A Customer-Centric Enterprise (CCE) is an organisation that has resolved to do business from the customers’ perspective. In this kind of organisation, profit is not their main motive for establishing a business, they first resolve to satisfy customers’ needs which will, in turn, generate profits more than they expected. That is why CRM scholars have agreed that itis ten times better to do business from the customers’ perspective than from a product perspective.
In the word of the Gartner group, they define CRM as an enterprise-wide business strategy designed to optimize profitability revenue and customer satisfaction by organizing the enterprise around customer segments, fostering customer satisfying behaviours and linking processes from customers through suppliers.
In evolving into a customer-centric enterprise, an organisation tries to foster customer behaviours and they also develop business processes that will allow the organisation to do business from a customer perspective. Apart from that, they have to come up with technologies that will allow customers to have a total experience irrespective of the channel that they are using to communicate with the organization.
Evolution of Customer-Centric Enterprise
1. Product Focused Enterprise
This is the default for many organizations. This is so because the primary purpose of any organization is to make a profit. At this level, all that the organization is concerned with is, how they can increase productivity. The organization here honour their staff based on the volume of sales they were able to make in a given year. You should know that product focused enterprise have much information about their customers but the information is not structured in a way that can be used to satisfy customers needs.
2. Customer Focused Enterprise
When an organisation begins with a product centric-vision, situation at times will force them to begin to reckon with their customers. they will now realize that they have to deal with arrays of customer issues which have much to do with the use of their products. The organization will now realize that if nothing is done about the complaints, it may force them out of business. This at times has forced many organizations to set up call centres in order to attend to customer issues and complaints. The main purpose of doing this was to maximize customer and employees satisfaction.
3. Customer Value Focused Enterprise
Under this, the organisation tries to minimize the amount being spent on customers that are not really adding value to the organisation. The organisation tries to concentrate on customers that have a larger wallet share with them. Take for example; MTN tries to come up with a programme that rewarded customers that load up to ten thousand naira airtime monthly The company knew that it will be very difficult for a poor man that could not afford to feed three square meal.
The main onus of this is to gather as much information as possible about the customers and to use that information in formulating strategies that will allow the organization to serve its customers in a dynamic way.
4. Customer Centric Enterprise
This is an organization that holds customers at the heart of its business. They see their customers as one of the stakeholders in the organization. In this kind of setting, all the policies and actions of the organization are geared towards customer satisfaction and making sure that the brand lives up to expectation.
It should be noted that the CRM initiatives of these enterprises can help reduce costs by encouraging customers to render service to each other in communities of interest, promote the enterprise to like-minded people known to them at low cost, seek redress willingly in the event of a shortcoming, be enterprising in taking up new products, and remain loyal for life.
Need For Customer Centricity
There is a need for organizations to operate from the customers’ perspective as this will help them to retain their customers for life. The only reason why profit is coming in the first place is that customers decided to remain with the organization. Once they decide to spend their money somewhere else, profit will cease.
One thing is that customers love to enjoy their liberty, if an organization gives them that, and surpass their expectation in terms of services, there is nothing that will make a customer in his right sense to lock somewhere else.
Mother thing is that if you are satisfying your customers in the right way, you will spend less on promotional offers and adverts as your satisfied customers will do the talking for you. There will be an opportunity to cross-sell as they will gladly accept your new products and offerings and introduce your products to others.
It has also been said that the best way for an organisation to go, is to operate from the customers’ perspective. Although this may not be profitable in the first place as you have to spend much in order to gain their trust. Once this is achieved, you can rest assured that you have had those customers for life.
Functions of Customer Centricity
We have all agreed that customer centricity is the act of doing business from the customers’ perspective. There is some basic function that customer centricity is meant to perform.
It is the function of customer centricity to increase the profitability of the organization. If customer-centricity is well managed, it will help the organisation to reduce their cost of production; once you are able to manage your customers, it will reduce the cost that you to spend on acquiring new customers. This will ultimately reduce overhead cost and will also increase the volume/number of your products that your customer uses.
Customer centricity will also increase the bond between you and your customers. It will help you to know the exact number of customers that you have. What are those things your customer need and you can provide those needs? You must be able to know what your customer wants and how to meet those needs. At times, you may need to know the network of people that your customer or prospect have before you can even think of the best way to serve them. Once you are meeting and exceeding their needs, you will be able to sustain the bond between you and your customers.
Customer centricity will also increase customers and employee satisfaction. If customers are not satisfied, they will spend their money elsewhere, this will ultimately lead to loss of jobs and once the money is being spent elsewhere, it will create tension in the mind of staff of your organisation. That is why you have to satisfy your customer so that your employees too will be happy That is why it is often said that employees’ satisfaction is customer satisfaction.
Customer Centricity: A Systematic Solution
Have you ever wondered why a computer system is called a system? It is a system because there are many components that come together before you can have what is called a system? It is a combination of many subsystems that form what is called a system. In a computer system, you have the application software like your MS Word, Microsoft Excel, Corel Draw, among others. We also have the keyboard, mouse, UPS among others.
You would have been wondering, how then can we relate a computer system to a customer-centric enterprise. Many organizations today in Nigeria have closed down because customers are no longer patronizing their organisation.
They have spent a lot of their hard-earned money on promotional offers such as: Be a millionaire promo, 180 cars in 180 days among others. This is not really necessary when you have a customer-centric enterprise in place. It is a policy that will allow you to do business from the customers’ perspective. You will have to consciously examine and discover some facts about your customers and you will use that knowledge to decide on what to produce, how to produce and for whom to produce.
We called customer-centric enterprise a system because it is a combination of many parts that come together to become one. You can leave one step aside and move to the other, and you are still expecting the same result.
You should know that in evolving into a customer-centric enterprise, you have to make up your mind that you want to operate from a customers’ perspective. This will be backed up with technology that is meant to ensure that your dream is realized. You need to practically learn how you can consciously satisfy your customers’ needs. This will help your business.
In this chapter, we have discovered that:
· A customer-centric enterprise is an organization that is doing business from the customers’ perspective.
· There are four evolutions of a customer-centric enterprise, which are: Product-Focused Enterprise, Customer Focused Enterprise, Customer Value Focused Enterprise and Customer-Centric Enterprise which has much to do with 36O view of customers.
· We have also observed that the customer-centric enterprise will help you to retain your customers for life. It will also ensure that both your customers and your staff derive maximum satisfaction.
1. Use the diagram in fig. 11 to discuss what CCE evolution is.
2. Do you agree that organisations should treat different customers differently?
3. Do you think that organizations should waste their time on non-profitable customers?
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