How to be More Customer-Centric
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Customer-centricity is a philosophy and approach to business that puts the customer front and centre, but you already knew that. This article is going to dive into the customer-centric strategies that can help you achieve this.
So what does a customer-centric business strategy look like?
Well, it looks similar across different sectors and industries, though some variations exist depending on the specific company, customer base, and product or service that they offer.
Customer-centric strategies are built upon three core elements:
Listening to your customers
This is where you start from the beginning by understanding what your customers want and need. Then you design or redesign your products and services around their needs. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. You can also use a variety of tools to analyse your customers’ behaviour.
Focusing on customer experience
This is about how the customer feels when they interact with a company, whether that’s in person at an event or through their website and social media channels. It also means ensuring that everyone within a business has the same approach to putting the customer first, from HR to marketing to customer service.
Creating a community around your brand
This is where you encourage customers to connect with the company, whether through social media or special events. This helps create loyalty to the brand and can also help spread positive word-of-mouth.
Customer-centricity is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so the strategies used by businesses to become more customer-centric will vary. However, there are some general sales, marketing, and product strategies that all customer-centric businesses should consider.
Customer-centric sales strategies
A customer-centric sales strategy is all about putting the needs of your customers first. It can be difficult to implement, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you’re looking for ways to improve your sales strategy, here are a few tips that will help you get started.
- Developing a deep understanding of your customers - this is where you go beyond just understanding what they want and need, but delving into their motivations, challenges, and goals. This helps you personalise your interactions with them and create a more meaningful connection.
- Building a relationship with customers - this is all about creating trust and loyalty with your customers over time by providing them with valuable content, insights, and offers. It also means being there for them when they need you (which can be before, during, or after the sale).
- Focusing on customer retention - as mentioned earlier, it’s cheaper and more profitable to keep current customers than to acquire new ones. This is why retention should be a key focus of any sales strategy. There are many tactics you can use to achieve this, such as offering customer loyalty programmes, providing excellent customer service, and keeping track of customer behaviour so you can anticipate their needs.
Regarding sales, putting the customer first is always the best strategy. By taking the time to understand your customers and build strong relationships with them, you’ll be able to increase sales and profits in the long run. So focus on customer retention, provide excellent service, and personalise your interactions - and watch your business grow!
Customer-centric marketing strategies
Marketing is all about creating relationships with customers and building loyalty. To do this, businesses need to adopt a customer-centric approach. This means putting the customer first and making their needs the top priority. There are many different marketing strategies that you can use to be more customer-centric, but here are some of the most important ones.
- Creating valuable content - this is one of the most important aspects of customer-centric marketing. It’s about creating content that is interesting, relevant, and useful to your customers. This helps you build trust and loyalty with them over time, and makes it more likely that they will become repeat customers or refer you to others.
- Connecting with your audience - this is where you use different marketing channels to connect and engage with a variety of customer groups, whether that’s through social media, email newsletters, events like webinars and meetups, etc. The key here is to do whatever it takes (for as long as it takes) to connect with your target customers.
- Reaching customers on their terms - as customer preferences and habits change, so too should your marketing strategy. This means personalising campaigns to an individual level or even creating tailored offers based upon a person’s previous purchases.
When done correctly, customer-centric marketing can be a powerful way to build loyalty and create long-term relationships with customers. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your marketing strategy, start by focusing on your customers and putting their needs first.
Customer-centric product strategies
Sales and Marketing can survive without being completely customer-centric, but product strategies MUST be customer-centric to succeed. This means that the product team must always put themselves in the customer’s shoes, and ask themselves how they can improve the customer experience with every decision they make.
Achieving customer-centricity through product strategies usually starts with the CEO and CTO, but must involve input from all parts of the company - including design, engineering, ops, and marketing. The goal is to have everyone working together to create a product strategy that meets customer needs both now and in the future.
There are three key ways to create a customer-centric product strategy: understand your customers, design for them, and involve them in the process.
Understand your customers
The first step in creating a customer-centric product strategy is to understand your customers. This includes understanding their needs, wants, and frustrations. You can do this by studying your customer data, conducting interviews and focus groups, and using customer feedback channels like surveys and feedback forms.
Design for them
The second step is to design your products for your customers. This means designing a customer experience that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations. You can do this by using customer journey maps, designing prototypes, and conducting user research.
Involve them in the process
The third step is to involve your customers in the product development process. This means giving them a voice and letting them help shape the product. You can do this by using customer feedback channels, beta testing, and co-creation workshops.
The best way to create a customer-centric product strategy is to use all three of these methods together. This will ensure that you have a deep understanding of your customers, that your products are designed for them, and that they have a voice in the development process.
3 common challenges businesses face getting to customer-centricity
There are three common challenges businesses face when trying to become customer-centric: Lack of leadership commitment, lack of customer-centric culture, and siloed organisational structures.
Lack of leadership commitment
Many times, the top executives in a company don’t truly buy into the idea of customer-centricity. They may see it as a passing trend or something that is only necessary for certain industries. As a result, these executives don’t make customer-centricity a priority and the rest of the organisation falls behind.
Solution: Customer Experience KPIs. One way to overcome this challenge is to tie customer-centricity metrics to management roles and rewards. This creates a sense of ownership among executives and makes it clear that customer-centricity is a key priority for the company.
Lack of customer-centric culture
Even if leadership is on board with customer-centricity, the company may not have the right culture to support it. When employees aren’t rewarded for customer-centric behaviours or aren’t held accountable when they don’t meet customer needs, the culture will eventually kill any attempts at customer-centricity.
Solution: Employee feedback and engagement surveys. These can be used to identify where customer-centricity is being encouraged and rewarded, as well as areas that are falling short.
Siloed organisational structures
Customer experience is the responsibility of everyone in an organisation, but often the different departments within a company focus on their own objectives instead of working towards the overall goal. When each department focuses only on itself, this can create conflict and tension between teams and make it difficult for the organisation to be customer-centric.
Solution: Cross-functional teams. The best way to solve these challenges is by creating cross-functional teams. Having people from different areas work together ensures that the focus of customer-centricity can be maintained at all levels in an organisation.
These challenges are not insurmountable, but they do require a concerted effort from leadership and the entire organisation to overcome. With the right tools and processes in place, any company can become customer-centric and reap the benefits that come with it.