Part 4: The Roadmap to Customer Centricity: Technology

Achieving customer centricity calls for an understanding of customer behavior, segmentation, and insights.  It requires an integration of departments, systems, processes, and channels among many other issues.  Consequently, technology becomes a critical component in a company becoming customer centric.  Technology in itself is not customer centricity, but it enables it as well as the effective management of customer experiences.
As indicated above, inherent to customer centricity are diverse components that often require innovative technology.  In this part of the ongoing series, I point out a few of these areas where technology can be used to maximize customer centricity.

  •    Designing and delivering excellent and differentiated customer experience: In this case, technologies like customer journey analytics can be adopted to measure how the organization is doing at delivering the customer experience.  Example of such technologies include 3D Journey Maps, which offer an in-depth understanding of customer journeys and then identify the most critical points and opportunities to the customer experience and bottom line.  Such technologies capture how customers are feeling and experiencing and using that information to design customer experiences. 
  •          Voice of the Customer:  Mobile and social technologies can also be used to find new ways to interact, engage, and support customers. While most companies can capture different aspects of the customer’s voice, from social media, traditional surveys or other platform – the integration of this data remains a challenge.  There isn’t a holistic view of the customer voice, but there is a need for technology that can do that.  If the truth be told, this is very difficult to achieve.  The best way to work around it is to implement technology that at least captures all customer voices leading to technology that can integrate many different platforms. 
  •   Data management:  Under this umbrella, organizations can use Customer Relationship (CRM) to understand customer segmentation and identification (i.e. focal customers and those who are not) and collect and analyze data.  Gaining in-depth customer insights and information will enable organizations to provide relevant customer experience and the right products and services.  Customer data analytics and future customer forecasting are central to customer centricity.  The right customer CRM technology provides more than mass marketing, promotions, and seasonal sales.  It is about strengthening relationships by understanding customer data. 
  •    Integration, Agility and Workflow:  Integration of different departments, channels, systems, and processes is an important part of customer centricity.  For example, collaboration across customer-facing teams, including access to and the sharing of information and resources becomes imperative.  This can only be attained through the implementation of effective technology.
Just as important is the organizations’ agility and workflow.  This speaks to the organization’s ability to deliver a customer centric experience at a speed that enables an organization to organize itself to meet the ever-changing customer needs and act on new opportunities as they arise.   To achieve this, an organization requires an agile decision-making frame supported by technology-enabled processes that integrate teams and deliver on the opportunities for real-time responses.  In addition, customer focused processes should be designed and developed on workflow principles. 
  •         Systems: Technology and systems work hand-in-hand. Systems must support the creation of great customer experiences, develop a single view of the customer, and allow for a deep customer understanding. For example, customer-facing systems should be managed effectively and help the organization deliver on the customer promise.  Customer systems address the level to which a product or service can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness and efficiency.  In a customer-centric business model this also implies that technology takes into account user experiences such as the users’ emotions, beliefs, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, etc., that occur before, during and after use. 
This is a wide step, and, for the purposes of this article, I will keep it short.  The main takeaway is: Technology is an integral part of furthering customer centricity and building the capabilities and structures for effective management.  The challenge that companies have is to ensure they create effective innovations/technologies that help solve customer management complex issues and create value going forward in an ever changing economy. 
Join me again in Part 5 as we continue on our journey: A Roadmap to Customer Centricity.

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Written by Dr. Mary Ritz:  International Trainer, Speaker, Author and Consultant