itself with a customer who is in direct conflict with its own values will be in its long-term best interests.

I am not saying that a ‘customer first’ lens of always listening and responding to their needs should be discarded. Instead, I believe that this level of customer care makes people feel valued, which results in loyalty to a company. It also means that a journey is designed with the customer in mind, meaning that their overall experience is positive. However, I do believe that there are needs to be balanced and that it is okay to part ways with customers who are not part of the mutually beneficial journey.

So, when we focus on understanding our customers, we can focus on delivering experiences that make them feel valued and recognised, which reduces churn, increases revenue, and ultimately leads to higher profits.

We can assist you with your Customer Experience efforts.

Find out how:

Decision Inc. Talent Recruitment

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Decision Inc. helps organisations develop and deliver the Technology and Digital Operating Model to support their strategy. We create the capability for clients to innovate and compete by connecting the technologies, platforms and data they need to thrive in the Modern Era.

Decision Inc. brings a deep business and technology understanding and provides functional insights, embedded in the technology platforms of the industry, to help clients make an impact. We help the best businesses in the world to power their business, enable their people and accelerate digital progress.

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