We have all seen lot of talk in past years on Mobile First Strategy or even Mobile only strategy! In fact we even saw one large e-commerce company making huge media blitz on ‘mobile only’ strategy and then realised “WTH” happened? Who came up with this ridicules idea. Roll it back now! Where is our website? Get it up and running NOW!” Really! Wasn't this in the making for several months? Didn't you plan a year ahead and spent few millions? And who are you calling names now? The CEO, the Board, the core team or the guy who was your blue eyed till last week and who you just fired? Isn’t the entire management team and board was involved in approval process?
This is why happens when a company unilaterally decides to goes one way or other without finding the right way. The right way is “Customer First” strategy! There are billions people online in this world and for a good company, they are all potential customer, they should come first. Hence it is not prudent for CEO/CMO to decide whom (customers) to include and whom to exclude or even how which customer to priorities for. However if one “Customer First” in mind, everything else can be built around them! Irrespective of the nature of business, “Customer first” it the strategy. “Customer First” keeps customer in centre and one can visualise everything around them, literally. If not, there is something wrong with the business as a whole. Let me try and break some myths here when applying “Customer First” strategy!
We are B2B: Great! Customers have customers!! If one knows it is awesome as one can target their customers! Not knowing customers’ customers is like chasing a ghost in the dark alley! As B2B business, the real job is to help the customers help their customers. So one has all the business to know about the end customer, keep in mind their “Customer First” while thinking about ‘what first’! Take example of Dupont! They have never made anything for consumers directly. However they have created great products that have helped their customer build lots & lots of consumer product. Remember Non Stick Cookware. Yes it was Dupont that invested Non Stick Chemical that was used by thousands of manufacturers around the world to make Non Stick Utensils! This tells how one has to think about “Customer First” as B2B (or in other words always think B2B2C).
We are an offline store!: So go online! Help customers discover your offline business by connecting with them online. Today many customers are using online info to buy things offline! So go and post all the information online that would make customer visit the store. Example, for offline grocery store, one can put the entire inventory online with its in-store location, price, quantity, new arrivals, offers etc. etc.. By providing the customer all the information online, before they visit the store, one can ensure that they straight walk first into the said store and know what to do quickly and efficiently. By providing all info online in an app, as it is already available in ERP/CRM or in the stores computer system, one is making the customers life easy! All it needs is an integration by IT department to put that information in a presentable manner to help customer discover what they need even before they enter the store. Now one is really thinking “Customer First” as it helps customer make informed decision in shorter duration and they may be spend more time looking at things that may not have been on their list! So for Offline business Going online is “Customer First” strategy! Mobile or a website is just touch points!
We want to but we don't know our customers: If one is thinking of “Customers First”, one has is to know them! By being online and helping them, one is creating reciprocal relationship. If the company is providing enough information for them to make an informed decision, they would not hesitate to provide more info on themselves. It is human nature to trust others when they are transparent and helpful. So one can ask them or ask their permission to collect information in return of more help. By employing data analysis, NLP and AI, one can easily build intelligence about each and every customer! The same intelligence can be used to provide more information to help customer in their decision making. However there are rules of engagement like only ask permission that is really needed and provide information on demand. DO NOT BOMBARD the customer with emails, text and all other kinds of notification. Treat them with respect and provide information when they engage online. For example, if a online user in on your website, say hello and wish them! Let them respond and ask for information instead of throwing unwanted call out! Or tell them about the new arrivals once they are in the mall/vicinity thru their favourite app (not necessarily yours) if one knows that the said customer is highly fashion conscious based on their past purchase. Yes I am suggesting use of Data Analyses to know the customers for putting “Customer First” strategy
My Customer doesn't respond to my communication: Of course the customers will avoid any attempt to connect online if they have not granted permission! As I said earlier, it is give and take relationship! One needs to provide useful, real-time and accurate information to gain trust and respect of a customer for providing access to their communication channel. Else it is like you trying to talk to girl on a street! Irrespective of the best of the pickup lines, the probability of rejection is almost 100%! In fact, chances that she getting offended is very high and same with the customer! The job here is to provide all information, in real time, online and accurate to create an environment of trust for them to come and fetch it! This is “Customer First “ strategy! The focus should be on understanding the need by interacting with the customer once they are visit the premise, physical or virtual. Next provide them value that they appreciate and they will open up and interact. After all who doesn't like talking to people who respect their privacy, provide product that have real value (not related to price or deep discount) and are always ready to listen.
Lastly, many of us build a business when they face a problem! It is always a good strategy but more than often, people starting off forget that they are the customers first! They deploy all their energy in building a solution form business point of view rather than solving problem as “Customer First”! So people, when one is starting up, the thought to always carry in front is that the “Customer First” is the best strategy and that customer is “YOU”! You are building this business to solve a problem that You faced and now you have all forgotten about the customer! So keep you as “Customer First” see that you are going deep in solving the problem in best possible ways and there are million who may be facing the same problem. Hence, this could become a big business! However, it is you who happens to solve that problem, so adapt “Customer First” strategy!