Being customer-centric today is non-negotiable – here’s how to do it

One of the first steps to becoming a customer-focused business is a change in mindset and not something tantamount to window-dressing or being superficial – it requires that business leaders place the customer at the centre of everything that is done.

“This means making the customer’s needs and wants a priority,” says CRS Technologies General Manager Ian McAlister. “Their needs should be ahead of those of your business, and there is no room for egos and self-indulgence. So, we follow and endorse the message that mindset and behaviour change in the business must be done with the goal to be on a journey with the customer, to change your business model and service portfolio to advance the goals and desires of the customer.”

The days of a customer simply being a number and source of revenue are over. COVID-19 and disruption to supply chains mean businesses are operating in an entirely different market, one in which the customer experience and customer focus are paramount to survival.

Entrepreneurs must understand that in today’s digital, consumer-driven economy, it is simply not ‘business as usual’ and they have to adapt or they will inevitably close shop.

Human capital management specialist CRS Technologies is a progressive business that understands why customer focus is so important and how to change the mindset and behaviour of employees to reflect this understanding.

CRS Technologies learns every day from a substantial global customer base. The company also understands that there are a variety of reasons why people move from one supplier to another, and mostly it is because certain needs weren’t met, service failed to meet expectations, or there were personality clashes with consultants.

“Our message to the market is that over 38 years in operation, we haven’t lost many clients, but enough to be cognisant of the input received from our customers across the globe. This input is the foundation of our technology offering,” says McAlister. “It’s what our customers need, not what we think they should be buying.”

CRS Technologies has tailored its technology portfolio to address the needs of today’s human resource, payroll, time and attendance, and human capital management requirements.

Its portfolio includes newly developed software launched internationally as Engage, providing international clients with a localised version anywhere in as quickly as four weeks.

Engage is a SaaS solution which eliminates hardware infrastructure costs (unless required, in which case the company implements a hybrid or on-premise version). CRS Technologies integrates with Microsoft, SAP, Workday, Sage and the Oracle stack using the secure Azure platform.

McAlister adds that a unique feature of the solution is that every payroll function has been automated to its fullest extent.  “This eliminates costly human error,” he says.

What a market-leading company like CRS Technologies demonstrates to the market is that while any business can benefit from robust, effective technology infrastructure and service, the difference is in service level. It is really about the quality of the service provider and whether or not it is actually part of the customer journey.

“In other words, the service provider understands and embraces customer focus,” says McAlister.

Any business today has an opportunity to leapfrog their competitors by being customer-centric, ensuring that every process, every facet of operation, every aspect of the business is designed to help the customer, make life easier and benefit them.

“It’s not only going to mean being competitive, agile, attracting other business partners, but also retaining customers and attracting new ones. Research underlines mutual engagement that involves the business actually stepping into the shoes of their customers, honestly understanding their situation and the role they can play in adding benefit to customers,” McAlister adds.

Mindset change

Business owners and staff have to keep this mindset in place when they complete their daily tasks, especially when it comes to engagement with the customer.  The website puts it succinctly and effectively: “Putting yourself in the customers’ situations and viewing things from their perspective is important because it helps us better understand the customer and what is likely to form the right solution for him/her.” places the situation in perspective from a service supply chain standpoint.  They apply the principles of customer focus to that of supplier development or the process of working with certain suppliers on a one-to-one basis to improve their performance for the benefit of the buying organisation.

“There are advantages to supplier development programmes and rollout,” says McAlister. “And the same principles apply – whether it’s a business to customer or consumer, or large enterprise dealing with suppliers. There must always be a willingness, a desire to achieve the best possible outcome for the customer or purchaser. lists some of the advantages as full transparency, collaboration, streamlined processes, improved quality and improved supplier responsiveness. But, it really does boil down to the same thing – a customer focus principle, whether structured to a supplier programme or a simple policy change within a small business, will secure a return on the investment in time and resources. It is certainly worth all the effort.”