The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate the concept of customer centricity and its importance in enhancing the customer loyalty and retention rates. It has been found that customer centricity is essential for the organization who want to achieve the competitive advantage over the rivals.
Customer centricity does not merely mean focusing on the Customers. The experienced marketers know and understand that not all the customers yield profit to the organization. Therefore, the identification of valuable customers and customer segmentation is important for an organization.
The paper also highlights the benefits of having customer –centric mentality and outlines the basic ways of how to keep the customers happy and satisfied. The paper further selects Namibia Wild Life Resorts Company and examines the customer-centric strategies adopted by the company to reflect on the topic with deeper elaboration. The paper finally concludes by giving an overview of the entire paper.
In the highly competitive industry all the market giants are in a race to achieve the competitive edge on which they can work hard and leave behind their market competitors in every aspect. They work extremely hard not only to satisfy the needs of their customers but place them as their priority and value them as the center of the business. The customer-centric mentality is a truly holistic approach by which the customers can avail the best products and services (Avilova, Gulei and Shavyrina 2015). They also avail a superior treatment from the organization, before and after the purchase which strengthens the bond between the buyer and the seller.
There are few components which can be considered to be the main customer centrality factors. These are knowing the customer first, creating customer-centric experience, evaluating customer metrics and lastly empowering the team members to engage in a customer –centric experience (i-scoop.eu 2018). In order to stay relevant to the market and sustain the attained position, companies must analyze and stay updated with the changing customer preferences, their desires and choices, their affordability and many other aspects. The aim of this paper is to define and demonstrate what is customer –centrality, what are the benefits of this concept, how organizations can adopt the customer – centric management strategies and implement them in their organization. The chosen business organization for this paper is Namibia Wild Life Resorts Company. The concept of customer – centric mentality will be demonstrated minutely by critically evaluating the strategies adopted by this company.
About Namibia Wildlife Resorts Company
Namibia Wildlife Resorts is a state government owned company responsible for running the tourism facilities within the reserved area of Namibia(nwr.com 2018). The company solely belongs to the Namibian people because the Government of the Republic of Namibia is the only shareholder of this company. The Namibia Wildlife Resorts Act No. 3 of 1998 has created the company(nwr.com 2018). The Namibian Wildlife Resorts company offers three different collections of lodgings within the reserved areas of Namibia having 20 camps and resorts. This facilitates tourism and attracts a wide range of tourists to the country(nwr.com 2018). The main purpose of the company is to manage, utilize, control and promote the Wildlife Resorts in National interest around Namibia. The company is assigned with task of promoting and encouraging training with a view to increase the productivity at the wildlife resorts. It helps to develop the commercially feasible projects or companies. The NWR company also promotes the eco-friendly tourism and preserves natural assets that attract tourism(nwr.com 2018).
About Namibia Wildlife Resorts Company
The term ‘customer centric’ is completely self-explanatory. The business organizations do more than just focusing on their customers. They keep them as a priority and provide exceptional customer experience while selling their products in order to gain a competitive advantage (Hankammer and Steiner 2015). A truly customer –centric firm recognizes their most valuable customers, safeguard their preferences and guarantee their satisfaction. In order to achieve this objective, they collect customer data from various sources or channels, target their most valuable customers and offer attractive products or services at the right time. The concept is nothing new, rather it is becoming extremely important in a world where the organizations are experiencing digital marketing transformation, establishing customer cultures and dealing with a variety of customer experiences.
The need to become customer – centric than to become merely customer – focused is more important. The customer – centric organizations understand and can perceive that not all the customers yield profits. The customer analytics are used by the organizations to achieve a complete understanding of their customers (ey.com 2018). It becomes easy for them to segment them. Those customers who have stayed loyal to the organization for a long time and are easy to retain are the customer who are highly valued by the organization. Therefore, companies try hard to build healthy relationships with these kinds of customers to enhance their customer experience.
According to a renowned scholar, customer –centricity means to focus on the marketing efforts on the real world, to concentrate on customer segmentation not only on the individual customers to draw higher profits. In a survey it has been found that unfortunately almost 66% of marketers are unaware of the worth of their various customers and stay lagging behind. The identification and valuing of the right customers can increase up to 17% of sales every year. There are some of the best methods to achieve customer centricity by the organizations such as the customer-centric marketing efforts and practices, building own marketing strategy, sales and business using the correct data (Chauhan, Mahajan and Lohare 2017). One of the best advantages of being customer centric is that organizations can increase customer loyalty and customer retention rates (marketingpractitioners.com 2018).. The organizations can enhance their excellency of customer experience, customer satisfaction and bottom line and future profits. It has been found that customer retention is more beneficial than customer acquisition. A 5 % increase in customer retention can increase the profits by 255- 95%(Chauhan, Mahajan and Lohare 2017).
