Whether you own a B2B company, a beauty salon, or an eCommerce store, it’s important to stay on top of new technologies and develop new strategies that will drive more sales and grow your business.
But have you calculated customer experience into your equation for success?
If not, this is the perfect time to do it.
In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about customer centricity to help you understand the importance of a customer-centric mindset in a business environment.
- What a customer-centric mindset is
- Why should you care about it
- Seven reasons to put your customers first
- How to be more customer-centric in your business
- Key takeaways on a customer-centric approach
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What is a customer-centric mindset?
A customer-centric mindset is a foundation of a business strategy that can help you:
- Put your customers first
- Personalize your offers
- Provide an excellent customer experience
- Make your customers feel special
- Nurture strong, long-term relationships
Just like thinking strategically helps you navigate through opportunities, own your decisions, and set realistic long-term goals, thinking in terms of customer centricity helps you walk in your customers’ shoes, empathize with their pain points, build trust and, in turn, have more happy customers.
To assess customer centricity in your business operations, start by answering these questions:
- Do you truly know your customers – who are they, what do they want, what don’t they want, why do they buy from you, and have they purchased from your competitors and why?
- Are your customers included in your business development process – do you regularly ask for their opinion on products/services, do you include them in research sessions, do you ask them about the usability of your website?
- Do you make decisions based on customers’ point-of-view – what problems need to be solved and in which way?
Why should you care about customer centricity?
Statistics show that businesses that invest in customer experience (CX) can double their revenue within 36 months.
This revenue growth would likely be generated by bigger amounts spent per purchase or by more customers coming back to the brand they are satisfied with.
To back up such an assumption with data, a PwC study found that:
- 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience
- 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience
- 65% of US consumers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising
In addition, the same study found that 70% of consumers worldwide say that speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service matter the most. On the other hand, 32% of consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
A positive customer experience can also significantly influence on-spot purchasing decisions. In fact, 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.
7 reasons to put your customers first
Putting your customers first and making customer centricity a hallmark of your company can help you build a stronger brand and increase customer satisfaction.
Here are the top seven reasons why you should adapt this approach.
1. You’ll discover more audience insights
Conducting audience research through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one sessions, video webinars, and website usability tests will help you learn more about your customers and the experience you provide.
Analyzing research results can help you discover more insights about your audience behavior, habits, restraints, objections, needs, wants, and expectations regarding your brand or particular products and services.
Once you know the reason behind your customers’ decisions, it is much easier for you to define an ideal customer profile and map out realistic experience maps, customer journeys, and service blueprints.
An experience map will help you paint a bigger picture and lay out general customer experience in your industry and niche.
A customer journey will help you visualize specific scenarios for specific personas in interaction with your products or services.
A service blueprint will help you map out the relationships between different product/service components at various points in a specific customer journey.
2. You’ll prioritize customers’ problems
When you gather all the insights and you have journey maps defined, it will be easier for you to pinpoint potential obstacles and difficulties your customers may experience in interaction with your brand.
For example, you might notice that some of the frequently asked questions can be addressed within your website copy to better inform your customers and avoid confusion.
Or, you could find out that the checkout process of your online store is too complicated and it’s creating a high cart abandonment rate.
Or, you could learn that your customers are not quite satisfied with the chat support because they find it hard to talk to chatbots with a predefined set of answers.
Why is all of this important for you?
Discovering the exact problems your customers are facing will help you reorganize and regroup your resources to deal with the most important issues first. That way, you’ll be able to meet and – quite possibly – exceed customer expectations.
3. You’ll level up your customer service teamwork
No one in your company is better informed about customer issues than your Customer Service team. That’s why you should always include them in your audience research sessions.
If customers aren’t satisfied with something or they find some of your processes challenging, your Customer Service team will be the first to know.
Talk to your colleagues and go through call, email, and chat logs to learn as much as possible about issues you could fix and processes you could improve.
Leveling up the customer service teamwork will make a significant difference in terms of customer success and help you take a big step toward adapting a customer-centric approach in your company.
4. You’ll boost your customer satisfaction rate
When you put your customers first and show genuine interest in the challenges they come across before, during, or after the purchase of your products or services, it will inevitably increase your customer satisfaction rate.
This approach will also help you use your audience voice in key brand messages to make your customers relate to your brand more easily and make them feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
A customer-centric approach will help you personalize:
- Website content
- Blog posts
- Landing pages
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
- Marketing messages
- Help and FAQ documents
- Technical documentation
- Onboarding materials
- Audio and video content
By personalizing messages, you’ll make every customer feel special and taken care of. That’s exactly what can help you boost your customer satisfaction rate even more.
