Developing Customer Centricity

Are you obsessed with your customers? Successful companies are. At a recent Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator Bootcamp, Kirsty Traill, VP of Customer at Hootsuite, showed our startups how to focus on customers to provide an exceptional customer experience. Traill said that everyone agrees the customer experience is important, but many companies do little more than pay lip service to the idea. While 92 percent of companies say customer experience is one of their top priorities¹, a recent Forrester report shows that few companies actually deliver outstanding experiences².  True leaders start with the customer and work backward. In Amazon’s customer principles, they say leaders pay attention to competitors but obsess over customers. How do you truly understand what your customers want and need? Kirsty walked us through the process:

Define your customer

Look into where you’re getting early traction with customers, and figure out who those customers are. Developing buyer and user customer personas is key. Buyer personas will inform your sales and marketing teams and determine your messaging. User personas will inform your user group, the customer experience, product changes, etc.

“Personas can optimize your marketing spend and help you get traction as fast as possible.”

To create your customer personas, you’ll need to find out about your customers’ backgrounds, their education, their location, where they spend their time online, what their goals and challenges are, etc. Dig into your CRM system and talk to your sales people to find out what characteristics your customers have in common. Your support and customer facing teams (such as sales, success etc) will know. For your user personas, it helps to enlist your product team. You’ll also want to interview your customers. Interviewing between five and six customers in each persona category is ideal because then you’ll start to notice the common themes that come up, like why these customers considered your product. Understanding what your buyers and users are thinking and feeling can help to define your marketing and target your messaging to exactly what your customers need. Smaller companies shouldn’t start with any more than four personas. You’ll want to focus on one or two until you start to see traction.

Define the customer journey

Once you’ve created your buyer and user personas, you can define the customer journey for each persona. Look at where the opportunities are, and where customer expectations are not being met. Then recommend some quick and easy actions for getting traction, along with more in-depth initiatives that will take more tech cycles. One easy fix might be to add a post engagement experience with your brand if you don’t already have one, like a follow-up email or customer survey to gain input and increase loyalty. Heathrow airport implemented a unique way for customers to leave their feedback that is tailored to the customer experience.

Employ customer metrics

Make sure you employ customer metrics across each stage of the customer journey to measure the impact of each initiative that you launch. As Peter Drucker says, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Traill suggested that our Incubator’s entrepreneurs use customer insight to drive innovation, and not to be afraid to have fun connecting with customers and making their business more customer centric. Check out a video of Kirsty’s talk here. If you’re an entrepreneur with an idea to leverage financial transaction data, applications for our next cohort are now open. You can learn more here. Start the application on our F6S page HERE. Applications for Cohort 4 to be submitted by August 31st, 2017 deadline extended to Friday, September 8th, 2017.

1 Source: The State Of Customer Experience Management, 2013
2 Source: The Customer Experience Index 2014, Forrester Report, 2014