Focusing and organizing your company around the customer, not functions or products, is the only way to become truly customer-centric. While loyalty and rewards programs are a great tool to increase engagement, they are only one part of becoming customer-centric. Not only does David Norton’s The High Roller Experienceprovide a roadmap for building a strong loyalty program, it also shows how Harrah’s/Caesar’s casino group created a truly customer-centric company.
Put the customer at the center
By definition, to be customer-centric, you need to put the customer at the center of your company. The leadership of most businesses build their organization around product line, business unit, or geography, which makes it quite difficult to take a customer-centric approach to running the company. The customer becomes a by-product of the organization’s design rather than the core around which the company revolves. As Norton writes, “customer centricity means that the customer is the company’s and not an individual business unit’s. It is an ability to interact with the customer cohesively and consistently regardless of which business unit the customer is dealing with.”
You also need to put the customer at the center of your data. Norton writes, “being able to truly understand the customer and present relevant content at the right moment through the right channel is the holy grail for which companies should strive in order to engender deep loyalty from customers. Data and technology can enhance the customer experience while simultaneously driving incremental profits for the company. “
To achieve this convergence of data and technology, you should build cross-functional task forces that include analytics, technology and the various functions that interact with the customer. These teams can then derive how to understand the individual customer behavior and integrate the results at each touch point so the customer gets the optimal experience for them.
It is more than loyalty
Being customer-centric is much more than loyalty. While Norton created Total Rewards, Harrah’s incredibly successful loyalty program, he writes, “loyalty is about understanding your customers in detail and interacting with them in a highly personalized way at every point of contact with your brand.” Loyalty is about more than a rewards program where customers are fixated on point accumulation and the company is primarily concerned about the cost of contingent liability. It is about interacting with the customer across their entire journey, at every interaction with your company.
It cannot be product specific
As mentioned earlier, you cannot be customer centric if you are focused on product lines or types. You need to look at the customer across all of your products. This focus also then allows you to help the customer find the products and experiences that are most likely to resonate with them.
Looking at the customer across products also enhances the lifetime value of the customer to the company. If you set up your data and organization around the customer and not product, you can predict who of the low-value masses has the potential to shop across products, largely by looking at demographic and behavioral factors. You can then target these customers so as not to confuse the individual product positioning in mass advertising.
Put the customer at the center
With customer now expecting a personalized and great experience, and getting it from the top companies (Netflix, Amazon, etc), you need to move from a 20th century company to a customer centric company. Blow up your organization and structure it around the user. Build your analytics and business intelligence so it tracks the customer journey and allows you to touch every player individually the right way at the right time. When you build your company around the customer, you build it to succeed.
- Being a customer centric organization is much more than having a great loyalty program.
- You need to structure your organization around the customer, not along product lines or geography or channels.
- Your data also needs to be customer centric, understanding the customer at all points of their journey and ensuring that it then feeds this data back to given the customer the best personal experience for them.