When an organization serves the customers with excellence and extra care, the customers in turn will automatically start believing in that organization or that brand (i-scoop.eu 2018). It will help the organization to gain the customers’ confidence and trusts elevating the reputation of the organization too higher levels. The more the customers trust the business, the more they will refer them to the family, friends or colleagues (Lee, Sridhar and Palmatier 2015). When the customer –centric standards are fixed in the company, the employees will know what to do and when to do reducing confusion, customer mess ups and employee friction. The marketing budget of the organization is controlled and saved up to a considerable amount when new customers gradually come towards the company referred by many older customers (Cundari 2015). It reduces the cost of acquiring new customers and amazes the existing ones. The business will be in a better position to resist economic downturns and business threats because customer retention level will be increased which is an extremely strong point.Customer Leadership
Strategy, structure, Purpose
There are three main strategies of customer-centricity. The first is called the ‘need seekers’. Those companies are referred to as the need seekers which are new to the market. They are more prone to make unapologetic mistakes and the mistake can occur in terms of the pricing, product features and benefits (Vogl 2018). It hardly matters because they get the maximum kudos for being the newcomers in the market. The customers usually get attached to the market leaders and innovative companies (Hazée, Delcourt and Van Vaerenbergh 2017). The second strategy is named as the ‘market readers’. After having committed mistakes at the beginning these companies start becoming the market readers. They study the market scenarios properly and try to be more incremental rather than disruptive. They observe the suppliers, the customers and the competitors too to provide customer-centric values. The third strategy is the referred to as the ‘tech drivers’. These companies believe that if they build themselves properly, the customers will definitely come towards them. Therefore, these companies concentrate more on their internal skills and work to develop their own strategies to deliver perfect service to the customers (Dong et al.2015). It is true that the customer-centric approach of all companies are not alike. They differ from each other and that is where their competitive edge lies.
The NWR company has possibly applied the ‘tech drivers’ strategy and focused more on building their internal skills. They have observed and studied the market properly and understood the needs and preferences of the visitors(nwr.com 2018). Keeping in mind the choices of the visitors they have divided the camps into three groups to fulfill individual taste and comfort. These three categories are the Eco Collection, Classic Collection and Adventure Collection. In the ‘eco collection ‘category they have introduced superior quality products which provide absolute relaxation, superior comfort and service in the most beautiful and pristine natural ambience of Namibia(nwr.com 2018). In the Classic Collection, they have introduced extra services inside the parks which includes the Hot Springs Spa at the edge of Fish River Canyon. In the Adventure Collection, the visitor is left within a vast range of options and can choose according to the type of retreat he/she is wanting to relish(nwr.com 2018). There are the Duwisib Castle, the Shark Island, Terras Bay Camp, Naukluft Campsite and many other options. These facilities are provided by conducting the customer segmentations properly and understanding the emotions and desires of the customers properly(nwr.com 2018). The Namibia Wildlife Resorts company is one of the best examples of how organizations should behave in a customer-centric manner which can easily enhance their reputation and establish stronger customer retention rates.
Importance of satisfying the customer need
The NWR company can use a customer-centric model to establish a customer centric culture. The customer- centricity is probably the best way for customer- engagement. This model has four phases in all. These are the discovery phase. diagnostic phase, analytic phase and sustainment phase (Namasivayam, Guchait and Lei 2014). Within each phase there are few common tasks that the company must follow to act according to the requirements of the customers. In the discovery phase, the current state of customer relationships needs to be evaluated (Trainor et al.2014). The stakeholders must be examined to understand the current customer landscape. The priorities and the needs of the customers need to be observed. The previous account structure, culture and language of the organization must be re-explored to measure the strength of customer relationships. In the diagnostic phase the qualitative and quantitative analysis must be done. It can be done by reviewing the account of the organization as well as the accounts of the customers. Based on the accounts, recommendations must be made (ichakadizes.com 2018).
