29th November 2019 How to become a more customer-centric business

A customer-centric company is more than a company that offers a good service, important as that may be. It’s a way of doing business that provides a positive customer experience throughout the customer journey from pre to post-sale in order to drive customer loyalty, satisfaction and referrals for more customers.

A great way to start the process is to appreciate, understand and take account of what it’s like to be one of your customers. Only then can you truly identify opportunities for improvement. The best way to achieve that is to become your customer and experience the same journey, from establishing a need to searching, buying, receiving and using the product or solution. Mapping the customer experience and discovering any pain points that need to be resolved will go a long way to providing greater customer satisfaction.

Whilst it might seem contradictory, in today’s digital age, there’s an even bigger expectation from customers for greater attention. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to give customers multiple ways to get in touch. Whilst making it difficult may mean you have less support calls to deal with, it’s short-sighted at best. Yet there are high profile examples of companies (especially those digitally built businesses) that make it very cumbersome in terms of accessibility. Customers don’t want to be kept on hold or fail to hear back on a query. Indeed, when it comes to repeat business, the customer is in pole position and you’ll want to ensure they buy again. After all, it costs 6 to 7 times more to attain a new customer than to retain an existing one and according to Marketing Metrics₁, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 per cent, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20 per cent. Indeed, the two most important customer-centric metrics are churn rate and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Calculating the latter is a great way to segment your customer data and establish the customer profile that creates the best return on investment. By studying loyal customers, you can build even stronger relationships and identify the factors that drive their buying behaviour.

Improvement through data analytics

Taking advantage of customer data and feedback is crucial. This requires frequent and regular communication with your customers. Collecting and analysing data across multiple channels requires the right tools and infrastructure. Data analytics can highlight meaningful patterns in customer and market behaviour to ensure you are effectively targeting the right customers whether they are existing or prospect. Analysis needs to be a combination of descriptive analytics (what happened), diagnostic analytics (why and how it happened) and predictive analytics (what will happen next). This will enable any issues to be resolved and improve the customer experience in the future. Meeting with customers still remains a great way to secure feedback as well as using surveys and social media. Of course, whilst it’s important to collect this data, it’s even more so to ensure that it’s used to provide an even better customer service and that the data is secure.

Company culture

However, creating a customer-centric approach, isn’t just about your customers. It requires a company culture that embraces going the extra mile for your customers and is fully supported by your employees. In turn, that requires keeping your employees happy, valuing them and giving them a voice that is heard and respected. It pays to reward those employees that contribute to a customer-centric success story or regularly provide great customer service either by verbal recognition or in some cases a more material gain. By establishing customer-centricity as a core value gives everyone in the organisation something to drive for.

Simply put, a customer-centric organisation places a premium on the customer and their experience with your product, solution or service.