Customer Centricity Is Challenging For Everyone
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Customer Centricity Is Challenging For Everyone

Changing customer demands in the digital age require connecting communication channels, frontends (websites, social media, apps), and e-commerce systems with backend processes like warehousing systems, logistics and accounting.

In the digital age, customers are the focus. Consequently, more and more companies are looking to digitalize their customer interfaces and create new digital business models. The combination of online and offline business offers new possibilities for customer centricity and user experience.

Trend customer centricity in B2B

Customers expect digital user experiences. For B2C industries, like retail, telecommunication or media, this customer centricity has always been the norm – with more or less success.

B2B industries are now asking themselves what digital services they could offer customers besides their core products. They expect customer centricity to increase customer loyalty and their value.

In practice, this new orientation towards customer centricity means more simplicity for digital offers (websites, online shops, apps), a seamless integration of digital solutions in backend IT, maximum performance of customer-oriented processes, and data security.

To tackle these challenges, more and more B2B companies are experimenting with small, agile digital labs and work with design thinking methods. Consequently, they come up with many innovative ideas and digital prototypes.

Implementing these creative structures and introducing digital solutions is far from easy, however. B2B companies need customer centricity experts and IT service providers to bring new solutions out into the market.

Consequently, skills and know-how like innovation consulting services, design of digital solutions, creative concept creation and IT implementation are growing ever more important.

Creative services are in demand

Because of this new trend towards customer centricity, IT consultancies and service providers have to deal with changing customer demands. They increasingly need to be able to also provide creative services.

IT service providers therefore need to be able to provide a combination of creative services, management and IT consulting services. Especially in the age of digital transformation, customers increasingly want a partner with know-how in process optimization, digital consulting, data analytics, management consulting, and the development of digital business models.

Companies are willing to invest in customer centricity

The growing importance of customer centricity can be seen in more and more investments. According to a Luenendonk study, respondents are planning to invest 4 percent of their revenue in projects to modernize customer interfaces or to create digital user experiences.

What’s surprising is that only a fraction of companies plans to undergo this transformation on their own. The majority of respondents will work closely with IT service providers.

IT service providers have to expand portfolio

According to the Luenendonk survey, the majority of respondents is planning to tackle projects to improve customer experience with a partner who can support them in every phase of the project from start to finish.

This development is challenging for IT service providers as they have to expand their portfolio to creative services, consulting and IT services if they want to stay competitive.

Some IT service providers are already working on expanding their skills and know-how. Others, however, are still hesitating because they don’t realize the huge potential of digitalization.

In general, IT service providers, consultancies and digital agencies all are willing to expand their portfolio, but they are lacking concrete plans and experts. To remain competitive, IT service providers increasingly acquire digital agencies to expand their portfolio. Examples for this development are Accenture, Cognizant, IBM and Wipro.

Customer centricity is the way to go

Undoubtedly, B2C companies are already farther ahead with the digitalization of customer interfaces and the implementation of digital products. However, B2B companies are picking up pace.

Especially IoT and Industry 4.0 projects as well as automation of process chains are important factors of digital company growth.

Luenendonk furthermore expects budget reallocations from digital operation excellence projects to customer centricity projects; as more and more companies are completing digital transformation efforts.

E-3 Magazine May 2018 (German)

About the author

Mario Zillmann, Luenendonk

Mario Zillmann is a partner of Luenendonk and an expert in management and IT consulting as well as outsourcing.

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