An ethnographic study of the customers can help to carry out the task of diagnosing customer priorities. In the analytic phase the main drivers of customer experience must be recognized by the help of insights gained from the discovery phase. The key drivers need to be identified which accelerate and strengthen the customer relationships. The NWR company then must gauge the company success with these drivers. The company can link the key drivers with the customer priorities thereby making the task easier. The sustainment phase indicates some steps to enrich and improve the customer experiences. The creation of an action plan can transform the customer experience of the NWR company. Recognition of some quick wins and application of those wins to the organization can improve the customer relationships. The NWR company can also communicate with the customers directly to ensure that the target customers are understanding their efforts.Customer Empathy
pains and gains
The practice of knowing the customer best and prioritize them is not the end if the story. Customer empathy is another essential factor of maintain good customer-centric culture. There are many customers who are unaware of what they actually want. Customer empathy is a way by which the organizations must put themselves in the customers’ shoes and understand their perspectives and desires (Hemel and Rademakers 2016). In this way an organization can know their customers more and work accordingly. The NWR company applies customer empathy strategy in their business by regularly sharing the insights and feelings of the customers(nwr.com 2018). They always keep themselves active on the social media posts, emails, service reviews to track the exact need of their customers. They share and discuss about this customer data with the delegates of the company and expect their opinions to improve. Threating themselves as a customer and walking in the customers ‘shoes is the best way to know the perspectives of their customers. They maintain a map of their customer experiences as the travel through the different parts of the organization. Sometimes they get their employees experience their customer service and ask them to point out what they liked and what they did not, just like a customer.Designing the Customer experience
Strategy, structure, Purpose
The customer experience is the main factor these days rather than product and services. The reputation of the organization depends on how the customers feel when they visit the company or engage in any kind of relationships. The design thinking protocol is the quick response on the desires and requirements of the customers. There are six fields of designing customer experience. These are the reachability, service convenience, purchase convenience, personalization, simplicity of use and channel flexibility (Björklund, Hannukainen and Manninen 2018, July). The first step to ensure customer experience is having the clear vision of customer experience. The second step is evaluating the type of customer an organization is entertaining. The third step is making emotional connection with the customer which is a key point of being customer –centric (Delcourt et al. 2016). It has been found that those customers are more likely to recommend a product or service to others if they are somehow emotionally connected with that organization. The next step is to organize own structure that enables the customers to have the best experience.
The fifth point is having the best leadership qualities. There must be a well standard of the leaders who can align the team’s vision. The board meetings should be customer oriented The sixth point is about acting according to the customer feedbacks. Having the right skills and tools to analyze the feedback and act upon them without any delay is the best way to satisfy the customers (Brondstetter et al.2015). The last but not the least point is about measuring and investing on the actually important aspects. Sometimes the customers do not understand and cannot find the problems. The organization has to find the problem by themselves and work on the problem. The return on investment is not the main aspect to measure. Apart from these, the lifetime value of the customer and the net promoters’ core should also be measured to deliver the best customer experience (Nelsen 2018). Keeping these points in mind it can be said that the NWR company is well organized and a completely customer-centric organization. The organizational chart of the NWR company supports the fact that the company follows all the above mentioned rules and can be more customer- oriented in future(nwr.com 2018). The new and efficient board of directors of the company are the future upholders of the organization and they are the real constructors of the company design of customer centricity.
The NWR company has a range of delivery channels such as the brochure distribution, direct mailing, internet, loyalty programs, strategic alliances, websites, advertisements, public relations and many others (nwr.com 2018). The channel design is the outcome of observing the variety of touch points of the customers. In ancient times there were one or two channels but nowadays the modern worlds have blessed the organizations with multiple channels. The modern world is of Omni-channel design environment. In the era of choice, it becomes complex when the large number of channels reduces customer satisfaction and instead confuses them (Chavez et al.2016). The successful companies like NWR integrate the different channels into one single brand. The customers do not even realise that they have been touching different points by touching different channels.Customer-centric sustainability
Triple Bottom Line
The currently used models of sustainability is named as the ‘three lenses’ model which looks at the sustainability from three different perspectives (Ekblad and Claessen 2015). Desirability is the first perspective. The model measures the desirability of any product, service or experience. The second lens is viability. This part is referred to as the triple bottom line which includes the people, planet and profit (Taneja and Toombs 2014). The last point is feasibility. This is easily assumed that feasibility depends on the company capital which determines how much the company will be able to invest on the customer-centric approaches. A sustainable project can be delivered depending on what the customer values the most if the desirability, viability and feasibility is alright. The budget plan of the NWR shows that the company has the potential to engage in a sustainable project this financial year. The financial condition, the desirability and the viability when taken together, shows that the company is strong from every aspect and hope for a better customer-centric approach in future.
Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that customer centricity and its importance in enhancing the customer loyalty and retention rates. It has been found that customer centricity is essential for the organization who want to achieve the competitive advantage over the rivals. Customer centricity does not merely mean focusing on the Customers. The experienced marketers know and understand that not all the customers yield profit to the organization. The paper has defined and demonstrated what is customer –centrality, what are the benefits of this concept, how organizations can adopt the customer – centric management strategies and implement them in their organization. The chosen business organization for this paper is Namibia Wild Life Resorts Company. The concept of customer – centric mentality has also been discussed minutely by critically evaluating the strategies adopted by this company.
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