Managing the Customer Experience
Compared to a couple of decades ago, the manner with which contemporary business entities has undergone radical transformation with some of these changes being industry disruptive. There are numerous reasons as to why this is the case but can be narrowed down to the fact that there is greater flow information amongst consumers (Dasu, & Richard, 2010). The current ease with which consumers are able to access credible information concerning goods and services available from different sources is amazing. The consumer is essentially spoiled for choice. Organizations have come to the comprehension that the consumer is the most critical factor to continued business development and surety towards ensuring operations remain as a going concern. The issue of customer satisfaction, changes in preferences and customer loyalty have redefined how firms perceive customers (Dasu, & Richard, 2010). In this paper, the aim is to assess what appertains customer experience management and customer-centric organizations with reference to the financial services firm, Zurich.
Evolution of Zurich into a Customer Centric Organization
Zurich, a renowned organization has its origins in the European continent, more specifically in Switzerland. It has been in operation for well over 100 years and to date, still seeks to keep ahead of competitors in a cutthroat global financial services industry (Anonymous, n.d.). As is with many firms operating on an international level where market share growth is pegged on customer perceptions, it has endeared to appease customers by offering diversity in services along with customer oriented relationship strategies. The company observes that in can only remain competitive by offering its customers unique services that highlight the value accorded to its customers (Anonymous, n.d.). As such, it has made notable attempts to position itself as a customer-centric entity.
For instance, Zurich HelpPoint is one of the firm’s unique concepts that communicates and more so, summarizes its overall business objectives to customers (Anonymous, n.d.). Initially, this concept operated as a without charge customer helpline to cater for consumers claiming motor insurance. Zurich points out this concept evolved to accommodate all consumers subscribed to its services. The concept has morphed into a potent customer services solution to its global customers allowing for the accurate delivery of relevant assistance when called for. As such, through HelpPoint, the firm’s internal customer service division is able to accord support on demand to its entire staff. For instance, through the concept, employees are able to access assistance from Zurich’s HR function and attain effective IT services (Anonymous, n.d.). This works together to ensure its workers proactively discuss, develop and implement progressive practices towards offering external customers unrivalled service delivery.
As Berry, Carbone and Haeckel (2002) provide, Zurich has been able to position the concept as a customer-experience management tool. Given that, the firm offers insurance cover products, its customers are in most instances seeking assistance from a point of emotional distress. The manner with which the company works to alleviate such emotion translates into a memorable experience, which intimates to clients that Zurich is indeed a caring partner (Anonymous, n.d.). Processing claims in an efficient manner along with a memorable experience indicates that it is a firm intent on ensuring the best customer-experience management outcomes are achieved to retain and expand market share.
Through comprehensive and on-going market research aimed at gathering vital information on customer perceptions, needs, changing preferences, and operating market dynamics, Zurich has been able to garner a robust competitive advantage above rivals (Anonymous, n.d.). Its primary research endeavors incorporating qualitative as well as quantitative studies have appraised need to understand customers and more so, deliver on promises. Through secondary research, the firm has worked to embrace online communication through its website as the most potent vehicle to further support the HelpPoint concept. It has made concerted efforts to employ all available avenues to communicate to its national, regional and international customer base that it is a customer centric organization (Anonymous, n.d.). The company has also positioned its brand and re-launched its flagship concept towards superior customer-service management outcomes. Zurich has pledged to progressively measure effectiveness and realize greater employee commitment to its goal of attaining full customer centric status.
Customer Experience Management versus Customer Centric Organization
Looking at customer centricity from Zurich’s perspective, customer-experience management is a necessary organizational organization but it remains insufficient. Most organizations perceive customer-experience management as some mindset that assesses performance in an effort to achieve profitability. For a firm to be considered as customer centric, it has to operate on a mindset that transcends considerations into the customer’s well being to one that has the concept ingrained to organizational culture. In this regard, Zurich is essentially a customer centric organization as its employees are motivated to commit to ensuring superior customer experiences.
Zurich seems to have come to the awareness that it exists to actualize a unique customer need. As such, profits and business development are the most desired byproducts of such a realization. As this paper has shown, the firm has developed a distinctive organizational culture and business operations structure that is keen on positive customer experience outcomes thereby positioning it as a customer-centric entity.
Anonymous (n.d.). Providing a customer-centric service: A Zurich Case Study. The times 100 Business Case Studies. Retrieved from: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/zurich/providing-a-customer-centric-service/introduction.html#axzz2LZe3EHzI
Dasu, S., & Richard, B. C. (2010). Designing the soft side of customer service. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(1), 33-39. Retrieved from Trident University Library.
Leonard, L. B., Lewis, P. C., & Stephan, H. H. (2002). Managing the total customer experience. MIT Sloan Management Review, 43(3), 85-89. Retrieved from Trident University Library.