You’ve heard it all before, “The customer comes first. The customer is always right.” The customer is securely in the driving seat. Period. Companies that put the customer at the heart of their organization are experiencing an increase in customer lifetime value, attrition, and overall profitability. So, how do you get your company to be customer-centric?
A customer-centric approach of doing business provides a positive experience before and after the sale to drive repeat business, enhance customer loyalty, and improve business growth. You need to learn the customer journey and establish a goal of providing a branded experience before, during, and after each transaction. But to be effective, this needs to be a company-wide effort.
Customer centricity is not a single role or the function of a separate department within the company. The mindset of customer-centricity has to be innate to your company culture, starting with the executive team and trickling down in a way that enables a proper organizational structure, investments, and monitoring. While each group will maintain its individual goals, there is an essential need to establish company-wide objectives as well. Every department should be held to the same standards and customer metrics.
Executing a successful customer-centric strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming a truly customer-centric company takes time, but you can start small. We share four best practices to becoming a customer-centric company.
1. Define the Business Scope – Customer-centric companies work to understand customer problems and deliver genuine solutions. In order to do this, you must evaluate your company’s goals, strengths, and weaknesses. By assessing what you do well, you can streamline your focus to add customer value and, more importantly, leave the rest to external partners and technology. At the end of the day, customers build their perceptions of a brand based on every part of a company and expect consistent and predictable interactions across internal organizational boundaries and channels.
Customer-centric companies know that it is not enough to be responsive, knowledgeable, efficient, and logical; they must also demonstrate these capabilities to their customers on-demand, at a transaction level, in order to gain their trust. It is also essential to define your organization’s vision and what it stands for. Make a promise with purpose so your customers know what to expect. This message needs to be learned and lived by every employee in your company, making sure the entire organization understands this vision and works toward its goals.
2. Know your Customer – Customer-centric companies develop a holistic view of individual customer’s interactions and experiences over the course of their relationship. Knowing your customer is critical for business success, so focus on building that innate understanding of your customer profile and relating it to the entire organization.
Every department and touchpoint needs the same overarching view of the customer and should interact with them in a manner consistent with the company vision. Data insights can help create a defined picture of your ideal customer, but the next step is to leverage that understanding and create messaging that connects with that profile on a personal level.
3. Get into a Single Mindset – Alignment across all departments is not just important, it is imperative. Without a cohesive plan of interaction, any customer-centric initiative is doomed to fail. Have a clear understanding of how each department touches the customer and in what ways. The tone and message need to be consistent, otherwise, consumers will get a disjointed sense of your company’s brand and culture.
Customer-centric companies empower their employees with the authority and accountability to take action and address customers’ needs at every point of contact. This allows the employee to make better judgments and quickly solve problems within their specific context. Also, customer-centric companies strive for efficiency in their processes to increase speed and satisfaction. They recognize the need to tailor operations and performance based on customer characteristics, such as customer lifetime value.
4. Align on Customer KPIs – Customer-centric companies understand that the effective execution of their strategy is deeply dependent on having the right information at the right time. This requires the capture, management, and analysis of relevant data to create business and customer value. The overall company-wide performance indicators determine how each department supports the bigger picture. If each group is measured differently and rewarded on individual department goals, the customer will, unfortunately, always come second or third. Customer value, customer engagement, and customer retention goals, can all be used as tools to measure a company’s success.
There’s no denying that a customer-centric approach is crucial to a company’s success. Research by Deloitte found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer. It is absolutely essential to determine the customer profile, establish key customer metrics and performance indicators for success, and restructure any department accordingly to ensure company alignment with the customer. When the customer feels involved and valuable, you’ll know you’ve reached your goal, and secured business growth.
DuartePino is a management advisory firm that combines in-depth customer knowledge with practical expertise in marketing communications to help clients create sustainable business growth. We can provide your organization with a fresh perspective, a proven process that invests in the outcome, and the tools for successful execution. From Fractional CMOs to business advisory services, contact us to learn how our team can help with growth strategies for your organization.