Helping customers be more successful is no longer a differentiating factor for companies. It is now expected, according to Grant Thornton’s CEO Views newsletter.
“The traditional “boundaries” between companies and their customers are slowly but surely disappearing. Suppliers and customers are now part of an extended enterprise,” says Nitin Bhatt, business advisory services senior manager with Grant Thornton’s Los Angeles office.
“The success of one impacts the success of the other, and vice-versa. Indeed, high performing companies differentiate themselves by helping their customers succeed.”
The realm of customer service today extends well beyond the goods or services purchased. Developing this understanding and designing innovative solutions on a proactive basis are now expected to be a part of what companies offer to their customers.
In light of today’s “e-enabled” marketplace, Bhatt notes that the following should be incorporated into a comprehensive customer solution.
- It is more important today to not just satisfy customers, but to understand and far exceed their expectations by providing a trusted, advisory experience that is proactive and relationship based.
- Building a relationship involves getting to know the customer’s habits and preferences and measuring one’s performance against mutually established and agreed-upon metrics.
- More importantly, it involves a cultural shift that promotes thinking on behalf of the customer regarding how those habits and preferences could and should change over time, and offering flexible strategies and solutions in response to those new preferences and market realities.
- Finally, business leaders should review their operational processes and technology infrastructures to ensure that their company’s back office aligns well with their customer-facing strategies.