In this ProductTank Birmingham talk, Amon Kiplagat, Founder and CEO at Hyve, discusses how product managers can engage with customers and build better relationships by adopting a customer-centric mindset. His key points include:
- Turning happy customers into engaged advocates
- What is customer-centricity?
- What it means to be customer-centric
- Strategies to be more customer-centric
Watch the video to see his talk in full or read on for an overview of his key points.
Turning happy customers into engaged advocates
Amon begins by explaining some of the work that they do at Hyve. While most brands focus on the detractors, trying to convince them to rejoin, few do anything with promoters. At Hyve, their goal is to help brands turn promoters into advocates.
Achieving this requires companies to shift from transactional and rational thinking that focuses on transactions, loyalty points, and rewards, to more relational and emotional thinking that focuses on community collaboration, trust, and authenticity.
What is customer-centricity?
Customer centricity is a strategy that aligns a company’s product development around the current and future needs of a select set of customers to maximize long-term mutually beneficial value to both the customer and the company. As an organizational mindset, customer-centricity places customers rather than product or sales at the center of the business, and all team members focus their efforts on solving customer problems.
Customer centricity is when every person within the entire organization thinks about how their actions and decisions will affect the customer experience.
What it means to be customer-centric
Customer-centric vs customer service
As a product manager, it’s important to know the differences between a customer-centric company and one that just focuses on customer service. In a customer-centric company, the focus is on the customer’s experience, and it is the entire organization’s responsibility. They consider the entire customer journey and employ a strategic approach to delighting customers. Customer service, on the other hand, is seen as the responsibility of only customer-facing employees. It’s a reactive measure that is focused on specific moments or customer touchpoints.
Customer-centric vs product-centric
Similarly, understanding what it means to be customer-centric vs product-centric is also essential. A product-centric company focuses on creating the best product for the customer that can produce a profit. New product development and market share are also significant. In a customer-centric company, the focus is on creating the best solution for the customer, customer relations management, and solutions development.
When customers are treated well, they can become advocates. These advocates can be separated into different categories, educators, validators, status seekers, and collaborators. As product managers, it’s important to seek out these advocates consistently because they can help spread the news of your product through word of mouth. Product managers can also focus on making it easy for them, making them feel special, and fostering relationships in order to drive customer advocacy.
Strategies to be more customer-centric
There are four areas Amot highlights that product managers can tap into to be more customer-centric:
- Mindset: Own an advocate customer journey model and use it to prioritize customer motivations and needs at all stages of planning and execution.
- Emotion: Engage customers emotionally to ensure they become loyal advocates rather than only thinking analytically.
- Team: Teams should be cross-functional. While a typical team will include a product manager, product owner, scrum master, QA engineer, and others, you should foster diversity, novelty, curiosity, perspective, and authenticity by giving everyone a voice.
- Process: Following the principles of agile software development can help teams be more customer-centric.
- Customer Insight: Data and voice of the customer will never give you the complete picture. The truth will lie somewhere in between and will require intuition.
How to get the most from one on one customer chats
Amon advises product managers to figure out what you don’t know about your customers and decide what counts when asking your customers what they want. Ask questions so you can figure out what’s going on in their minds and treat them like a friend and take the opportunity to get to know more about them beyond your product.
The key takeaways to being more customer-centric are to know your customers, solve a problem, be consistent, and measure your results.
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