Customer care is a huge competitive advantage today. By focusing on optimised customer experiences, vital opportunities for innovation and profitable change will appear. While we are seeing that the vast majority of companies focus on innovation as a driver for business success, few businesses fully understand the importance of customer care skills when turning a profit and moving towards innovative solutions that benefit the customer.
Today, the main focus is on doing things differently, faster, and with higher quality to stay ahead in the business market. In part 1 of this mini-series, we outlined why customer care is so important and how to get the right information at the right time as part of building means for new innovation and market progression based on genuine customer needs and requirements. Ultimately, we disclosed that in order to make sure that you’re launching market desired products and services, you need to remember that:
Achieving superior innovation is about creating value where value is needed, developing a more substantial customer focus, and maximising customer care skills. Great value comes from inviting thorough customer involvement across value chains.
This article is part two in a three-part mini-series about developing superior customer care skills as part of a sophisticated innovation strategy. You can find part one of the series [here]. In this article, we will cover:
- Methods for bringing in the customer’s perspective
- Thinking differently – customer experience and measurement
Bringing in the Customer’s Perspective
Working with customer involvement is about targeting customer perspectives and impressions as a way of understanding what demands lie within the customer base of your industry. At WeZimplify, we are seeing indications of companies moving away from traditional approaches for collecting information about their customers towards approaching the business development process in a more agile way by applying many different methods.
As customer approaches and loyalty are changing, innovation needs to be a clear and key reason for working strategically with customer care skills, experience and involvement. Whether it’s through interviews, focus groups, co-creation workshops or something completely new, customer involvement is vital within your innovation processes to ensure eventual product launch success.
Next, a big part of bringing in the customer perspective is getting thoroughly acquainted with the customer journey. Working with customer focus is about understanding the customer’s experience from having a problem, which needs to be solved, to the customer starting to search for a solution (i.e. purchasing your product), and how the product is used to solve the problem. By applying this mindset, companies can naturally bring in the customer journey as part of their preliminary studies on innovation needs.
Customer Experience and Measurement
The businesses that are most successful in innovation and product launches are the ones that understand that innovative processes and customer journeys need to be aligned. In our line of business, we are seeing indications that the alignment between the different areas needs to be even stronger if companies want to succeed more with the products they’re creating.
Businesses need to develop their ability to think about customer involvement and innovation not just as an area of interest for sales and marketing, but also as professional knowledge to apply across the company and the value chain for companies to gain the most out of it. It also creates a need to use and react to data in the right way and in the right areas and functions, so the most value is ultimately created for the customer.
In terms of measurement, it’s important that any and all insights gathered from customers during the involvement stages and launches are analysed and verified to continuously improve the customer experience for the customers of tomorrow. Remember, you get what you measure, so make sure to identify all areas of improvement that need measurement so you’re not focusing on non-existent issues/opportunities, minor issues/opportunities, or only fragments of the overall issue/opportunity. If you’re measuring product quality, the results will be about that, and only that.
If you want to focus on innovation and customer experience, you need to measure the vital processes that make your innovations and superior customer experience possible (buying process, installer process, etc.) and not only the product itself.
- How Do You Measure the Customer Journey?
By leveraging meaningful tools to measure key engagement touchpoints between the buyer and supplier, your business can effectively monitor customer activity throughout the entire customer journey, making it possible to search for and identify essential pieces of information that benefit your innovation. This can be done in service opportunities and customer interviews, and by leveraging data and wins from your marketing and sales teams.
If you haven’t read the first part of this mini-series yet, make sure you pop over there now. The series consists of three parts, and this is part 2. Make sure you also have a look at the final part where we talk about breaking silos to benefit innovation and share our reflections on the findings from this series.
If you are part of a company looking to attain and leverage more data from your customers, we are here to help! On our website, you can easily reach out and set up a free demo of our feedback-centred software between businesses, customers and market experts.
We look forward to hearing from you!