Today, we see two paradigms in business: Inside-Out vs. Outside-In approach.
The Inside-Out approach is based on the idea that the capabilities of an organization will make it successful. Systems, tools, processes, and products are designed with the company in mind. Inside-Out organizations see the efficient use of resources and talent as the most important driver for shareholder value. They focus on the needs of the organization, and decisions are made based on what’s best for the company. The customer’s needs are not taken into consideration.
Instead, the Outside-In approach is based on the idea that that customer value is key to shareholder value. It is the result of listening to the customer, truly understanding their needs and helping them better than your competition. It involves looking at the organization with the eyes of a customer. Outside-In organizations firmly believe that if the customer isn’t happy, the business will suffer. And this will have a negative impact on shareholder value. Decisions are made based on customer’s needs and what’s best for them – not for the organization.
In true Outside-In companies, there are only two jobs: serve the customer, and serve those who serve the customer. Priorities need to change from cost first to customer consequences first. The Outside-In approach leads to good CX, which in turn leads to growth and revenue.
Creating a customer focused communication process
The overriding trend in customer experience is that the customer is in control. Too many companies make the mistake of thinking that their organization knows best instead of including the client as a part of decision making as this also involves customer interactions
when it comes to communications.
When thinking about creating a true outside-in customer communications approach, keep the following in mind:
1. Ownership of all communications by a cross-functional team
If no one is the owner of the communication, no one feels responsible for making the necessary improvements, and this can result in organizational silos with different systems that lack customer focus. Also, the customer insights you learn from the individual business process are not shared among teams. A cross-functional team has the advantage that you will get different viewpoints from people with a different background. This will help to get a holistic perspective of the client.
2. Listen to all key touch points
Listening will help you understand what your customers are trying to do. Find areas of improvement in your communications: how to make the content easier to read, how to improve layout, learn about personalization needs, learn about customer preferences and segmentation. Share this feedback internally and use it to make better decisions and to create the best experience for your clients.
3. Create a customer journey map and involve the customer in the process
Every part of your business affects the customer experience. Map customer journeys and ensure all employees have a right understanding how communications like proposals, contracts, and complaints all have a profound impact on the client’s experience. Include the customer in the communication processes to get their feedback. Ask for their feedback to help pinpoint actions to improve CX. You can do this by organizing (small) user communities or doing surveys.
4. Understand that customer preference is critical
Analyzing customer data gathered by the CCM platform gives you the information that allows you to maintain relevance in your communications. Relevance to your customer can mean the choice of channel, the frequency of contact, level of information required, and more. Build a customer profile with this data to personalize communications for even more relevance. Communication with customer preferences in mind helps you avoid spamming or creating “communication fatigue.”
5. Exceed the customer’s expectations at every interaction
When you design the new processes, you should exceed the status-quo. Most customers prefer to use a combination of channels. You should use the channel that best suits the message and is the most convenient for the customer, whether it is print, email, SMS, interactive web, push notification or another one of the growing number of diverse digital media channels.
6. Empower your business users
Business users are by default most directly involved with the customer. They hear feedback first-hand and will be a great source for new ideas about how to reduce customer effort in business communications. When business users are empowered to make changes to communications themselves, without IT involvement, changes will be done much faster.
Outside-in thinking is thinking that improves the customer experience and maximizes customer benefits while improving processes and systems that are troublesome for the customer. This will lead to fewer complaints, more repeat business, increased satisfaction and more customer loyalty. And eventually, this results in higher revenue for the business, reduced costs and ultimately increased shareholder value.
Curious about how making communication more relevant? Get more info about putting your customer first by creating a customer focused communication process in our customer experience white paper!
Read more about this subject in our CX White Paper.
Discover other ways to become customer centric in our blog ‘5 ways to become customer centric‘.