It is the age of market immediacy when customer expectations continue to expand. Given this reality, generating customer-centred solutions, and focusing on the people who consume our products and services, is critical to constantly innovating and remaining in the market.
The ongoing challenge is to find new ways to meet the intense and growing consumer expectations at the lowest cost. For this reason, the customer-centric experience is a topic of interest for companies in all sectors.
Talking about placing the consumer at the centre of actions and strategies is not only about making changes in our customer service or our services; it is necessary to involve the entire organization (products, brand, human resources and technology).
We must begin by understanding that an organization is an ecosystem and that, in this, each choice directly affects the consumer at some point. For this reason, clarity in the consumer’s journey ( customer journey ), that is, in their different interactions with the brand, is essential to move towards a holistic experience that contributes to their satisfaction and loyalty.
Taking the initiative to see through customers’ eyes is vital to solving today’s business challenges and, without a doubt, is a way to remain relevant in the market. Think that, in the end, your consumers are and will continue to be the reason for your organization’s existence.
Benefits of a customer-centred strategy
While every industry and business is different, there are a number of common benefits of being customer-centric for almost every organization. Here are some of them:
- A customer-centred culture benefits sales. Companies that support consumers when considering their options are more likely to close the sale. We still see unclear offers and flaws in their presentation on the market. This is an error that reduces the reliability of the organization and harms the client’s decision-making process.
- Helps reduce the costs of incidents and claims. Companies that ensure a clear and uncomplicated experience for customers can reduce their incident and claim costs, as well as increase the level of consumer satisfaction.
- Retain new customers through service. When a company offers support throughout its relationship with the consumer, it can increase the degree of satisfaction in the first sale. This, in turn, provides a long-term benefit: when customers understand the service and are supported by the company during the adoption of a new product, they feel greater trust in the brand in the long run.
- By involving the customer, you improve operational efficiency. Organizations whose strategy is to work with their users to ensure that value is developed jointly and by consumer needs can improve their operational efficiency.
At times, the experience’s efficiency depends on both the consumer and the company. If customers can carry out a transaction smoothly and orderly, the company can manage and deliver correctly; thus, the operation is satisfactory. Organizations must help users in this part of the conversion to achieve this balance through good service design.
- Allows you to recognize growth opportunities. An advantage of being consumer-centric is that it allows companies to recognize and take advantage of growth opportunities and unmet customer needs. Conducting surveys can provide valuable information to tackle problems in time or drive innovation.
- A customer-centred culture stands out from the competition. Consumers have many choices in the marketplace, so creating a unique, high-quality shopping experience can be just as crucial in keeping them coming back as the products themselves.
This is an area where small businesses can have an advantage over larger competitors if they can be flexible and adapt to each customer’s particular needs.
First steps to building and driving a customer-centric culture
Building and promoting a customer-centred culture is a whole process. But, although it sounds like a monumental task, you have the possibility of taking specific steps that can have an impact in a short time. Here are some very simple ones:
Include the client in strategic conversations with your work teams. Start with the simple question, “Have we discussed this with the customer?” it’s a powerful way to start changing behaviour by putting the consumer at the centre of the action.
Empower talent. As we have seen in the previous point, simplicity in the change of mentality focused on the client is key. In this step, rather than embed questioning into existing processes and routines, business leaders need to be empowered to drive teams to not only question but to embrace customer evidence-seeking to support their actions within their processes.
Study cases of success and failure. A handy tool to convince yourself of the impact of a customer-centred mentality is to learn about success and failure cases. To do this, you have to look for other players inside or outside the sector that have carried out successful initiatives driven by customer knowledge and costly mistakes in companies that have overlooked this essential point of view.
Develop a good customer journey. This happens by working on understanding the before, during and after the customer journey.
- Understand how consumers enter and exit relationships with the company, products, and services.
- Know what they acquire from other companies or us.
- Explore the human needs of our clients in each of the stages of the experience.
These aspects are key to discovering how to generate strategies that achieve success in the relationship. It is important to remember that the customer journey has to do with the customer’s emotional journey in their interaction with the company, not with the cold map of operational processes.
A customer-centred company makes sure that no decision is made without first thinking about the customer and the impact it may have on them. Creating a consumer-centric culture brings benefits not only to the organization but also to consumers. When they notice that they are essential to the business, they feel they are taken into account and value it positively.
In addition, they become aware of how you solve their problems and add value to them, which generates trust and long-term relationships.