5 ways to make your business more customer-centric

Technology is shaking up how customer experiences are delivered, but as Steve Jobs once said, that shouldn’t be your starting point...

If you take a look on YouTube (once you’ve finished reading this blog, naturally), you can find a video from Apple’s 1997 developer conference. In the clip, Steve Jobs responds to a provocative audience question by outlining his approach to customer experience (CX).

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around,” he says.

This approach, which was the cornerstone of Apple’s success, still rings true today, according to Nathan Pearce of Capgemini.

Speaking at the SAP Hybris Live: Digital Summit this week, Pearce – SAP digital engagement lead at the firm – outlined five rules to follow to develop a more customer-centric business. Although the examples he used were drawn from the B2C world, the following are equally applicable to B2B marketing.

1. Really listen to your customers

There's a huge wealth of info out there about customers – not only on social media, but also in isolated silos. Companies need to bring all this data together, and understand it to form a comprehensive picture to enable them to become more customer-centric.

2. Start with interaction before you move on to the transaction

Customers need to be surprised and delighted with new ways of interacting before they're prepared to do business with you. Technology such as virtual and augmented reality will play its part in this - in both the consumer world (placing a sofa to see how it looks in your room, for example) and industry (used by technicians to work out complex repairs).

3. Remember that wearable tech will greatly expand customer insight

“The internet of things is going to be massive,” says Peace, citing four billion connected devices by 2020 generating $4 trillion in revenue. Wearable devices will go beyond fitness apps - they'll be used by hotels to allow entry to rooms or to make a payment.

4. Make the experience personalised

One consequence of having all this data will be the increasing need to drive personalised experiences for customers. Pearce cites the example of airport travellers – the excited family travelling once a year will need a different experience to the weary business traveller whose flight has just been delayed.

5. Prepare for the fact that keyboards will become redundant

Technology such as the voice-controlled Amazon Echo assistant, as well as the rise of AI-powered bots that assist customers with everything from ordering a pizza to providing a medical diagnosis, will become increasingly common and customers will become used to this keyboard-free experience.

How to achieve CX success in B2B

CX is something B2B brands can no longer afford to ignore. Successful CX is becoming a defining element of successful marketing. We surveyed B2B buyers and marketers to find out exactly when CX matters most, and where your focus should be.
    

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CXcellence: How to achieve CX success in B2B