Article - Why a customer-centric mindset serves both people - and profitJul 15, 2022
READ: 1 min
AUTHOR: Janusz Stabik
Sam ‘Walmart’ Walton famously said, “There is only one boss; the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Profitable high-performing marketing agencies share Walton’s customer-centric mindset: they care about their clients.
Customer centric businesses also understand how connected customer experience (CX) is to growing revenues, improving efficiency and driving performance. Globally, 64% of executives who said CX is important to their organisation believe their company is more profitable than their competitors.
But great CX must consciously be placed at the core of your agency, because it won’t happen by coincidence.
Let’s dive into what this attitude looks like in real-world agency practice.
No Secret Agents
Until leaving Amazon last year, Jeff Bezos regularly visited its call centres to engage directly with customers.
But it’s very easy for agencies, in the digital sector particularly, to hide. Slack, email, Trello…there are multiple remote communication applications to enable us to uncouple from tangible client connection.
Break through these barriers with some back-to-basic actions to avoid anonymity:
- Get in front of your clients - offer free seminars, be a known face. And as well as anchoring your client to your agency this is a great mechanism for generating more leads.
- It’s not ‘old-school’ to take clients out for lunch: it’s an investment in nurturing a relationship that will benefit both sides.
- Pick up the phone: more direct, not only might you pick up on a client’s needs a lot more quickly, you’ll pick up on their personality - and they yours. And this professional warmth is important for true client intimacy and personalisation.
Focused on Feelings: from front-end to back-office
If your service is delivered to the brief and to the deadline, sometimes the client’s FEELING about that delivery is forgotten. But that feeling, the summative experience of the client’s journey working with your agency, is vital.
And it’s more than ‘customer satisfaction’: you’re aiming higher than that.
Your goal is to cultivate loyalty, advocacy and, yes, ENTHUSIASM for your brand, your service, your team.
Ask yourself: how can you make your client FEEL AMAZING?
The personal touch, as above, is one way the client-facing team members can deliver this for you— but truly embedded CX looks at the whole customer journey…how easy, even delightful, is it to engage with your agency in all aspects? Will clients speak of their experience warmly - actively promoting you to their peers?
The chances are that looking at your service delivery from a client’s perspective might result in changes to those aspects of the business they never see: operations, systems, back-end applications and processes.
This level of change won’t be quick, nor necessarily easy to implement, but the tweaks - or even upheavals - you make behind the scenes in consideration of CX will undoubtedly improve your agency’s efficiency: and pay dividends in profit.
New Disney employees are told on day one of their priority: create happiness. Whilst this might seem saccharine, it’s a strategy backed by results: the resorts boast a 71% return rate for first time guests.
Cultivating this level of loyalty is a lesson agencies can learn from: as one of the easiest ways to make consistent profit is to generate repeat custom and reduce churn (the proportion of loss of your customer base).
As acquiring new customers can cost up to five times more than retaining them and a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effects on profits as cutting costs by 10%, it’s no shock that companies with a higher retention rate grow faster.
If you’re having trouble ‘selling’ a new approach to CX to your team, these stats should help them buy in.
Reactive or ad hoc ‘niceness’ - a quick happy birthday email, a newsletter with a loyalty discount code or similar - gets you nowhere, not really. It’s the CX equivalent of a wilting bunch of service station flowers: with the recipient left bemused at best, a bit disappointed at worst.
Meaningful CX that creates impact in the way you really need requires strategy. What does a seamless customer experience look like in practical terms on a daily, weekly or monthly and annual basis?
Then what does that look like in terms of how you emotionally connect with your client base?
A planned and deliberate engagement feels like that to the recipient: thoughtful, not last minute. And therefore of value.
Invest In Account Management/Client Services
Whilst analysing metrics like churn rate or customer lifetime value (CLV) can paint a picture of the state of client happiness towards your agency, the single decision you can make NOW to align your agency’s internal culture of customer centricity to tangible action is to employ account managers. (They’re so important we have a whole blog on them here.)
Benefits of amazing AMs:
- They’re point-person for clients, a name to ask for and trust in
- They liaise between front and back end ops, avoiding silos and serving a smooth service delivery
- They implement, or even create, customer development strategy
- They’re empowered to up-sell, cross-sell, advise and seek referrals
Such was Bezos’ obsession with the customer journey that at every meeting in Amazon HQ he required an empty chair to be placed at the table … to represent the customers’ omnipresence. Whilst this might seem somewhat tokenistic, the act makes it impossible to forget that truly customer-centric businesses value the customer in every decision that they make.
If you’re questioning where your agency places the customer in its strategy and operations, GYDA can support you in finding the answers.