Today, most companies are aiming to be more customer centric. It has become clear for management teams all over the world that in constantly evolving markets, customer centrism is the key to business success.
But what does it really mean to be customer centric? The typical answer might be basing business decisions at least partly on insights gathered from one’s customer base or from a market of potential customers. At Augur we believe very strongly in being customer centric, so we love businesses that are on that path. But we also know that being truly customer centric takes a lot of effort.
A first step on the path to true customer centrism is to challenge the whole traditional concept of what a customer is. Logically, many businesses consider the people who make up the customer base to be mainly that: customers. In reality few people actually think of themselves as customers.
In fact – and to no surprise – people are humans. With all the richness of psychology, culture and everyday life activities it means to be a human.
Yes, people act as customers in a number of situations across their daily lives, but even when acting as customers they are so much more than just customers on a certain market or in a specific category of products. In fact – and to no surprise – people are humans. With all the richness of psychology, culture and everyday life activities it means to be a human. And the short moment in which they are your actual customer is part of a much bigger contextual web than most businesses normally take into account.
At Augur we understand all this richness and complexity it means to be human. That means we also know that a business that stops its analysis at the concept of a customer, rather than taking customer insight all the way to the larger human context, will never become truly customer centric. On the other hand, the business that is able to perceive and understand the human behind the customer is also the business that will be able to cater to their customers in the best way; providing great customer experiences and being innovative in the most relevant ways.
It’s in the depths of human needs, drivers, wishes and dreams, challenges, daily activities, social interactions and cultural contexts that the truly actionable insights and ideas are found.
And it’s here we always start any form of business thinking and business design. This is where truly actionable insights and ideas are found. It’s in the depths of human needs, drivers, wishes and dreams, challenges, daily activities, social interactions and cultural contexts that the truly actionable insights and ideas are found.
To excel in customer-centrism, any organization must develop strategies for bringing humans (not customers) into their operational model. A first superficial layer is of course to look at customer and market data. But data in itself is mostly useless. Thorough analysis is what turns data into actionable insights. Thorough analysis, however, requires contextual data and deep understanding. And where is that found if not in the everyday realities of human life.
A simple example: Your data might reveal that people leave the customer journey at touchpoint X. That’s a good starting point. But to understand why it happens at that very touchpoint requires further analysis. Now, this analysis might provide you with several potential reasons to why, and in order to understand which of those reasons are the most critical to address, additional analysis is likely needed.
And this requires moving away from the isolated customer journey, and instead focus on the experiences of being a human. This means understanding what the key obstacles are in the wider human context. Because we argue that it’s only once you begin to see the human drama behind an interrupted customer journey that relevant ideas of how to resolve the issue start seeping into your mind.
Truly customer-centric businesses are always empathizing with the customer, looking at the customer experience from a human point of view, doing its best to optimize for humans.
This means that truly customer-centric businesses are always empathizing with the customer, looking at the customer experience from a human point of view, doing its best to optimize for humans. To become truly customer centric, a mindset of understanding and acting on human perspectives needs to be built into all parts of the operating model.
Yes, we too use the concept of customer experiences (CX) and work with our clients to design great customer experiences.
We push our clients towards real customer centrism: By developing and designing for the real human being that is at the heart of every single customer.
But our true mindset is to understand customer experiences as part of much more complex human experiences (HX) and then design solutions for improving the human (rather than the customer) experience. That is how we push our clients towards real customer centrism: By developing and designing for the real human being that is at the heart of every single customer.
Take a look at our case studies to learn more how we design for the real human being.