And we shall begin with our “Thank You”, because our colleagues in social media found this blog post by our partners at PAYBACK. They wrote a very nice recap of Global Female Leaders 2017, and for our German-speaking guests, we invite you to check out their blog.
Of course, PAYBACK is one of Germany’s (and maybe the world’s?) biggest loyalty programme, gamifying shopping since the turn of the millennium. Customers can use their programme to collect points at the cash registers of over 650 companies, and later redeem them for vouchers, rewards, Lufthansa miles or even donat them for a good cause. With their business model PAYBACK really progressed the topic of customer-centric and personalised marketing, which is especially noteworthy since they are a German company. (German service has generally a very bad reputation.) This is why we were delighted to meet PAYBACK’s Daniela Horn, who is their Head of Digital Products, at Global Female Leaders 2017. She hosted an interesting Think Tank session on the topic of customer-centric thinking.
Customer-Centric Thinking matters. A lot.
Customer-Centric Thinking is one of these topics that are in the very centre of everything that touches today’s economy. You know the disruption that is caused by all these technology companies and start-ups that are basically nothing more than an app… but simultaneously worth trillions of dollars!
This is because they use big data. They use big data on customers and they use it right. To create products that deliver exactly what their customers want while also gathering more data about them that will again enhance their business models. The epitome of this is probably Google. Even when they started with their little search engine, they looked at what their competitors were doing and stripped everything down to what the users actually wanted: the search function.
To this day, the gist of customer-centricity hasn’t changed. The mantra is: develop your product around what the customer wants. And change up your business model if it doesn’t fit. This is exactly what Google has been doing for years and years now. They gather data on their customers and build new services around them; from local search to self-driving cars, the Play Store, Google Glass and Google Video. Widely popular services that…
Wait a minute! Google Glass and Google Video? Yes, you are right, these are definitely failed products. But failing is part of innovation, and Google failed over and over again with products they tried. But the ones that succeeded… may just disrupt the whole automotive industry for example. So a customer-centric and innovative mind-set matters. Because only the innovators, who are able and willing to change up their game will field the disruptive business models of the future.
Adopting a customer-centric mind-set
We want to look at these general rules of establishing a customer-centric mind-set, because many of the more traditional companies are having trouble to adapt to the new situation. And that is not surprising, even understandable, since before the internet became popular marketing, sales and distribution were very much focused on the companies themselves.
Today, though, everything a company does should be thought from the customer’s point of view.
This includes a wide list of topics, such as (for example)
- product design, the design of processes and also company policies
- cultivating a culture of positive communication and engagement with the customers as well as implementing a wide variety of easily accessible communication channels
- actively trying to understand and adapting to the wants and needs of the customers, using qualitative methods as well as data
- analysing what matters most to the customers and reacting accordingly
Every aspect of a company’s business has to be carefully examined and reshaped in a way that fits the customers’ needs. Not every customer’s needs though; it has to fit the customers of the specific company. You know the saying: a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. And this is why it *is* so important to know your specific customer base, especially your best ones. Because one can work from there.
Right now, our (comparatively small) company is in a similar boat. We are learning, failing, adapting while focusing on striking new paths with the possibilities digitisation is offering. It’s hard, and it entails a big cultural shift. But it is also worth it. This is why we were especially happy to hear from a company such as PAYBACK concerning this topic; and we hope you took with you some valuable knowledge, too!