What is a customer focus strategy?

Top brands like Apple, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Costco (just to name a few) hyper-focus on customer experience. 

Shouldn’t you?

How do you get this competitive advantage?

It’s time to change your perspective. Put customer satisfaction first. Examine your products/services from the customer’s viewpoint. Take a few steps on your own customer journey.

Don’t just learn to address customer needs. Learn what it feels like to have those needs met by your company. Show you truly “get it” and exceed customer expectations. Satisfied customers mean more referrals, a better brand reputation, and repeat sales.

5-steps for a customer-focused strategy

1. Collect and unify your customer feedback

Most companies have plenty of customer information. However, problems can arise if your customer data is siloed across multiple teams and systems. Before you can create a customer-focused organization, you need to get your entire frontline staff on the same page (e.g. the same CRM).

For smooth customer journeys, choose a unified CRM that eliminates departmental data silos. For example, would your sales team benefit from the customer data and feedback stored on your marketing team’s email campaign platform? Would integrating all your customer information help these salespeople personalize their efforts and manage common objections?

Most of all, you need to spend time with your customer feedback. such as the ratio of positive to negative terms in reviews and comments. Be sure to read customer feedback in context. Purchases are emotional decisions. Learn how it feels to go on your company’s customer journey, and share these perspectives with your teams.

2. Study and streamline your touch points

Spend time to scrutinize customer feedback at each step of the customer journey. Use a single-customer-view approach and watch how customers develop individual relationships with your brand. Identify your most popular and productive routes to brand trust. Invest in those proven paths to decrease conversion costs and increase sales.

When compiling a comprehensive list of touch points, organize them in phases. Many touch points occur before the prospect is identified. You probably generate traffic with SEO blogs, social media ads, and search engine ads. Your company may also run print and outdoor ad campaigns. And don’t forget other touch points like events, gift cards, and customer referrals. 

During the sales process, customers consume reviews of your product/service in various forums. Point-of-sale blurbs/brochures can also count as touch points. Of course, your sales process, whether in person or online, must be frictionless and frustration-free.

After the sale, your touch points probably include satisfaction surveys, email lists, reviews, and comments. Of course, many people will continue to touch base with your brand via your social media communities. And remember, billing and shipping touch points matter to customers, as well.

Develop a business model that nurtures customer loyalty after the sale. Asking for feedback builds engagement and allows you to compute important metrics like stickiness, CSAT, Net Promoter Score (NPS) and more. Reduce churn and increase customer retention by showing you care about customer success, even after you’ve scored a sale.

3. Analyze and visualize your customer journey

Study your touchpoint data to anticipate customer needs and eliminate frustrations.

In this popular case study, a Norwegian research team analyzed customer journey touch points. They identified four common problems:

  • Timing Errors – Your customer journey needs to make logical sense. This could look like a sales page link that happens too early in an email campaign, making people think you’re going to the hard sell rather than a micro-yes (e.g. download an eBook, check out a blog post). Worse yet, it could be a gaff like asking customers to log into a product before providing a code or registering their credentials.
  • Ad Hoc Touch Points – Sometimes, unexpected and unplanned customer interactions happen. For example, when timing errors occur, customers (we hope!) will contact your support team. This can be an opportunity to build trust or further weaken customer relationships. Ad hoc touch points also include customer interactions with your accounting and logistics teams while untangling paperwork snafus.
  • Failed Touch Points – Broken links, of course, diminish brand trust and increase bounce rates. Failed integrations between your ad platform, your website, and your point-of-sale software do the same. However, humans make mistakes, too. Late follow-ups, redundant/spammy sales calls, and other gaffs also lead to walk-aways.
  • Missing Touch Points – A missing touch point could be as simple as a missing link or an incomplete email series. However, customers may be even more offended by missed meetings and ignored deadlines. These mistakes might be rare, but they can destroy brand trust. Demonstrate professionalism and due diligence to “walk the walk” of your customer-focused strategy across your entire organization.

Unify your data onto a platform with a comprehensive analysis suite. Visualizations matter, especially when sharing customer interaction and behavior insights with stakeholders. Use custom dashboards, graphs, and charts to tell customer stories and extract more value from your data. For example, you could track customer-focused KPIs like satisfaction scores to set team targets.

With the right CRM, it’s easier than ever to watch your customer relationships grow and mature.

4. Foster a customer-focused culture

Provide and track high-quality customer experiences across your entire organization.

To get started, define your vision of customer focus and share it with all stakeholders. It can help to follow Gulati and Oldroid’s four stages of the customer focus journey:

  1. Create a centralized customer data repository, such as a unified CRM. Standardize this touchpoint information and organize it by customer, not by product/service, sale, account, location, etc.
  2. Select a leader to own this project. This person will oversee the handoff of information from analysts to managers to marketers, to salespeople, etc. (A unified CRM makes this task simpler and easier than ever.)
  3. Experiment with interventions. Use your unified data system to analyze and predict behaviors. Test possible improvements to your customer journey with customers (and against a control group).
  4. Coordinate your efforts. With a good user experience system in place, let your teams care for your customers. For example, when a logistics team lead might notice a late shipment, she could identify the salesperson with the best relationship with this customer. Who else could best smooth over this mistake on your company’s behalf?

5. Resolve issues quickly

Customer focus means quick issue resolution. 

The logistic team leader from the previous example could use a unified CRM to update delivery schedules. She could reach out to your billing department for a revised quote. Her sales colleague could access this real-time customer relationship data and send out relevant customer service messages.

Of course, a solid software platform will help you catch your mistakes. Employ automated messaging and issue escalation features to alert stakeholders when teams take too long to resolve cases.

Align your teams with Insightly 

Insightly’s unified CRM gives you the tools you need to adopt a customer-focused approach.

It unites Marketing, Sales and Service teams into one tool. Then, you can easily integrate your other apps in your business with Insightly via AppConnect. You can quickly streamline your processes without writing a single line of code.  

Let Insightly’s unified approach give you the insights you need to improve customer focus and build stronger relationships.

 Get your free Insightly trial today.