Customer centricity is easily talked about, but rarely achieved. Kantar’s CX transformation practice leader explains why
Empowerment of customers has required almost every business to transform, whether they know it or not, and customer journeys need to be ex-examined if true CX transformation is to be achieved.
So says Stefan Schmelcher, Kantar’s global director of customer experience transformation, who caught up with CMO during a recent visit to Australia from Germany. The global expert and thought leader advises on customer experience (CX), and says customer centricity is easily talked about, but rarely achieved.
Thanks to the digital revolution, the way customers behave has changed. Consumers are much more empowered when it comes to purchasing, and before customers have even thought about a brand, they are already informed about what they want.
“Kantar recently did a survey of millennials, and more than 70 per cent said they would prefer to spend money on experiences, rather than material things,” Schmelcher told CMO.
In addition, a recently undertaken pilot study on CX in the UK around retail banking found 91 per cent of CEOs believe customer centricity is absolutely crucial for the success of a business. However, only 19 per cent of customers in retail banking rate their brands as customer-centric. It’s this gap which is the growing problem, Schmelcher said.
“As companies, we have a lot less control over consumers. In addition, customers want to have experiences and events, rather than a product and features. That means we have to change to better understand customers and understand the increasingly complex customer journey,” he said.
“As a consequence, every business finds itself in transformation. Some have recognised this need and have been very proactive, others are more reactive when their business is placed under pressure, and some companies don’t even know yet they have to transform.”
Schmelcher reiterated customer centricity is easily talked about but very rarely achieved. While many companies create customer journey maps, for example, they tend to feature how a company would like the customer to go through their journeys, rather than what the customers would actually like.
This is not because companies haven’t asked customers, it’s because of the traditional ways companies are managed, he claimed.
“Many are not prepared for a customer that makes a completely different decision in a different way,” Schmelcher continued. “Say you’re looking for something online, but you want to touch it before you buy it. You go into a store, but you don’t have the intention to buy there. In the store, however, they’re incentivised by sales, but you have more customers just wanting to touch before buying online.
“So you have the store, which recognises this and doesn’t treat these customers very well, and as a result the customer ends up buying a different brand altogether.