Customer Centricity Excellence with Acquia Customer Data Platform
If you have a history in customer service, then you would have learned that customer satisfaction is one of the most important growth factors. But getting to that satisfied loyal customer is a process that is more than just offering a good customer experience. Customer centricity is not a new concept. In fact, the idea has served many B2C organizations well. Taking the mark “care” in customer care down to a science and ensuring success across product life cycles.
According to Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are engaged, while the other 71% are ready to take their business elsewhere. If you are wondering why this is happening, the reason is not as elaborate as you would think. The fact is, most B2B companies are failing their customers. A satisfied customer means, repeated business, and the potential for new customers because word of mouth has always worked. But if B2B customers are dissatisfied, then you need to fix that. Great customer service goes well beyond providing a product or service. Businesses are quickly realizing the value of loyal customers. But capturing who those customers are, and how to address the problem, goes well beyond an old-fashioned survey.
In this in-depth article, we will help you understand what customer-centricity means for your brand and how to ensure that your brand is operating at a level that best serves your customers with the help of a customer data platform (CDP) through Acquia. You have heard this too many times to count, “people over profits”. Now, if you peeped over your glasses a bit or gazed into the distance, hold on, it will come together quite well.
Businesses are in operation to make money unless you’re a non-profit. But at what cost? As a B2B entity, understanding who you serve prepares you to make the right decisions. To get a better grip on improving and increasing customer satisfaction, we will approach customer-centricity as a B2C2B situation. We’ve approached the crossroads of acronyms, a road trip we didn’t know we needed.
Let’s Define and Explore Customer Centricity
What is customer-centricity? According to Gartner.com Customer centricity is the ability of people in an organization to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. They added further that customer-centricity demands that the customer is the FOCAL POINT of all decisions related to delivering products, services, and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Over time, customer service and satisfaction advocates have drilled into our psyche that the customer is always right. (They are not always, but we’ll allow a bit of delirium for the sake of it). Piggybacking on our temporary state of delirium, we can now tackle the sweet spot of customer satisfaction leading to guaranteed customer loyalty and increased growth. B2C brands interact more frequently with their customers. They are sometimes able to identify what their needs are, and how to effectively manage their expectations. What if we had the same experience with B2B companies?
With people, almost everything will be a challenge. But challenges present opportunities to create solutions. Let’s identify and discuss some of the key challenges or barriers to improving customer centricity in your organization.
The data challenge is ever-evolving. Digital experiences have somehow eliminated many of the challenges related to accessibility, availability, and analysis. All barriers to customer-centricity. Yet, there are still common data issues that may arise, which can be remedied using a customer data platform, something we’ll discuss later.
If I hear the word silo one more time, I might blow a gasket but until then, this has been one of the major drawbacks to customer-centricity. Departments do not engage, or the information gets lost along the way, so customer issues are not properly resolved. Organizations are improving but there needs to be an implementation of a customer-centric approach to allow for the ease and flow of information across departments.
When your employees are less motivated or empowered to address customer needs, this creates additional problems with ensuring greater customer satisfaction. While this might be more obvious in B2C companies, unmotivated employees play a greater risk in the delivery in B2B entities. To fully activate a customer-centric strategy, they must believe in what they are “selling” but also be motivated enough to relay that to a customer with confidence. The mindset shift must come from the top down. Customer-centric organizations that can successfully immerse the concept of serving the customer while not losing sight of the brand goals. Your employees interact with your customers so that impression is lasting and does affect your bottom line.
Making necessary adjustments to a process requires a system that is fast and secure enough to address your customer’s needs. Some companies still have outdated technology lacking the flexibility to capture data and process within the evolving parameters of the business.
The issues may vary from company to company, but these key areas are easily identified and the solution, though time-consuming, will have lasting positive effects on improving your business, growth, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
How to Address the Challenges
In a case study, on building a customer-centric B2B organization, using a holistic method of ‘diagnose, design, deliver’ process as demonstrated by the diagram below. Mckinsey and Company noted that the process takes up to three years to fully implement. However, before implementing, you should start with the vision and have already identified the challenges you want to address.
One of the main recommendations is always to start from the top. Implementing a customer-centric strategy must if not always include or be the sole goal of the CEO. This helps to eliminate or minimize the unmotivated employee. When the mindset shifts from the top, that trickle-down effect will eventually land on each employee. The shift is useful as it relates to implementing tools that address the ongoing data issues.
What Technology is Available?