5. You’ll see an increase in customer lifetime value
A customer-centric approach will help you think about long-term gains. It will also help you avoid making decisions about your customers’ needs without taking their point-of-view into consideration.
Your customers will most likely appreciate your company for not neglecting their perspective. In turn, they’ll keep coming back to you.
This approach can help you:
- Build trust
- Grow customer loyalty
- Increase the number of returning customers
Besides improving your customer retention rate, having a strong base of loyal customers will help you increase the overall customer lifetime value as well.
6. You’ll build strong relationships with customers
When you put your customers first, ask for their opinion, understand their problems, and invest your resources in improving the quality of customer experience and support, your customers will inevitably recognize your brand as useful, reliable, and worth their time and money.
Not only will a customer-centric approach help you grow loyalty and increase satisfaction, but it will also help you build stronger bonds and nurture long-lasting relationships with your customers.
Crafting long-term relationships will help you define your customer experience strategy and execute your plan to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Remember: You’re not the one who evaluates the quality of your customer experience, your customers are.
You may think you provide the most exquisite experience, but if your customers have a different perception and they feel their needs aren’t being met, there will be a gap that needs to be addressed.
To avoid such a gap, start asking your customers what they think, what they expect and how they feel about your brand. Once you have all the answers, act upon them. Listening to and understanding your customers will help you build quality long-term relationships with them.
7. You’ll make better-informed decisions
Try to include customers in your research as often as possible and make them part of the solution.
For example, you can conduct usability testing to include customers in your web design process or interview them for in-store and online shopping experiences.
When you make research-based decisions and stay focused on desired outcomes from the customer’s perspective, it will be easier for you to notice potential issues at each step and find a way to fix them.
Try to monitor customer interactions consistently. It can be calls or chat logs, complaints and comments on social media, or any other channel of communication. Monitor your performance in all of these places.
Then, gather all your sales, product, web, and call-center metrics together and start analyzing and synthesizing data from various channels. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the experience your customers are expecting and measure your success.
When you integrate all your customer data, it will be easier for everyone in your company to see the real image of your relationship with customers and act upon its improvement if necessary.
Gathering all your data in one place is much easier if you run a small or medium-sized business, but it’s not a mission impossible for a large organization either. Whatever the case, this is going to be one of the most important steps in adapting a customer-centric mindset.
How to be more customer-centric
To implement a customer-centric approach and align it with business, marketing, sales, and web strategies, start with talking to your target audience, collecting customer feedback, creating customer journeys, and defining your customer experience strategy.
To enhance your customer experience and grow your business even more, you need to:
- Listen to your customers
- Truly understand their perspective
- Create more accessible products/services
- Anticipate customer problems
- Present the right solution at the right time
- Create an efficient onboarding process
- Personalize marketing messages
- Provide proactive customer support
- Look beyond the purchase
- Measure customer success
In addition, always strive to make your product or service fast, reliable, consistent, and – most importantly – try to make real connections with your customers and show true empathy and understanding for the issues they are facing.
To make this happen, you’ll need to build resilient teams and consistently invest in new ways of working. According to the Digital IQ research from PwC, to be among the 5% of the most successful businesses in 2020 – also known as Transcenders – you should make your people your superpower.
According to this research, executives from the top-performing companies around the world say that their employees are more innovative and more active in driving business forward.
Also, 63% of Transcenders spend more time in providing the next-level training that will attract and keep the best talent, help their teams learn new skills, and motivate them to grow together with the company.
Key takeaways on a customer-centric approach
To sum it up and answer the question of why you should apply a customer-centric approach to your everyday business operations, here are the top seven reasons:
- You’ll discover more audience insights
- You’ll prioritize your customers’ problems
- You’ll level up your customer service teamwork
- You’ll boost your customer satisfaction rate
- You’ll see an increase in customer lifetime value
- You’ll build long-term relationships with your customers
- You’ll make better-informed decisions
To get the most out of customer centricity, you need to align your customer experience strategy with your overall business strategy, as well as with sales, marketing, and web strategies.
Start monitoring, storing, and analyzing customer transactions to gain as much insight as possible and find the best possible solutions for your customer satisfaction.
Simply put, provide an excellent experience to your customers and they’ll be happy to buy more from you, share their experience with friends and come back to your brand over and over again.
Originally published Aug 12, 2020, updated Sep 29, 2021