Customer centricity and brand competitiveness go hand-in-hand. After all, what reason are you giving customers to stick with you if your business isn’t centered on catering to their wants and needs?
To be competitive and ensure continued customer loyalty, it’s necessary to create a robust picture of who your customers are in order to develop every aspect of your business around them. You need to know why each customer chooses to purchase from you and what it is they value about your company. It is precisely this information that will make your business competitive.
Specifically, you need to focus your attention on the four key attributes of a customer-centric business:
- Knowing your customers - understanding their lifestyle, values, and needs.
- Developing a customer-centric business strategy - planning your business around a deep understanding of who your customers are.
- Creating the right culture – making sure employees live and breathe customer centricity.
- Working with the right customer metrics – making sure your KPIs take into account all customer interactions.
There’s no question that companies which understand their customers and, importantly, can demonstrate their understanding, come out ahead. Deloitte and Touche have found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those not focused on the customer, which explains why 63% of CEO’s see rallying their organizations around the customer as a top investment priority. These companies are at the forefront of driving dramatic changes to business operating models, models which are redefining the relationship businesses have with their customers.
Creating a Customer Centric Business Model Isn’t Easy
Although customer centricity seems like the obvious, logical road to take, there are still a lot of companies which struggle to implement customer-centric best practices. Adobe reports that for most marketers customer centricity is an aspirational goal but not yet a reality due to the fact that 70% have no ability to integrate customer data between online and offline sources, 80% don’t apply customer value metrics, and 74% are unable to assist customers in real time.
Being customer centric requires creating a smooth experience – from the pre-purchase awareness stage through transaction to post-purchase follow-up – which focuses solely on delighting the customer, an experience which takes time and effort to implement.
A customer centric business model must be built on a deep understanding of your customers, what they value, and how they contribute to the profitability of your business, a model which can be achieved by focusing on three specific areas:
1/ Designing business processes that recognize different customer segment needs
Customers are different and, as such, they expect to be targeted with messages that fit their unique needs, likes, and dislikes; they expect the right products to find them. Working with data highlighting the needs of different groups of customers, you will be better able to match the right message to the right group. The benefits of adopting this more targeted, personalized marketing approach can’t be overstated: 39% of marketers who segment their email lists experience higher open rates, 28% experience lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experience better deliverability and greater revenue.
2/ Delivering a positive and seamless customer experience at every touch point across the customer life cycle
How easy it is for customers to do business with you is a key differentiator. Customers expect things to be easy and when they have to expend more effort than they expect, they leave. In fact, Siegel and Gale have found the world’s simplest brands – the ones easiest to deal with – have outperformed the average global stock index by 170% since 2009. To create an effortless experience, start by asking customers how easy is it for them to do business with you and, specifically, which obstacles and barriers you need to remove to create a more seamless experience.
3/ Promoting a culture that places the customer at the heart of the decision-making process
Not long ago, Forbes laid out the most important factors needed to create a customer centric culture, factors which included: (1) articulating your central philosophy in just a few meaningful words; (2) continually reinforcing your commitment to this philosophy; and (3) training, supporting, and hiring to enforce your philosophy. In other words, in order for a customer centric culture to be truly effective and sustainable, it must have a clear sense of the customer experience it wants to deliver and constantly reinforce that experience throughout its organization. Everyone must take responsibility for ensuring its delivery.
Overcoming Obstacles to Customer Centricity
Ninety percent of marketers say that customer individualization is a priority; the more personal the approach, the greater the chance of a positive response. At the same time, they say that customer centricity cannot just be the domain of marketers. Creating true customer centricity requires the efforts of every team player in every department which, according to one study, is the reality for only 12% of businesses.
Even though the road to implementing a customer-centric culture can be tough and take time, there is no reason why you can’t achieve it. With the right planning, your customer centric operating model can succeed.