You run into a friend on the street who asks “how’s business?” To answer that, you mentally run through your most recent KPIs, charting objectives achieved, increases in sales, that kind of thing. Unfortunately, these traditional benchmarks probably aren’t serving you very well. And the reason for that (if you haven’t been paying attention) is that the dynamics of business have changed radically.
Digital technology has offered customers a lot more influence over their entire purchasing experience and they have grabbed it with both hands. Overall, customers today are better educated and more market-savvy than ever. More than likely they have already done some comparison shopping before the come to you. They know what they want and they have access to the tools to help them find it.
This means that the customer is now paramount in your business planning. If they’re not, they should be. If your turnover has decreased and you are consistently failing to reach your KPI, there’s a good chance you’re not paying attention to your customer. It’s called Customer Centricity, and far from being just some new buzzword, it’s the principle around which you need to re-organize not only your KPIs, but your whole organisation.
A lot of traditional companies are having a very hard time making the shift. They still want to sell the cheapest possible product at the highest possible price, while customers want to pay the lowest price possible. How will YOU survive when your competition gives them the same thing you do for (practically) nothing? The simple answer is: you don’t. Running a product-driven enterprise is business suicide.
So, once you’ve faced up to the fact that we’re now operating in a customer-driven market, you have to ask yourself: how can you expect your employees to be 100% customer-driven if their performance and rewards are not connected in any way to the customer? Your KPIs now need to be about how happy your customers are, where they are shopping, what they are saying about you and your competitors. Your customer should be your biggest metric.
Listen to your customer. That may sound ridiculously simple, but it takes time, effort and commitment to develop strategies and practices that allow your employees to engage with and interact with your customers at every step of the experience. When we say “listen,” we’re not talking about endless questionnaires with 1-10 rating systems or Yes/No questions. If you ask visitors of your store to rate their shopping experience, and you get an answer of “8,” what does that tell you? Was it because of the nice clothes? The nice coworkers? You’ll most likely never know.
No, we’re talking about continuous, open feedback. A super example of this is Hello Customer’s ISAAC Feedback Analysis. ISAAC is an AI-based system that uses text analytics and natural language processing to detect certain elements in customer feedback (are the staff friendly, proactive, etc.). By continually evaluating this, you can track the evolution of the feedback and compare scores over time to measure your progress in incorporating your new KPIs.
By continually evaluating feedback presented in this way, you can track its evolution and compare trends over time to measure your progress in incorporating your new KPIs.