How to adapt to change in a customer-centric world
Understanding your customer's needs is crucial for long-term retention. Customer-centric businesses leverage data and user research to evaluate, strategise and make critical business decisions. This allows them to pivot when market conditions change.
Since COVID-19, we've noticed that the businesses that are successful are ones, who have invested in customer-centric strategies and who have a deep understanding of their customer's needs and wants. Feedback tools are critical for customer communication and long term retention. For our recommendations on feedback tools, read our article here.
Business adaptability has never been more crucial. Business adaptability is the ability to react effectively when business and environmental factors change unexpectedly. Many companies in the past have done a good job of crafting strategic plans that work well in a normal economic climate.
Companies that will survive long-term are those who invest in shorter planning cycles and regular strategic planning sessions. This will give these businesses, the ability to be nimble and allow them to assess and adapt based on the current market trends and conditions.
“Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” - Max McKeown
Being customer-centric is about more than just offering a good product or staffing a contact centre. It becomes a cultural way of life for the company and impacts everything from employee engagement to customer experience. Customer-centric companies live and breathe their customers and are laser-focused on providing amazing experiences.
They are innovative and do good in the world. These companies disrupt their industries and are often rewarded with growth and increased revenue.
Brands that have superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors. Companies that invest in customer experience see financial gains and strong customer-focused cultures. - Forbes
Change in this world is unavoidable. If companies want to stay on track, they must adapt to constant change before failure begins knocking on their door. Some changes are simple and small enough to not really become noticeable, while some are big and generally very complex to process.
Keeping up with the changing world is crucial to the success of any customer-centric business, which means keeping an eye on trends and changes in the economy and adapting accordingly.
How do you put yourself in a position where you are able to adaptBeing adaptable and open to change may not always be easy, however, you might consider the following steps to help you develop and improve your adaptability skills:
- Develop resilience
- Develop a growth mindset
- Set goals and define what success looks like
- Market Validation
- Learn to acknowledge and accept change
- Invest in Business Process Mapping
1. Develop resilience
Resilience is your and your team’s ability to face difficult times, bounce back and move forward. It plays an important part in your future success, as the way your team responds to change is a great determinant of whether your business can get through challenging times and use them to thrive. Every challenge is an opportunity to improve and learn. So consider changing your mindset from the victim to the change navigator. Real leadership comes from navigating uncertain waters and meeting that uncertainty with innovation. Change navigators seek out the next big thing and then drive it forward. Innovators, visionaries, and thought leaders stay ahead of the curve, taking action in the face of change and charting out the future of their company.
Build empathy so you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to go beyond understanding what happens or what is done – go deeper! Ask why things are done a certain way, or why people choose to do things in that way.
2. Develop a growth mindset
Being adaptable also means being willing to learn and try new things. Developing a growth mindset can positively influence your ability to take on new challenges, find new opportunities to develop your knowledge and contribute to new projects. Your willingness and motivation to keep improving upon your skills can also show your employer your commitment to your professional growth.
3. Set goals and define what success looks like
Goals are part of every aspect of business/life and provide a sense of direction, motivation, a clear focus, and clarify importance. By setting goals for yourself, you are providing yourself with a target to aim for. A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Therefore, a SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
4. Market Validation
Market validation is the process of validating with your idea with key audiences before your product or service launches into market. In essence it is user research which is conducted to validate concepts, usability and feasibility. The questions that research often uncovers are:
Does your idea solves a real problem? Does it resonated with your audience?
Is it worth the time, money and investment in effort to bringing it to market?
Many businesses use clickable prototypes to validate if their app or website meets the needs, functionality and requirements of the market. By prototyping early, you often save thousands of dollars by testing a concept before it is built.
5. Learn to acknowledge and accept change
It can also be highly beneficial to let yourself accept change as it occurs. Learning to acknowledge changes in your career can help you prepare yourself and adapt to differing circumstances. Additionally, learning how to be willing to accept change can be an effective step toward recognising when you need to make adjustments to make transitions smoother for yourself.
6. Invest in Business Process Mapping
Having a clear understanding of why your business operates means that you will not only be able to make carefully planned tweaks and improvements today, but you will also be able to confidently and rapidly adapt (some call it to pivot) should the need ever arise tomorrow? At Speedwell we work with our client to help them gain clarity through business process mapping.
Business Process Mapping details the steps that a business takes to complete a process, such as hiring an employee or ordering and shipping a product. The process maps show the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where” and “how” for these business steps, why help in analysing the “why.”
By mapping your end to end business processes you can gain clarity around:
- Who are my customers (both direct and indirect)?
- When, where and how do my customers interact with my business?
- Who are my stakeholders?
- When, where and how do my stakeholders interact with my business?
Analysing and mapping your business processes is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are in the middle of running your business day-in, day-out. To help you to get an unbiased (and unemotional) view, engaging a Business Analyst to assist you with your business process mapping is essential.
What is a Business Analyst?A business analyst examines in detail the steps a business uses to produce products and make important decisions and maps these steps in detail producing business process models, and this information enables you to clearly understand:
How well your processes are serving your customers now.
Working closely with your business, the business analyst can then recommend ways these processes can be improved, so that your business activities can flow naturally and in the most efficient way. The benefits of doing this include:
- Avoiding errors.
- Cut costs and wastage, leading to increased profitability.
- Improved communication between staff, customers and stakeholders.
- Deliver value to customers.
- Be sure that the product or service is going to be delivered to the customer with efficiency and efficacy.
And at the end of the day, you can then be certain that the WHY of your business is aligned a closely as possible with the WHY of your customers.
It is important to highlight that business process improvement should be a continuous method. For it to be beneficial for your business in the long run it must be refined, implemented and followed through. There will always be an aspect of the business process that can be improved, and so making improvements, whether big or small, needs to become a part of the businesses’ culture.
7 Customer-centric behavioursTo survive and thrive an organisation needs to craft a strategy that empowers the organisation to evolve, achieve commercial business outcomes and enabling staff to adapt their approach to meet the needs of their customers. In our work we've seen the increasing trend of organisations needing to upskill their staff to better support digital go-to-market models. From our S90: Business Agility Workshops we've identified 7 key customer-centric behaviours that matter most in equipping staff to operate in a digital, customer-led environment.
- Build customer & buyer understanding
- Improve data & digital literacy
- Shift from sequential working to dynamic prioritisation
- Enable customer journey progression
- Optimise the customer experience
- Enable cross-functional collaboration
- Encourage values-based decision making
Leading organisations embed these capabilities in their people by creating packages of people, process and technology change as well as an immersive blended learning environment that puts the learner in situations which challenge them to think differently and apply new skills in a safe environment.
Need help with your strategic planning?
For over 20+ years Speedwell has worked closely with our clients to craft and develop battle tested strategies and road-maps to better meet the needs and expectations of their customers. Customer-centric businesses forget the tech and invest in solutions that create seamless experiences for their customers. Need to formulate your laser-focused on strategy? Speak to our team about formulate your 90 day plan.