You’ve got to look to the top. Are they really customer-centric? The other day I saw a client’s CEO walk down the aisle of an airplane shaking people’s hands, thanking them for being on the plane because he was on the plane. I also saw that same CEO talking to employees and they thought he was a rock star.
Julio Hernandez is Principal and Customer Advisory Leader at KPMG, the fastest growing Big Four accounting firm. In this role, Hernandez focuses on helping clients engage the marketplace while attracting, converting and keeping customers to fuel profitable growth. He also works with clients to help them design and deliver relevant customer-centric experiences that result in sustainable customer relationships.
Hernandez has worked with clients across the globe including North America, Europe and Asia and has multiple patents and patents pending for customer experience and analytics.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Hernandez shares his thoughts on how companies can focus on a customer-centric approach to drive growth, loyalty, and engagement.
Great Customer Expectations (1:05)
Customer experience is really the new battleground for our clients.
The ever evolving landscape of customer experience has one thing in common: customers are in the driver’s seat. How a brand engages with them matters today, yesterday and tomorrow. As marketers look to execute customer-centric experiences, it’s mandatory for them to recognize customers have a variety of experiences with a variety of brands in a variety of industries.
When one brand creates an outstanding experience, the customer’s bar is set and it’s ubiquitous—the new norm. If a brand can’t keep up with this expectation, then the customer moves on. This is why marketers are “having a hard time keeping up and understanding where to make the investments,” Hernandez says.
Me, My Life, My Wallet (2:00)
We like to say a little bit of millennial is in all of us. We have that iPhone and our attention span is changing; it’s becoming shorter and shorter and shorter. It’s absolutely making an impact on the consumer.
Customers are multidimensional. It’s imperative that brands meet customers where they are, with what they want and how they want it. The KPMG study, Me, my life, my wallet, explores the key drivers behind behavior and choices, and how those factors will change as the customer of tomorrow emerges. KPMG found there are different ways to reach different generations, meaning brands have to catch their consumer’s attention quickly.
According to Hernandez, “When we talk about a customer experience, digital’s a big part of it. But you also have the analog world and you need to bring these things together.”
Due to the impact of Covid-19 on customer behavior, brands need to invest in evaluating their customer’s needs and preferences “while refining how and where these needs are met and served in a way that makes economic sense for the enterprise.”
Chief Customer Officer (3:43)
Sometimes you hear them called Chief Customer Officers, Chief Experience Officers, sometimes even CMO who takes on that role. Really what they’re trying to do is give the customer a seat at the table.
Companies have shifted their focus from an inside-out centric approach to a customer-based approach. They identified a need to understand who was buying their product which has led to the creation of a new job: the Chief Customer Officer. According to the Chief Customer Officer Council, the role of the CCO is to solve lasting customer problems, build a long-term competitive advantage, retain loyal customers, and create a strategy to help increase customer profit.
Additionally, companies are competing on the customer experience and need to align their organization with the customer so they know how to execute it. That requires a high level of coordination. As Hernandez says, “It’s very much an influence job, and it’s a tough job, but it’s a required job and a needed job.”
The Customer-Centric Experience (4:59)
You’ll hear a company say they need to deliver a great customer experience. I need to wow my customers. I think you have to deliver the right customer experience. You have to set the expectations, you need to manage the expectations, and then you deliver on the promise that you made.
The KPMG Six Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence feature the six things companies should focus on to deliver excellent customer experiences. Focusing on those six pillars empowers companies to “endear more repeat business, more loyalty, and sometimes even more advocacy and that’s really good for the business,” says Hernandez.
This is especially true during the pandemic. In fact, KPMG found “that leading companies are the ones most able to continue interacting with their customers in spite of Covid-19.” With the forced move to online and digital experiences, costs have increased for companies to implement and strengthen their technologies that deliver a great customer-centric experience.
A recent report from Forrester Research found that companies which fail to adopt customer-centric marketing will be left behind. Those that have done it well have taken different steps to improve the customer experience in order to deliver an intentionally designed experience that will foster both customer engagement and loyalty.
The Five W’s (8:40)
What’s their motivation? How do I connect with them? How do I grab their attention? What do they have in their wallet? And how do they value their time? A combination of all of those is a great way to understand who the customer is and then design experiences that make sense.
The top consumer-centric companies have turned their gaze inward to realign their work to serve the customer. “We’ve got to do right by our customers,” Hernandez says. “We’ve got to do right by our employees. And we’ve got to deliver on the promise that we made to the customer into the marketplace.”
Starting from the C-Suite, the company’s mentality has to be one of serving the customer, not the corporate office. Each of the top consumer-centric companies, according to a KPMG 2020 study, is founded on “understanding their customers’ circumstances and acting in their customers’ best interests,” along with their attitude toward both customers and employees.
This episode of Velocitize Talks was originally recorded in 2019 in NYC. It has been updated accordingly.