It is hard to think of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system as helping a company become more customer centric. Yet with the right approach, an ERP system can indeed help your company put customers at the center of all its planning, product development, and operations.
What Is a Customer-Centric Business Approach?
A customer-centric approach to business puts the customer journey at the center of every action. Many companies believe they are customer centric when they beef up their customer service department or add software such as a CRM to improve customer communications. While these are good steps, a truly customer-centric company looks and acts much differently than others.
In a true customer-centric organization, the customer journey is mapped through all aspects of the customer lifecycle. Everyone from product development to marketing is viewed through the lens of the wants, needs, and desires of the customer. And, at the center of such an organization is the ERP system.
Signs of a Customer-Centric Business
Perhaps you think your company is already customer centric. Let us examine the hallmarks of a customer centric business. See how your company compares to these benchmarks.
A company-centric business:
- Leads by example. Company leaders put their efforts behind improving the customer experience.
- Cultivates a shared customer vision. Throughout every department, even those that do not interact with customers directly, the customer comes first.
- Empowers employees to take the next right step when it comes to assisting customers. Phrases like, it’s out of scope, I am sorry but that is against our policies, or we cannot do that because it is against the rules are not commonly heard. Instead, employees can take action to solve customer issues and problems.
- Is open to change. Businesses that focus on the customer experience recognize that they need to evolve and change over time, and they are not afraid to take steps to do so if it is in the service of their customers.
- Emphasize teamwork over individual contributions. Yes, individuals are important, but the culture fosters a sense of “we do this together” rather than a competitive spirit.
And yes, at the heart of a customer-centric business is its systems, specifically, its ERP system. Without a solid ERP working behind the scenes, even the most motivated companies may fail to have the resources necessary to implement a truly customer-centric vision.
How Does an ERP Enhance the Customer Experience?
Enterprise resource planning systems connect siloed data into one central database. By collecting all data into one system, companies now have a unified view of all customer data.
This single view of customer information can lead to many improvements.
- The Sales Department can view all past sales and proactively contact the customer when it appears time for them to reorder products. The customer responds favorably to the proactive sales strategy and appreciates the attention to detail.
- Marketing can communicate in the channels the customer is most likely to respond by viewing past data and tailoring communications appropriately.
- Product development can review customer data and look for patterns from which to extrapolate next steps, new ideas, and improvements. For example, common complaints about a product may lead to next generation versions that resolve these complaints.
- Customer Service can access the entire account history when someone calls and provide more efficient service.
These may seem like small, almost inconsequential improvements. But, taken over time and added together, they can improve overall customer satisfaction with your company. In today’s world, with ever-increasing competition and pressures from all sides to improve every aspect of business, it is vital to take advantage of every improvement possible.
Looking for ideas on how to use ERP to improve your business? Here are several
If you are ready to take the next step and explore how to