Research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable than companies that do not focus on the customer. But the CMO Council reports that only 14% of marketers believe that customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies. What is customer centricity, and why are so many companies failing to include it in their practices? Today we’re going to explore this and discuss ways to make your business more customer-centric.
Customer-centric means doing business with your customer to provide a positive customer experience before and after sales, driving repeat business, profits, and customer loyalty. This may seem like an obvious and integral part of any business, but it’s often left out. Most companies are product focused and sales-driven instead of customer-focused. Meaning they can miss important aspects of the customer’s experience that determine how satisfied a customer is. Customer centricity means offering a great experience at every stage of the customer’s journey, from awareness to purchasing and post-purchase processes. Customer-centric businesses focus on giving their customers the best experience they can.
So, where do companies go wrong? Departments of companies are often in information silos, with customer data being available to a select few (ex. Marketing and sales) when every aspect of a company can affect the customer experience. At Adobe Systems, listening stations were set up where employees can listen to customer calls to better understand the customers themselves. In addition to the listening stations, Adobe Systems includes updates on the company’s customer experience in each and every-employee meeting.
Another way companies miss out on opportunities to improve customer experience is by hiring with empathy in mind, meaning hiring people who can empathize with a customer’s needs and feelings. At Hootsuite, they hire with customer orientation in mind. During the job interview process, every candidate, regardless of the role they’re interviewing for, is asked a question to test their customer orientation skills, ensuring they hire customer-centric minded people and making it clear to applicants that the customer should be top of mind.
So how can you make your business more customer-focused? Check out these 5 steps to being more customer focused.
5 Steps To a Customer-Focused Company:
1. Think Like Your Customer: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and view your business from their perspective. This outside-in approach helps you focus on the motivations and needs of the customer.
2. Deal With NEEDS, Not WANTS: Customer-centric companies understand what customers need and focus on delivering that. Ford didn’t give customers a faster horse-drawn carriage. He gave them a faster way to get people and things from point A to Point B.
3. Provide Solutions, Not Just Products and Services: What problems do your products and services solve? By focusing on solutions, you can ensure that the long-term customer experience is the best it can be.
4. Focus on Customer Lifetime Value: By focusing on a customer’s lifetime value, the importance of retaining customers long-term is clear. It’s profitable and less expensive than acquiring more new customers while losing a high volume of customers along the way. When you identify key customers (whether they’re large clients or clients who refer lots of new business) and focus on CLV, you can maximize your relationship with your key customers and use that knowledge and experience to help grow your business.
5. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive: Customer-focused companies chase the customer and waste effort trying to please everyone, customer-centric companies focus on core customer groups by identifying needs and solving problems. This strategic approach encourages a business to work with customers.
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