October 27, 2022

Why is being a customer-centric company more important now than ever?

With one in three customers leaving a brand after just one bad experience, companies are finding it more and more challenging to create and maintain a consistent customer base. Leaders realise that attracting a higher volume of customers and retaining them for longer necessitates more than just high-quality products and services. They need to optimise the entire journey from the first interaction to brand advocacy.

Loyalty-building customer experiences are created by customer-centric companies. That means the whole organisation is guided by and focused on fulfilling customer needs. This level of focus is essential because today's consumers have higher expectations, with instant technology, efficient customer service, and personalised experiences being the norm. 

80% of American consumers believe speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive experience. To attain a competitive advantage, businesses must be willing to deliver above and beyond throughout the customer lifecycle. 

With the need to create a streamlined, attentive and compelling customer experience clear, what does this actually look like?

Many companies claim to be customer-centric because they believe they are meeting the needs of their customers. However, customer-centric commitment runs much deeper than developing a product that solves a problem. Genuinely customer-centric companies act according to these principles.

Characteristics of a customer-centric company

Many companies claim to be customer-centric because they believe they are meeting the needs of their customers. However, customer-centric commitment runs much deeper than developing a product that solves a problem. Genuinely customer-centric companies act according to these principles.

Embrace customer-centricity at a company level

This isn't just a marketing strategy or public statement. The whole organisation should act with the customer at the forefront. The focus on customer service is apparent from the product development department to the sales team. This value then reflects in the company's practices, systems and strategies.

Proactively anticipate customer needs

Companies that provide what their customers didn't know they needed serve them to the highest level. These organisations investigate potential problems to develop solutions that suit their customer avatar perfectly. This ensures their service is ahead of the curve. Reactively waiting to be told of customer needs puts an organisation on the back foot. 

Gather feedback and learn about customers

The ability to anticipate needs comes from a constant interest in the customer. What are their priorities, problems, behaviours and preferences? How does this relate to the business's products and area of expertise? Customer exploration can be conducted through surveys and other feedback-gathering tools, technologically-powered research, tracking and data analysis.

Easy and helpful communication

Companies must be readily available when their customers need them to provide the best customer service possible. Voicing questions, concerns and problems shouldn't feel like a battle. Companies that are responsive to customers reaching out maintain loyalty because it shows customers that they are more than just a sale. You care beyond the money made.

What does this mean in practice? These characteristics are then translated into customer-centric action to ensure a company is best positioned to meet the needs of its customers. 

Core actions of a customer-centric company

The benefits of being a customer-centric organisation are only gained when aligned action is taken. So, to accelerate success by prioritising customers, consider taking these actions. 

Create a customer-centric culture

This starts with unifying all internal communications at a company level to ensure employees at all levels and departments have the same focus: the customer. Adding customer-centricity to the values of the business sets a precedent. 

The message then needs to be translated into the practices of the company. For example, working towards increased customer satisfaction by striving to resolve customer queries at first contact, creating free valuable content and investing in product innovation. It is also seen externally in terms of how customers are treated when interacting with the brand and its messaging. 

Leverage customer-centric technology 

Businesses need the infrastructure in place to serve customers better. Technology has the potential to improve communication and touchpoints in the customer journey. For example, emails or text messages with updates, advice and valuable information elevates the customer experience and require technology to run smoothly. 

Having multiple channels of communication gives customers the power of choice and preference. Ensuring any bots or automation are as personable as possible makes the interaction efficient and friendly. 

A clearer picture of customers is created through effective data collection and analysis. Automating these processes allows more accurate conclusions to be drawn quicker for businesses. There are many more examples of how digital transformation expands a company's capabilities in serving its customers.

Adapt goals for customer success

Goals unite teams and organisations, so for customer-centricity to be fully embraced, all goals need to be positioned around customer success. A proclivity to push products, sales and profits can lead to short-term success. Still, it restricts the business's longevity due to damaged customer relationships. 

Motivating employees to help customers achieve the best results for them prevents any product pushing. For example, offering options for different budgets or free training to meet customers where they're at and allow them to purchase what they feel is right for them. 

Should companies implement customer-centricity?

For decades, the focus of businesses has been on their own success. Product-centricity was the norm. As the environment and consumers have changed over time, businesses are held to higher expectations. Delivering value beyond making a sale creates the edge that today's customers look for when making long-term alliances with companies. Customer-centricity is the way forward and requires the commitment to change company practices significantly. 

Why should your customers be loyal to you?

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