Customer Data, Customer Experience

Customer Centricity vs. Customer Experience: Understanding the Difference

While the two terms sound similar at first glance, there’s a nuanced – but critical - difference between them. Both put the customer at the center. But one is the result of the other. In other words, it’s hard to achieve world-class customer experience without first being a customer-centric organization.

Customer centricity must be embedded in the way you do business

Customer centricity is a way of doing business that fosters exceptional customer experience at every stage of the customer journey. A customer-centric organization results in one that builds customer loyalty and satisfaction which leads to referrals for more customers. And this impacts the bottom-line, because loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, and it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. In other words, a customer-centric organization is more profitable in the long run.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you have a customer-centric organization because you have a highly-rated customer service department – that’s a good start - but there’s more. In order to be successful, it requires that all areas of the business -- even those not traditionally customer-facing -- commit to prioritizing the customer. Customer centricity means that your organization:

  • recognizes that each customer is unique and has different behaviors and preferences.
  • focuses on the needs and wants of customers when planning and executing every campaign.
  • connects with customers and builds long-lasting relationships based on everything you know about them.

Customer centricity means that every time you make a business decision – whether it be a tactical or strategic decision – you should do so considering the effect that decision will have on your customers.

Customer experience is the result of your customer-centric efforts

Customer experience, also known as CX, is your customers’ holistic perception of all their interactions with your business or brand – from product consideration and research to product delivery and follow-up. Customer experience is the sum of all experiences your customer has with your brand, over the duration of their relationship with that you. In fact, it’s the result of all your efforts as a customer-centric organization.

Why is CX so important today? Technology and the transparency that comes with it has resulted in higher customer expectations. For consumers today, buying is an experience, not just a transaction, and as they look for innovative experiences from the brands with whom they do business, those businesses must find ways to deliver the personalized and contextualized experiences that customers expect.

The benefits of delivering great CX include:

  • increased customer satisfaction
  • increased customer loyalty
  • more positive reviews, referrals, and word-of-mouth marketing.

And of course, all of these things result in improvement to the bottom line.

How to create customer centricity in your organization

While implementing a customer-centric strategy may seem like a no-brainer, becoming truly customer-centric requires time, effort, and resources. A worthwhile customer centricity strategy should plan for the future while not sacrificing short term results, and seamlessly move all areas of the organization from a legacy approach.

Download Now: How to Build a Customer Centricity Strategy for Retail

In our recent research study on customer centricity, we found that successful organizations focused on four organizational cornerstones – data, people, technology, and culture – in order to bring about a customer-centric approach.

This means starting down the path of customer centricity by getting to know your customers by collecting relevant data on them and producing actionable, reliable analytics. Next, consider appointing a single person or persons to lead coordinated, cross-team efforts to establish a customer-centric strategy within your organization, instead of the historical (and often uncoordinated) method of splitting customer knowledge between disparate departments. Then, implement the right technology necessary to analyze the customer data and to be able to fully and flexibly act upon it. Finally, get organizational buy-in and evangelize a customer-centric culture across your organization.

The bottom line

While the concepts of customer centricity and customer experience relate to and impact each other, they are not one in the same. Although some teams within an organization might be tasked with improving the customer experience, customer centricity needs to be a company-wide initiative so that it is incorporated throughout the entire business and reflected to customers. It’s not enough to simply worry about CX; being a customer-centric business should actually result in a better customer experience.

Are you struggling to shift your organization to a customer-centric approach to achieve world-class CX? Reach out to us today to learn how QuickPivot’s customer data platform and services team can set you down the right path.

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