We’ve entered a new era where the traditional predictors of growth — productivity and efficiency — no longer suffice. Today, customers hold the cards, driving the sales process and how they interact with your brand. If companies truly want to accelerate their business growth, they need to know their customers as people, not transactions, before they can drive deeper engagement.

84% of companies believe that customer engagement will overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth. This means that companies must make the most of the “moments” that occur between the organization and its customers.

Regardless of the channel (email, phone, website, social media), a customer must walk away from any encounter with your company with a better impression than they had before. Positive customer moments drive repeat business. Poor customer moments, at best, drive customers to switch to your competitors; or at worst, lead them to broadcast their dissatisfaction via the social media megaphone.

In order to avoid this, companies have to be “customer-obsessed” of focused specifically on the digital experience your customers have with your brand. The first wave of customer service and CRM technology focused on automating customers and providing a single view of customers — in some ways reducing them to transactions. But the new wave of customer experience and digital disruption has pushed the process full circle, to the point where technology must now enable a personal, direct connection.

But switching from a transaction-based culture to a customer-obsessed one is no easy task. The best way to change is to pinpoint where you’re falling short. Here are a several signs that your company is mired in a transaction-based mentality:

  1. You think your customer service department owns the customer relationship. In reality, no one department “owns” the customer. Organizations need to reorganize around the idea that all employees share ownership of a series of customer moments. With each customer interaction, or moment, customers are forming an opinion about your brand, and companies need to capitalize on those moments to create satisfaction and further engagement.
  1. Your customers contact you only to be transferred between a series of reps. When you transfer customers you’re essentially exposing your departmental silos. This means that you don’t have a single view of your customer and your contact queues are determined by your organization setup rather than customer needs. Customer information and knowledge transfer must flow freely across departments to serve customers in the moment. Otherwise you may lose them.
  1. Your customers are giving you their information multiple times. If you’re making your customers provide account or other information more than once, it’s a sign of a non-collaborative environment. In a transactional environment, employees only exchange the minimum of customer information. There is no hand-off or collaboration point, so that your customers are frequently forced to repeat information that another department already collected. It means that your employees aren’t empowered with processes and tools to collaborate on customers’ needs quickly and efficiently — sales, product experts, marketing, customer service and other departments are keeping information to themselves.
  1. Your employees aren’t using mobile technology to engage customers.If you’re assuming that your customer interactions are only going to occur when employees are at their desks, you’re assuming that your customer will meet you on your terms. They won’t — they’ll meet you on their terms, and this may very well involve interacting with employees when they are out of their office. Therefore, they need to be able access the right information not only any time, but anywhere.
  1. You’re not responding to your customers on their channel of choice. If customers are able to communicate with you through the channel of their choosing – texting, social media, online chat, etc., the conversation will almost assuredly go better than if they’re forced to communicate another way. If your grandmother likes phone calls, do you force her to chat online or send an email? Of course not. Moreover, making customers go through your channels rather than theirs indicates inflexibility, another symptom of a siloed, transaction-based organization.
  1. You’re unaware of what customers are saying about your brand on social media. You may not be monitoring your brand on social channels, but your customers and prospects are. If you’re not, it’s a sign that you’re not thinking of them beyond the exchange of goods and services. All businesses, regardless of industry or size, are digital. Ignoring this new reality will result in a negative impact to your business.
  1. You aren’t measuring customer satisfaction and engagement. If you’re not proactively measuring and acting on the feedback of customers, it’s extremely unlikely that your company culture is concerned about building repeat business and lasting customer relationships. Customer engagement methodologies such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction surveys help focus your company around the idea that customers are Promoters, Passives, or Detractors. Customer relationships, like all relationships take work, and if you’re not giving your customer relationships attention they need and proactively working to earn your customer’s loyalty, your business will suffer.

Transaction-based companies are rigid and bureaucratic in nature. Customer-obsessed companies are agile and able to make quick changes necessary to remain engaged with customers. Customer-obsessed organizations look at their businesses differently, through the eyes of their customers. They then align their technology, processes, and employees around a culture that works tirelessly to produce the extraordinary customer moments that have the power to transform your business.