Digital transformation | Why high-tech leaders must create customer-centricity or risk oblivion

Why high-tech leaders must create customer-centricity or risk oblivion

High-tech is one of the world’s fastest-moving industries. The pace has only accelerated since Moore first shone a light on the exponential growth rate of processing power.

50-plus years on, high-tech firms continue to push back the boundaries of the possible, and champion digital transformation. Individually, they can still find it tough to adapt to a constantly changing world.

Of the pressures facing high-tech leaders currently, securing and serving customers successfully and profitably may be the most pressing. Because customer expectations have changed.

The concept of customer-centricity is not new, but now it is a critical success factor. Understanding what is involved in creating it should be a priority, because those who fail to make customer-centricity a priority may face oblivion.

“It is the customer who determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper” Peter Drucker, 1954

Now business success IS customer success

Tech success used to be about innovation, the life-blood of the sector as firms focused on fielding the smartest and most impactful products.

Making customers happy meant developing and delivering an amazing product fast, to gain first mover advantage and then stay ahead of the pack.

Then, Software as a Service arrived. Everything as a Service followed. Customer needs and expectations altered and grew. The value and experience they now seek is not from products, but from providers themselves.

Customers today expect a value-based partnership that delivers continual innovation from you. Brilliant, value-added service has become the differentiator. Incredible experiences dictate whether customers want to stay – and what they say about you in the public domain.

Customers are 2.4x more likely to stay when companies solve customer problems swiftly, 2.7x more likely to spend more when companies communicate clearly and 10x more likely to recommend when staff everywhere can answer their questions – Forrester, the ROI of CX Transformation 2021

Customer-centricity demands companywide change

Customer satisfaction can now make or break a brand. Securing, retaining, and renewing profitable customers can mean the difference between financial success and failure.

Customer success now means entering a partnership in which everybody wins. It is no longer a linear process but a continuous relationship, not one based on individual transactions. Renewal, retention, and length of relationships have displaced simple sales volume and financial measures of your success.

Customers want connected, seamless, harmonious journeys from sale through delivery, issues management, and billing. Instead, they find jarring notes and irritations due to disconnected systems, disparate data, or departments working in isolation.

Connected customer-centric change isn’t just about new systems and processes. It shakes up data ownership, customer service responsibilities, and customer satisfaction accountabilities. It needs a companywide mindset shift. Meaningful customer-centric change requires recognition that the customer experience lies at the core of every operation and how all functions are enabled to work together.

“With the customer at the centre of their digital transformation, winners connect the dots between sales, supply chain and finance; they integrate the key capabilities needed to produce the services their clients want.” - PwC

Customer-centricity needs companywide connections

Great experiences are created in concert by every individual, team and department encountered by a customer. Yet, success doesn’t only come from this. Those buying software within a service relationship need ongoing value from their investment. That must also be supported everywhere and via every interaction. The onus is on you to help customers prepare for and leverage new functionality if they are to become profitable long term.

Creating a customer-centric organisation must happen from the top and help you prepare for continuous innovation and value delivery. Ongoing change and evolution is now the norm as you modulate to match customer needs. It includes:

  • Synchronising the operations of every single function – front and back

  • Enabling finance, sales, service and more to collaborate around customer data

  • Engaging and empowering all employees and partners to contribute to experiences

  • Creating more transparent and autonomous access to information for customers

  • Embracing customer insights and readying for AI, predictive and prescriptive analytics

  • Integrating systems and processes to eradicate the gaps and departmental disconnects that erode revenue and deter customers.

This can get everyone on the same page and transform service experiences. Customers gain the value and ease of interaction they desire. You boost your capability to see, think, and plan for a more profitable future.

To explore how to bring finance, sales, service, customer success and other teams into a customer-centric force for business success, download our new executive briefing “Creating a connected and customer centric business: A Leader’s Guide for High-Tech companies”.

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FinancialForce is a people first organisation that understands how to survive in an ever changing market, simply put - we seek to understand and then to be understood - working with customers who want to grow and stay relevant now and in the future. Built using the Salesforce cloud platform our business applications are specifically designed for customer-centric services businesses operating in a digital XaaS economy.