At the heart of any genuinely customer centric organisation is a strong conviction that they will win if the customer wins. This is more than a marketing strategy or even a business priority. Customer-centricity is a passion, a fuel that drives decisions and guides actions.
A great example of this is the Virgin brand, driven by the passion of its founder Richard Branson. In a great blog post, Branson talks about why Virgin Atlantic, then Virgin Blue and ultimately Virgin America were founded. They were founded by frustration with the customer experience, and a strong vision for creating a better way. Winning was about much more than profit – winning was measured by whether the customers won; be it through better options, lower prices or more fun.
The post is well worth a few minutes of your time. All sports organisations who realise their future success is linked to creating genuinely relevant and valuable experiences for their customers will get something from it. But for those who don’t have the time just now, here are three thoughts to consider.
You can’t be a bit customer centric, go all in or find another way to compete
Delivering truly valuable customer experiences requires a strong conviction to get you through the inevitable road blocks. After all, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it (and as consumers, we know they don’t!). Branson says: “The commitment to create a truly guest-focused airline and the dedication and will to make it happen – through some of the most challenging economic times and anti-competitive obstacles – has resulted in a financially successful business that achieved record profits last year. But the real winner is the customer. Today, the flying public has lower fares and better options.”
Conviction attracts the best talent
Conviction about what an organisation stands for, and against, and the impact it has on customers is attractive to people that want to make a difference in the world. This conviction will also maintain an internal culture that empowers people to make a real difference for customers. In talking about Virgin’s own conviction, Branson says: “The brand’s mission attracted truly exceptional people who refused to create a boring airline. That took a lot of hard work and commitment from Virgin America’s teammates.”
See the customer experience through the customer’s eyes
It’s easy to focus on doing things because they’ve always been done that way, or even because at one time they delivered a great experience. But to remain customer centric, organisations need to regularly challenge what they do, why they do it and the resulting impact it has on customers. Success comes from giving more customers an experience they want to repeat and recommend to their friends. Branson reflects that “The airline has also done something almost inconceivable in the airline industry: Virgin America won the hearts and fierce loyalty of consumers around the country. People love this airline.”Flying is no longer a dreaded chore: it is something to look forward to.”
What aspects of your customer experience do people love?