An important part of the process is leveraging technology. Implementing a multi-system that addresses the customer experience that allowed for transparency, accountability, and accessibility to customers improved the overall customer experience. We mentioned above that data, organizational silos, and inflexible technologies were barriers or challenges to customer-centricity. According to Acquia, you cannot create exceptional customer experiences on bad data. The blog post further explains why effective marketing requires a unified technology foundation. This is where the CDP comes in.
Most companies already have a CRM system implemented. These systems are designed to generally create improved interactions with customers, including certain personal information for new leads and existing customers.Mark Picones, General Manager and senior vice president of product for Marketing Cloud at Acquia noted that customer data platforms have become the ideal solution for data-driven customer mapping journeys. He added that the most impactful function of a CDP is that it takes customer data and consolidates it into a unified customer view. Each time a potential customer interacts with one of your organization’s digital properties — whether it’s a website, mobile application, or chatbot — that behavior has the potential to tell a story.
CDPs are all about scale and automation. The data collected is more extensive than what a CRM captures. Information from every customer touchpoint or source feeds into a CDP, such as:
- Customer loyalty programs
Who are your repeat customers?
- Social media tags or check-ins at brick-and-mortar locations
Which stores attract high-net-worth individuals versus Gen Z shoppers?
- Email service providers
Which links did customers click on, and what are their email addresses?
- E-commerce platforms
Did the customer list more than one shipping address?
- Product-review platforms
What feedback do the customers leave on underperforming products?
What do they say about your latest launch?
- Digital ads
Which ad did they click on to get to your product page?
Was it one shown on Instagram, or were they hooked by a QR code at an event?
What can B2B entities learn from this?
While some of the key areas of measurement mentioned deal almost directly with B2C scenarios. This is only the icing on how a system set up to handle direct customer engagement can prove beneficial to B2B situations. For example, B2B’s thrive on relationships, and fostering that cross-connection brand visibility helps with increasing brand awareness and ensuring brand loyalty. Tapping into the key benefits of a unique CDP and tying that into your business and marketing goals could potentially set you apart from the competition.
What do we mean?
Customer loyalty is a concept most if not all B2C organizations can easily identify. Shifting into a customer-centric entity might prove a wee bit tricky for B2B’s. Times are changing, being human or creating that “human” connection is no longer just for B2C. Moreover, there is no shortage of resources or learning experiences, or opportunities. What is to say we cannot or should not find avenues to improve our B2B relationships?
With an Acquia Customer Centricity Data Platform, you can achieve the following:
- Get a complete, real-time, holistic view of the customer from all online and offline channels, properties, and systems.
- Humanize the customer experience by truly understanding every individual engaging with their brand.
- Get real-time insight & action
- Obtain knowledge of customer behaviors, segments, and trends over time so you can nimbly respond to changes and new opportunities.
Integrate and Execute
So where do you go from here?
- As the CEO or senior manager, review ALL your strategies to find out if you are running a customer-centric business or purely from a “let’s highlight the brand” viewpoint. Check how often customer reviews or concerns are left unanswered.
- Check your systems: Do you have sufficient information or the relevant information to address those concerns. How are you currently capturing customer data?
- Find out which CDP is right for you. There are four types based on your customer mapping journey and business.
Marketing Cloud CDPs
A Marketing Cloud CDP collects and manages data. It presents the information in a unique single customer view while connecting all the corresponding tools within the same software ecosystem. So while other marketing cloud systems exist, it is highly recommended to use the same software across the board to avoid integration difficulties.
CDP Engines and Toolkits
This runs on the more technical side of things; a task for an IT professional to integrate into an already installed CDP. Organizations can tailor their CDP to hyper-specific organizational needs that might fall outside the capabilities of even the best CDP solutions.
Marketing Data-Integration CDPs
This CDP is great for activating and delivering segmented campaigns to multiple channels. The drawback is that it lacks comprehensive views of analytics, dulling your decision-making.
CDP Smart Hubs
CDP Smart Hubs operate in real-time so their effectiveness is definitely sought after. Its ability to time and target responses based on user behavior and event data aids in analyzing and mapping out your customer journey.
Having the right information and knowing how to use it is crucial to your business’s success. Shifting your business to a more customer-centric approach has proven beneficial. While B2B “customers” are a little different from those in retail environments, customer loyalty is not foreign. A satisfied customer is a proof that your processes are working but without enough data to capture this, are your customers really satisfied? CEOs, at minimum, must see the value in implementing a customer-centric strategy, coupled with the right system should in time transform the outlook of your business. Acquia’s CDP works to capture the right data to ensure the improvement of your overall customer experience.