A strategy that aligns a company’s development/delivery of products/services with the current & future needs of a select set of customers to maximize their long-term financial value to the firm.
Do you ever get a customer that pays a low bill rate and never seems to be satisfied with your service? If that is the case, a customer-centric focus will be ideal for your company as it was for mine. WPG has implemented a customer-centric program into our Threat Management & Executive Protection Company. I highly recommend that all security companies consider such strategy and here is why… some customers can take 80% of your time while paying the lowest bill rate. These are the customers who call you at 2 am over some minor issue, cause intentional constant turnover & intentional unbillable overtime costs for your company. It is as if they do not want you to make a profit.
The phrase, ‘the customer is always right’ is just not true. I propose the paraphrase, ‘The right customers are always right’.
Have you ever fired a customer? You may need to if you are operating with a small profit margin, high turnover of employees, & you spend a significant amount of your time on this customer. In the end, this customer may hurt your reputation & brand. It is simply not worth the stress.
My thoughts on creating a strategy for a customer-centric company are as follows:
- Recognize the fundamental differences between customers. Which customer produces the highest revenues & profit margins? I suggest ranking your customers in the order of importance. You hold a strategic advantage over your competitors by knowing your customer’s needs as well as theirs.
- Acknowledge there is real and quantifiable value to be found in understanding your customers. Use this understanding towards your marketing efforts in order to acquire customers that will generate long-term revenues, good profit margins, and increase value to your company. Remember you want the right customer not just any customer. You want a customer that believes in your cause & has an emotional connection with your company. Avoid relationships based on a low bill rate or a customer who is so concerned with saving money that it compromises your desired level of service.
- Utilize formulas to measure the value of each one of your customers to gain insight. How much are you willing to spend on a current vs. a new customer? Who much will it cost you if you were to lose your best customer? How can you get more referrals from existing customers?
- Initiate a highly focused relationship management system. This allows you to gather even more information on your customers, creating positive leverage. Serve your customers on a personalized and genuine manner.
- Implement a strategy to target the right customers who believe in your purpose. Maintain and foster business with your most valuable customers that produce revenue, high-profit margins, and appreciate your service.
- Engage your employees. Although engagement is critical in the services industry, most companies fail in this area as many employees do not work in the corporate office. They are our in the field & the corporate office has very little contact with them. 7 out 10 employees are disengaged.
- Customer engagement you must anticipate the needs of the customer before they ask. Gather intelligence on the customer to present them ways on how you can better serve their needs. Keep track of all customer preferences.
- Create your own operating standard. Remember that the more value you can create & differentials of operating, you will naturally build long-term relationships with clients that won’t leave you because of the bill rate. Find a service standard model that reflects your corporate culture. People will notice the difference between your company and other competitors.
Recommended book: By my Wharton Professor Peter Fader, Customer Centricity.