Customer-centricity – to the invisible and the rebels

Kelly Hungerford at our Content Marketing Conference
Kelly Hungerford at our Content Marketing Conference

Is there a difference between customer-centricity and customer focus? Yes, there is. But then again, is there really? It depends as always. To discover why it depends and most of all what matters, along with a more in-depth look at what it means to be customer-centric, join the #bizheroes chat on Tuesday April 28th.

Haven’t heard about it yet? #bizheroes is the weekly Twitter chat of and for the Paper.li community. A community carefully “managed” – or is it nurtured and spoiled – by Kelly Hungerford and team. In fact, real business heroes, in a customer-centric context, are often those that aren’t all too visible and/or work very hard without always being praised for it. Among them: many community managers and I can tell you that Kelly for one is a community manager that cares, goes the extra mile and knows what it means to be customer-centric.

So, each week, 8PM CET or 2PM EST for the US friends: #bizheroes. If you can join the one on customer-centricity Tuesday, check out the questions that will be asked on Google+ and do share your wisdom on all of them before, during or after the chat.

As it seems I’ll be answering them too as Kelly’s guest and am thrilled by the opportunity to do so. In all honesty: I’m a bit nervous too. Don’t tell anyone but it’s my first Twitter chat ever.

Customer-centricity in 2015: trending !?

Is there anything else than an announcement and call to action to tune in Tuesday (or is it tweet in)? Well, yes, there is. Before taking a deeper dive into some great questions (together?), let’s think about some of the folks out there that maybe don’t know what customer-centricity is from the perspective of theory, research and current trends but are utterly customer-centric in the sense of the term in “normal language”.

By the way: customer-centricity really is a trend. Or at least: it is trending so it seems. I was surprised to read that on MyCustomer.com (that’s also a good intro for our chat) and checked it out on Google Trends while preparing a bit this weekend. And indeed, it trends!

Why am I surprised you ask? Because customer-centricity is far from new, as is the attention so many of us have been asking for it. Could it be that it’s trending (again) because C-level executives have no other option than to pay attention this time? If you see who is writing about it, my guess is a yes. Maybe we can look at the “what’s new” in the Twitter chat too.

To the customer-centric

So, anyway, after a long introduction a quick thanks to all those customer-centric people no one sees but making such a difference. Did we have the community managers? Yes, we did.

  • To the call center – or contact center as it’s called nowadays – agent who always steps in when a disgruntled customer really needs to let some steam off, knowing it’s important, human and an opportunity.
  • To the CEO and sales manager (yes, they exist) that stayed long after every worker was home because a customer still had to pick up a bunch of goods and his truck was stuck in traffic.
  • To the customers, maybe our real business heroes, who endure the pain of waiting far too long before they get a decent response, before they find anything whatsoever on a company’s website or until they finally get their calls answered (by someone who cares).
  • To the rebels and misfits (that sounds like an Apple ad) that are relatively “low ranked” in the company’s organigram but stick their necks out and take genuine risks (even of losing their jobs) because they see the gaps that need to be closed to do more than pay lip service to customer-centricity and keep hammering on the need to do so.
  • To the webmaster who refuses to let the way the company is organized shine through in the navigation of the corporate website and thinks visitor-first, always pushing it further, obsessed by usability and visitor experiences.
  • To that hotel receptionist who always takes the time to have a friendly chat because she loves her job and the people checking in and out, even if they’re not always really friendly themselves and does it in the most effortless, natural and untrained way you can imagine.

I can continue like this for a while, from front desk workers to anyone who cares about the customer and thus, by definition the company and the job. I’m sure you know a few customer-centric business heroes that no one ever heard of too. But you get the picture, right?

So, awaiting our customer-centric #bizheroes (thanks for the invite Kelly and thanks to anyone joining), here’s part of an interview with someone who knows what it means to be customer-centric or customer-focused if you prefer, in practice as she explained at our 2014 Content Marketing Conference and proves every day. You probably know her: content operations in practice – Kelly Hungerford at your service.

PS: thanks for the nice illustration, Kelly and team, it saved me some time to come up with something, always at service of your community AND your guests.

Bizheroes customer-centricity J-P De Clerck