Customer Centric Management in online business models

Written by Luis Hergueta for Buljan & Partners Consulting

Today, we are facing a mindset change from offline business models to offline-online combined business models. It is combined because online business models often start with the website and social media and forget about all the rest.

To consider the importance of an online business model is that B2C, B2C etc, process are changing: time and distance barriers are modified through DSL contact. But online processes have an impact on the offline one and for those used to the traditional offline processes this is frequently an issue. Many traditional business models are no longer active since they have been replaced by trendy models. So it is important to change minds and again, see the whole from our customer’s perspective: through Customer Experience Management.

Clients experience similar feelings they have always have before but this time through a screen, mouse or keyboard besides the more “traditional” telephone, mail or direct physical interaction. To express this, here is my example: if customers would traditionally (and they still do) shop in a centric shop where everything looks clean, organized, attractive and it is easy to pay, customers still require this from online shopping: nice designed online shops and the key to success, real interesting content. It makes no sense to have design if you do not find in a website what you are looking for: a specific type of product or the enough range of variety which makes sense in every business model.

And here is a question everyone should ask him / herself. Have you ever experienced what your customer does through the whole interaction lifecycle with your company?

Frequently touch points such as delivery or after sales must also be “exceeding expectations”. It makes no sense to focus all impact in acquisition if you spoil all your efforts afterwards by delivering bad service or mediocre delivery time management.

Additionally, competition is concentrating intensively in online trends. So what makes sense? Companies should be aware of a also traditional concept valid for online business models: added value for customers. Is that you are offering something the customer is willing to pay for? Why would a customer leave your website and search in another one? Just as soon as he / she finds another which suits better his /her needs.

Another key point in the customer interaction road is a real integration of departmental objectives. Having a focus on the customer on all of them and have a true coordination to deliver what it was promised by the one or the other department requires consolidated customer centric management through leadership.

And what are the current tendencies?

  • Listen to and interact with your customer: include elements of interaction in your online platforms such as call to action, contact and keep in touch forms, comment section, social networking.
  • Keep visual. Could you image to be reading a brochure every time you would enter to a shop? Same happens to a customer, thus, customers are increasing the amount of minutes visualizing streaming or preloaded video websites. This is also enabled by the development of streaming technologies and optimized cloud solutions. Let’s take advantage of this.
  • Keep friendly and polite. The internet is meeting increasingly relationship behaviors which mean that trust to concrete profiles and company trademarks are more valuable than ever. Why would a customer trust coming to your website again? Because he /she found what he /she was looking for and even more than expected and in a pleasant manner.

So how to transform the path to online and offline coordination?

  • Analyze the real value of being or not being on online platforms.
  • Check who is willing to take part in your adventure and do not hesitate to train and / or communicate the benefits of new changes to your partners, employees and rest of stakeholders.
  • Coordinate objectives, stakeholders, efforts and time in one direction: people. Customers and employees must see the real added value in online model changes.
  • Set up KPIs. Key performance indicators which must include not only internal processes but more important touch points which are valued by your customers.
  •  And most important, be yourself (differentiate). As a traditional strategy concept, differentiation in online channels is highly relevant since one might be chance of a business model to loyalty.

 

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