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Article CX Strategy

Even Your Technology Infrastucture Investments Should Be Customer Centric

Technology has great ROI potential for businesses.  

“With a return of $5.60 for every dollar spent, investing in CRM is a no-brainer. Further, that investment has significant staying power. As vendors add social, marketing, analytics, and mobile access capabilities to their offerings, organizations have an opportunity to gain even more returns from CRM” said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research, Nucleus Research.

With a ‘hit rate’ like 560% ROI, investments in technology infrastructure like CRM is a no brainer, right? I’ve come to realize that there’s more to it than that. The bar for competitiveness is constantly rising, with big data, customer insights, customer experience and technology all contributing to a much higher standard for a business to be a leader in its industry.

Technology is an Opportunity to be Customer Centric

I often speak about the big holes that can trap your team on the way to building a more customer centric business. A big part of becoming customer centric as a whole entity is to recognize just how company centric you are right now. That means seeing all the decisions that get made every day that are focused more on the company than the customer — and shouldn’t be.

Technology is a great example. I recently implemented a CRM in a 5th company that I’m working on a turnaround for. My first was when Salesforce.com was a startup in 2001 and I’ve consistently used CRM as a starting point tool for gathering customer data to feed key decisions for recovering struggling product lines and companies.

I made a mistake early on in my first two turnarounds -- and it took me a couple of iterations to realize the mistake. My starting point for CRM implemtation was solving the company's operational problems — sales costs, close rates, conversions, support costs to name a few. But eventually I realized that the key to any technology implementation (and with any key initiative) is to start from which of the customer’s problems to target first.

Customer centricity is efficient

The closer you get to the customer’s way of doing things, seeing things and valuing things — the faster you’ll affect sales costs and conversion rates.  So any focus you have on implementing technology should have a similar focus. Ultimately, everything you do as a business will be judged by the customer and you'll adjust when it doesn't hit the mark.  Where the inefficiency arises is multiple iterations simply because the customer perspective was ignored early on.

Customer Centric CRM

With CRM, my team’s focus eventually was shifted to defining how we would transform the buyers journey and the post sale customer journey. How would this deeper access to data and analytics help customers to buy, use and repeat buy our products? How would it help them to be more satisfied and need less support?

Those questions connected directly to the internal operations challenges that I was targeting before with CRM but now there was a customer centric prioritization. The investment and the selection of the right solution was more customer centric — avoiding yet another company centric hole that could have trapped my companies and yours along the way to become more competitive through customer centricity.

Jun 4, 2015  
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