Today, creating a customer-centric culture has never been so critical. With the rise of social media and customers who are more vocal than ever, providing anything but excellent service can put your brand at risk.
Although historically customers have always been number one for businesses, creating a customer-centric culture is a much deeper approach to ensuring a great experience. It is putting a larger focus on the wants and needs of the customer and listening to feedback so you can make more informed decisions based on what you learn.
In order to help you foster a successful customer-centric culture, we’re defining what it means to be customer-centric, it’s importance, and how you can incorporate customer centricity into your business model.
What Does It Mean To Be Customer-Centric?
Being customer-centric means putting the customer at the forefront of business strategy, operation, and service. It means truly understanding all facets of the customer through previous experience, qualitative research, quantitative research, and then providing an exceptional service or product based on that insight.
Businesses who are customer-centric consider customers their most important asset and their greatest opportunity for growth.
Why Is Customer Centricity Important?
Regardless of the industry, customer centricity plays an important role in building a flourishing business. Here we outline the three biggest benefits that you can experience when becoming more customer-centric.
Reduce Customer Churn
Customer churn, as many know, is one of the biggest drains on business revenue. Not only does it cost a business future purchases from a specific customer, but it’s proven to be 2 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.
When you become more customer-centric, you start to base the product and the entire experience around customer needs. You commit to making them happy, which puts you in the customer’s good graces. By constantly listening and implementing change when needed, you reduce churn, increase customer retention and maximize revenue.
Builds Brand Advocates
Brand advocates are one of the most pivotal aspects of brand success. They’re the people who rave about your business to others and will come to your establishment time after time. When you become more customer-centric, customers recognize your effort and will reward you by making positive remarks to others. The more great experiences, the more amazing things people will have to say about your brand.
Opportunities for Growth
As customers evolve so should your business. By becoming customer-centric, you listen to customers who can pinpoint opportunities for growth. This helps you understand your business as a whole in addition to the tactics or practices you can adopt to provide great customer service.
How Do You Create A Customer-Centric Strategy?
Having a customer-centric strategy has a lot of benefits that can take your business to the next level. If you’re convinced a customer-centric strategy is for you, in this portion we break down the steps to building a customer-centric culture.
Hire Based On The Customer Experience
Creating a great customer experience starts by building a stellar team. Having people who are positive, professional and consistently put the customer first, can really set the stage for a great brand experience.
When hiring team members, make sure to ask probing questions about their values to see if they align with your brand and your ideal customer. In addition, try to visualize them in an everyday setting with your company by incorporating a less formal interview into the hiring process. An informal interview will show a personal side that will help you determine if they are someone who will put the customer first.
Remember, your team can dictate the entire brand experience for your customer, so it is important you hire with your customer and values in mind.
Insert Customer-Centricity Into All Aspects Of Your Business.
A customer-centric business shouldn’t be a focus for your front line team only. It should be a priority for each department in your business.
Whether they are team members who work in the back end or are management level, everyone should be trained on the value of putting the customer first. This ensures that the products or services being offered are crafted with the customer in mind. As an example, if a developer at your company is familiar with your customers and constantly has them in mind, they can offer valuable suggestions to better tailor your program to the customer. In addition, if you own a restaurant and your chef is familiar with the customer, they can tailor menu items and make suggestions to better the experience.
When all aspects of the company are focused on the customer, your service/product offerings become that much better.
Collecting Customer Feedback
In any customer-centric strategy, obtaining feedback is an absolute necessity. After all, you can’t cater to a customer’s needs without understanding what they want.
When obtaining feedback it’s important that you take into consideration the ways in which you can optimize your response rate to get the best insight possible. The first step would be to offer multiple touch points to obtain feedback like in-store kiosks, social channels, SMS text, and so on. By being available on the customer’s terms, you increase the likelihood of a response which leads to better insight and more informed decisions for your customer-centric strategy.
In addition, we would suggest asking a variety of question types like multiple choice and long-form. This way a customer isn’t limited by just multiple choice and isn’t overwhelmed by an entirely long-form questionnaire.
Through the use of feedback surveys, you can gain insight, straight from the source on your experience so you can further enhance it for success.
Incentivized And Reward
A great way to not only instill a customer-centric culture but also engage your employees in the workplace is to set customer service expectations, consistently measure them, and finally reward employees who meet those expectations.
Rewards can be tangible or they can be as simple as recognition at team meetings. Whatever you choose, having rewards offers them an incentive to go above and beyond as well as initiate some friendly work competition. Rewards and recognition also allow team members who are doing poorly to see where they are lacking and catch sight of the benefits of stepping up their service quality.
A method to make rewarding your team members easier is using a engagement and measurement solution. A platform like Loop, for example, can offer management visibility into various aspects of the customer service experience that can hold many departments accountable for their actions. Aspects such as cleanliness, food quality, and customer service can be ranked to provide management with overperforming departments and underperforming departments.
In addition, a platform like Loop can offer management visibility into individual performance by ranking customer conversations and quality of request fulfillment. These analytics can help guide you in providing an experience that has the customer top of mind.
Reinforce Values Consistently
Even though you have set expectations for your team during the onboarding process, it is vital that you consistently remind teams of customer experience expectations and values, to achieve optimal results.
Employees over time can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday business life and put customer centricity on the back burner. To constantly drive a culture focused on customers, take time out of their day to send a friendly reminder. For instance, if it is part of your company culture to hold daily huddles or weekly management meetings, make sure to spend some time highlighting a few key values and why they are important. In addition, make it a priority to lead by example by having management showcase examples of customer centricity daily for team members to follow.
Customers today dictate the buying experience, which means catering to them and keeping them top of mind is essential. By practicing these top tactics you’ll always put the customer first and be on your way to developing a powerful customer-centric company.