GCC retailers must invest in customer's 'emotions' to succeed
Evolving consumer attitudes and behaviors are requiring retail and service businesses to invest in building customer-centric organizations, in order to survive and grow, according to strategy consultancy Management 2000.
Based on lessons from the US and other established economies, failure to do so may impact the sustained growth of the GCC retail industry, whose sales are expected to reach $270.3 billion by the end of 2016. In a major 2013 CEO survey, putting the customer at the center of companies’ growth initiatives was stated as one of their top three investment priorities.
Adopting a customer-centric approach has long been proven to boost profitable growth and create competitive edge for companies, particularly in the retail and service industry. Today, it’s also emerging as an essential survival tool for companies and one of the most important factors to increasing the customer base, which drives top and bottom line growth.
More companies are realizing that investing in customer-centricity will lead them to deliver valuable and meaningful customer experiences, which translates into higher profit and growth. Increasingly, these experiences are built around emotions, feelings and relationships created through engaging with the brand. When sustained every time the consumer interacts with the brand, these meaningful experiences will lead to a growing customer base of satisfied, loyal, frequent user and recommender customer base.
In fact, 90 percent of US CEOs surveyed by PWC, indicated they are strengthening their customer and client engagement programs and investing time and money ‘to catch up’. The research indicates that these CEOs are recognizing and prioritizing the commitment, investment and deep cultural transformation required to create a robust, customer-centric organization.
“The Middle East retail industry is at an ideal place today, where it has been steadily growing over the last few years, particularly in the GCC, and this upward trend is expected to continue for the next few years. However, it is wise for regional businesses to learn the hard lessons from countries like the US, a global trendsetter in retail, and take steps today that will enable them to sustain their growth and not have to play catch up in a few years. Delivering memorable customer experiences today can go a long way towards creating emotional currency, which in turn translates into valuable financial currency,” said Bob Gappa, Founder and CEO of Management 2000.
Recent studies and academia concur that for customer-centricity to succeed, it needs to be embedded deep into the fabric of the organization, through an integrated and comprehensive approach that combines the right processes, technology, philosophy and people behavior. The most successful systems are those that are able to assess numerically the progress being made by a company, in becoming a Customer-Centric Brand.
One such innovative system, Management 2000’s Centrinomics, has been credited with supporting the profitable growth of over 1,400 of the world’s companies, over the last 30 years. As part of the launch of its Middle East operations, M2000 is introducing this integrated tool offering customized strategic and operational solutions to the region.
At the center of this customer-centric approach is the empowerment and involvement of front line employees who interact with the customer on a daily basis. Giving employees ownership of the customer experience has a direct impact on creating satisfied and loyal customers leading to stronger sales.
“Companies in the Middle East have a rare opportunity to embrace a transformation that will lead them to gain and retain competitive advantage by creating lasting customer relationships. Creating a customer centric culture requires investment and commitment on the part of the leadership.
Getting it right means delivering meaningful experiences both for employees and customers, resulting in employees who believe your company is a ‘great place to work’ and customers who believe your business is a ‘great place to spend money’. It’s a win-win situation. We believe this is what will drive company growth and profit in the 21st century,” said Hussein Murad, Managing Director for Management 2000 in the Middle East.
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