More than just a buzzword, customer centricity is becoming a top priority for companies in every sector looking to build and nurture relationships with potential and existing customers.

By Matthew Campbell, head of SME and FTTH at Seacom

By putting the customer at the core of a business, a customer-centric strategy drives repeat business, enhances customer loyalty, and increases business growth.

But what does this concept have to do with connectivity? In order to connect with customers and give them a uniquely personal experience, more and more businesses are turning to technology and digital solutions. In fact, on a global scale, 70% of organisations have a digital transformation strategy already in place, or are working on one. And being able to provide a customer-centric experience is a key benefit of digitising operations.

In a digital economy, connectivity has the power to transform customer-centric business models – for the better. We’re looking at how the concepts of connectivity and customer centricity are inextricably linked, and how your business could benefit from embracing both.


Common challenges for customer-centric businesses

Unfortunately, there’s no single definition for a customer-centric approach to business, so there can be no single cover-all solution. At its core, customer centricity is about using metrics that matter to understand customers better. It’s about designing customer-focused experiences, and using customer feedback to continually improve services. This outcome-driven approach helps foster long-term relationships. Research by Deloitte found that customer-centric businesses were 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer. Examples of successful customer-centric businesses include the likes of Apple and Amazon, and we should learn as much as possible from these industry giants.

However, businesses can’t simply become customer centric overnight. There are various challenges to overcome in order to adopt this business strategy. Companies struggling to master customer centricity site things such as insufficient expertise in data analytics, missing key technology platforms to manage data, and inefficient customer data sharing (52%) as critical obstacles. Fortunately, with the right tech solutions, these issues can be solved.


How can technology and connectivity help?

Customer expectations have evolved, making personalisation of services inevitable, especially for digital-native businesses. A key element of personalisation is communication. With an efficient customer relationship management (CRM) tool, you can communicate directly with customers from a variety of devices and collect invaluable data. With the right cloud infrastructure and analytics, this data can be stored and interpreted, so you can better understand and serve a wide network of users. Finally, with the right Internet access and fibre solution, your digital platforms can operate seamlessly and uninterrupted, so you can optimise business processes with peace of mind and keep in contact with customers 24 hours per day. By harnessing technology, customer experience can be prioritised across the business.


Narrowing the digital divide to include those less connected

While digital-native customers are a key demographic for modern businesses, we can’t ignore the needs and expectations of those who are less connected, especially in a country like South Africa where Internet penetration is still relatively low (Statista reports that, in 2020, 56.3% of the population were Internet users). In order to narrow the digital divide, businesses need cooperation from public and private enterprises, to ensure a connected future for you and the customers you serve. One of the goals of digital transformation should be to create the best fit of services and capabilities to accommodate the diverse needs and expectations of a vast spectrum of customers.

As we all seek to thrive in today’s digital economy, connectivity providers should turn their attention to their customers, and prioritise customer-focused operations, services and support to better inform their long-term decision-making. In terms of customer-focused connectivity, connectivity providers should tailor their services to meet changing customer needs and solve common pain points.

Offering more than just good customer service, truly customer-centric companies are fully committed to delivering customer value in every business area, including how they communicate with and respond to their customers. Whether you’re updating communication software, building chatbots or using AI to interpret large amounts of data, a reliable Internet connection will be crucial in your journey to personalised, customer-centric services. There’s power in connectivity, and it’s time to embrace it.