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 adapt
Being 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 you and your team’s ability to face difficult times, bounce back and move forward. It plays an important part in your future success, as it's the way your team responds to change.
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 and a positive mindset.
Change navigators seek out the next big thing and then drive it forward. Innovators, visionaries, and thought leaders stay ahead of the curve by taking action in the face of change and charting out the future of their company. Strong thought leaders also have high emotional intelligence. According to Daniel Goleman, there are five key elements of emotional intelligence. They are:
- Social skills.
Leaders who have empathy are able to communicate with and listen more to the people they share relationships with. This means that people who are able to have empathy will also benefit from high self-esteem, reduced loneliness, and a strong sense of who they are, and in doing so become more resilient.
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 can clarify priorities. 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 your idea with key audiences before your product or service launches into market. In essence it is user research that is conducted to validate concepts, usability and feasibility. The questions that research often uncovers are:
Does your idea solves a real problem? Does it resonate with your audience?
Is it worth the time, money and investment to bringing this idea to market?
Many businesses use clickable prototypes to validate if their app or website meets the needs, functionality and requirements of the target market. By prototyping early, you can often save thousands of dollars by testing a concept before it is built.
5. Learn to acknowledge and accept change
When it comes to change management, the key to winning often is often your approach. At its core, resistance to change is a label we apply to people who seem unwilling to accept a change. But for the most part, it isn't the change itself that people resist. People resist change because they believe they will lose something of value or fear they will not be able to adapt to the new ways. By looking ahead and looking to the future, you'll be able to better deal with the past and accept it as something that had to happen for you and your organisation in order to move forward.
6. Invest in Business Process Mapping
Business Process Mapping is a way to visualise what a business does by taking into account roles, responsibilities and standards. Business process modeling (BPM) takes this one step further by providing a visual way to understand, analyse, and improve upon a current method of working.
By completing this process our clients often uncover:
- How to deliver better business outcomes as processes are mapped and documented
- How to improve processes and the sharing of data
- Communication breakdowns and ways to better collaborate between teams
- How to save time and reduce bottlenecks
- Unknown dependencies and skills to deliver a process
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 allows you to get clarity and visibility on:
- 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 busy are running your business. To help clients to navigate and map their processes, we often leverage our Lead Business Analysis, who comes with a wealth of knowledge and an unbiased (and unemotional) opinion of your business and its operations.
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 behaviours
To survive and thrive in this economic climate, an organisation needs to be data lead in their decision making process. Customer-centric businesses craft strategies that solve their customer's problems. Customer-centric have a business culture that empowers staff to upskill, learn and adapt their approach to deliver better outcomes for their customers.
Customer-centric businesses often forget the tech and invest in solutions that create seamless experiences for their customers. To assist our clients to thrive we've developed a series of S90: Business Agility Workshops that help businesses to prioritise activity based on business impact and return on investment. From our S90: Business Agility Workshops we've identified 7 key factors that matter when equipping businesses to thrive and grow. They are:
- 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
Need help with your business planning?
Our team has a combined century of experience and have helped many of our clients to maximise their technology and marketing investment.
Our full day and half day workshops build a solid foundation for growth, so your business can compete and thrive in this competitive landscape. Our team will work with your senior stakeholders to tactfully respond to market trends, changes and emerging opportunities. Giving you access to a proven success framework that our clients enjoy.