Customer experience is the only true differentiator in the consumer-led era. As consumers have so much information available at their fingertips to affect their buying decisions, control of brand perception has shifted from marketing teams to the customer and influencers. In order to remain competitive in this new era, businesses need to shift their focus from ‘what we do’ to ‘how we make you feel’.
This requires a deep understanding of what customers need, and this customer focus must permeate the business to ensure that every department delivers work with the customer in mind.
“by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.”
Walkerinfo.com, Customers 2020: A progress report
Customer-centricity has to be part of your DNA
To deliver the best CX you have to embed customer-centricity throughout your business. It’s easy to tell customers that you’re a customer-centric company, but it’s no longer possible to hide behind an empty message. Prospective customers can quickly and easily find out the truth about how it is to do business with you from the vast sources of information available online. Whether it’s online reviews or asking like-minded communities, prospective customers are doing their research and will quickly see through a front of house proposition that isn’t matched in delivery.
This is something we’re acutely aware of at Spherica and it’s why we’ve built a culture that genuinely has customer experience at the heart.
We offer outstanding IT managed services, using best-of-breed technology stacks to digitally transform our customers' businesses, but how does this separate us from the next best competitor? Well, it doesn’t. What does separate us is that although our business proposition is to deliver outstanding, user-centric IT services, we first and foremost consider ourselves a customer service company – that just happens to do IT! And we embed this customer service mantra throughout the company.
Happy client, happy business
To really deliver this kind of customer-centricity requires a mindset and company DNA that every employee buys into. A weak link in the chain can ruin a hard fought for reputation, so we take recruitment and people management very seriously.
And it pays off!
One of our customers is Virgin Trains, and the Virgin group is famous for its employee and customer centricity. It stands as a beacon of excellence in how to deliver a customer-centric approach to business.
"I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.”
As a key supplier of the Virgin Trains’ IT infrastructure, we recognise the need to deliver services that fit this culture. This has been our primary focus in the last few years and we’ve transformed service delivery through a number of strategies:
- We listen. Developing open and honest working relationships is key to understanding what the customer needs. If something needs to change, we face it head on. We learn from success and failure in equal measure and react quickly to new requirements and feedback.
- We manage expectations and keep the client informed so they’re always in the loop.
- We’re approachable and available, not just for P1 critical issues but for whatever the client needs.
- We’re experts in technology and proactively identify ways that new tech can help our clients to improve ways of working.
- And the secret sauce that you can’t really define – we just understand the customer and get under the skin of how we can help them to work better and to deliver outstanding service to their end-users.
This approach has resulted in fantastic customer satisfaction scores that we’re extremely proud of.
Virgin Trains use HappySignals to measure the perception of key suppliers’ service delivery on a weekly basis. HappySignals works like NPS and enables us, as suppliers, to see an overall happiness and productivity score, and to gather feedback that explains individual reasons behind the scores. Over the last 12 months, we’ve averaged a Happiness Score of +86, against an industry benchmark of +65!
You can’t beat +100!
We’re obviously delighted to be consistently smashing the industry benchmark, but what has made us most proud is that for the last 6 weeks in a row we've achieved an unbelievable +100! That's TOP MARKS, consistently.
The Happiness Score graph shows +100 for the last 6 weeks and an average of +89 for this quarter.
An enviable NPS-style distribution
I apologise if we sound a little boastful, but we are delighted that our commitment to our customers is working!
We won’t always get it right, but we’re dedicated to making sure we never stop striving to achieve this level of customer satisfaction for all of our clients, all of the time.
“Spherica are technically excellent and have a fantastic work ethic. We don’t see a Spherica badge – we see an extension of our IT team and that has real value. The honesty that you get from working with them is a very real thing and I know what’s best for me as a customer is always top of their mind”.
Dean Underwood Head of IT Services, Virgin Trains
This is what the experts at Happy Signals have to say about our customer-centricity:
"We at HappySignals have seen how the Spherica team takes employee feedback seriously and puts user experience at the centre of what they do. Because of this continued focus and good work the employee experience of their customer has been getting better and better.“
Sami Kallio, CEO, HappySignals
We're also delighted that our focus on putting customer experience first means that our clients’ internal customers – their staff – work more effectively and are happier too. Before the digital transformation was delivered with the team at Virgin Trains, their own HappySignals Happiness Scores were in the +20s. That is unrecognisable from the scores we see today. Find out how digital transformation enabled Virgin Trains to quadruple its Happiness Scores in this engaging blog.
In every project we undertake, we like to remember this:
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”
Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple.
If you need IT managed services that have your business goals, people and customers at the heart, get in touch.
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