Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Road to Customer-Focused Results: Implement an Initiative That Pays Off

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Road to Customer-Focused Results: Implement an Initiative That Pays Off

Article excerpt

CUSTOMER-FOCUSED initiatives are all about results. While that should be pretty obvious, it doesn't always work that way. I recently participated in an online group discussion where members asked if anyone had examples of customer feedback programs that contributed positively to the company's financial results. Out of more than two dozen responses, maybe three provided a solid example. Mostly, people shared why this is hard to measure. It was startling that there were so few tangible examples of customer-focused results.

In today's complex corporate environment, it has become very difficult to implement customer-focused initiatives that really pay off. But isn't that what it's all about?

FIVE STOPS ON THE ROAD TO RESULTS

Many details need to be managed to consistently deliver customer-focused results. There are five areas critical to producing results from customer initiatives.

* Culture: No one can deny the importance of an organization's culture, perhaps the toughest area to control. The company has to truly believe that customer initiatives are a priority; leadership has to provide resources and support; and the focus on customers must be visible throughout the organization. What's more, there should be clear alignment between how the company prioritizes customer needs and the overall corporate objectives.

* Strategy: Customer initiatives don't just appear. There needs to be a strategy in place that includes specific goals, a leader with influence, a committed team, a road map, and the authority to make it happen. The customer strategy must have a strong mandate to achieve real results.

* Intelligence: Probably the most complicated component is developing a system for gathering and distributing the right customer intelligence. This means that to make the most of all the customer information, you have to do more than just listen to customers. You need to predict their moves and anticipate their needs. Companies must be skilled at gathering and analyzing operational data, financial information, behavioral data, survey feedback, service case data, social media, and more. In the end, these insights must be available throughout the company so they are put to use.

* Action: In any organization, there are countless individuals who should use customer intelligence to improve the decisions they make and the actions they take. …

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