Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
There’s no one-size-fits all solution when it comes to implementing a customer-centric culture within organisations, according to industry pundits speaking at the Customer-Centric Innovation Lab 2017 in Sydney this week.
For a large-scale broadband company like Hong Kong Broadband Network that began as a startup and has now significantly disrupted the competitive broadband space, it's all about having a sense of ownership from the ground up.
“You have to get the basics right and deliver something outside the box to what your competitors are doing," Hong Kong Broadband Network chief talent and financial officer and co-owner, NiQ Lai, told attendees at the Knowledge Lab event. “And you need to have a sense of ownership. How we kick ass in Hong Kong is we offer fibre broadband speeds at cheaper than dial-up prices.”
However, for TD Bank Group Canada’s associate vice-president of branch effectiveness, Alexander Zabradi, the emphasis should be on creating a connection between an employee and the customer. This is not just on the frontline, but through the entire organisation, he said.
“For us, it’s about connectivity from every area of the bank – and that goes straight through to HR,” he said. “We’ve been doing customer journey mapping for a few years now and for us, it’s also about seeing all the peripheral parts of the business, like HR and risk, which all have a role to play in to the overall true customer-centric experience.”
In the hospitality industry, a design thinking and value-added approach is a core way to embrace customer-centricity, according to Ovolo Hotels’ Hong Kong COO, Dave Basal. Unlike other hotels, Basal claimed Ovolo has a more 'feel at home' philosophy, where guests can enjoy a free mini-bar, a free breakfast and even a free drink or two at happy hour.
"We value design and have a customer focus in the philosophy behind the brand and our values," Basal said. "I believe the design of the product and the overall service needs to help a customer achieve a goal and solve a problem for the customer.
"So you need to fit somewhere in that journey and help them through. That way you will always win, and so will the customer."
Bupa’s global director of people engagement and experience, Cassandra Goodman, agreed a design approach has also been effective in helping large-scale organisations like those in the health insurance sector be more customer focused.
"Having undertaken a design approach and done the research, we are often surprised that even though we may have millions of customer profile, there are generally three or four general customer behaviour types," she added. " In our experience, the core human needs that sit beneath the traditional segments are quite similar. There aren’t twenty or thirty archetypal customer personas."
For a startup, it's about hard, dirty, hands on work, Foodora Australia’ co-founder and CEO, Toon Gyssels, said.
"We have a strength-based approach where you need to lead by example and have strong values," he explained. "You need to know your customer and bring your values to life with the right programs.
"You can’t do anything without identifying your core values and ensuring your customers know those values, so forget about the rules, build your basics, and just listen to your customer."