Amanda Wilks 3m 810 #customer-centric
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Is Your Company Customer-Centric?
Being a customer-centric company has become more relevant than ever. The very existence of this concept might sound like an odd one when you really think about it. Isn’t it automatically understandable that all businesses are customer-centric given the fact that this is where the profit comes from?
That may be the case, but there are plenty of people who completely miss the point of being a customer-centric company even though they wholeheartedly believe that they do follow the formula. Are you worried that you might be one of them?
What Are We Talking About?
Customer-centric companies. What are they, exactly?
Shortly put, they’re companies that provide more than high-quality service. They manage to do so by prioritizing the needs and demands of the customers above the product or service. It’s not that big of a gap, actually, but it rather refers to a mentality that invokes flexibility, understanding of the customers, and the ability to mold to those needs.
There are many situations (that we’re familiar with) where we see people pitching innovative ideas for certain products. They meet up around a table, exchange ideas, and talk about how incredible implementing that one feature would be for said product. They come forth with propositions for a pricing that might benefit them best in terms of profit.
If your meetings don’t start with the question “What do the customers want?” then that’s the first sign that you might have a problem. Coming up with a great product is all for naught if the customers don’t want or need it. Do what Staples does and put out surveys to gain access to their demands.
The Qualities of Customer-Centric Brands
- They’re flexible, passionate, and they tend to see the world through the customers’ eyes.
- They’re very eager to reshape their offers according to the demands and requirements of the market.
- They value feedback and communication, which allows them to alter their products and services to be as close as possible to what the customer wants.
- They focus on building relationships and trust so that the same customer will return to purchase the product again and again.
- They mostly implement customer-oriented strategies that have at core the desire to build a loyal following as opposed to selling away as many products as possible.
Do you find your company in any of these bullet points?
If not, there are ways in which you can slowly start climbing the ladder to the goal of supreme customer-centric service.
Since its commitment we’re talking about, there are no companies more committed to the long-term goal of becoming wholly customer-centric than Amazon. It’s true, they’ve said so themselves. The company has been working relentlessly on making the transition from business-centric to customer-centric and much of the success of this ambition comes from the fact that they went all-in with this plan.
A big problem with seller – buyer relationships is the fact that customers don’t really trust the information they’re being given anymore. When they pick up a bag of chips and read the disclaimer that claims it’s 100% free of any colorants and other toxins, they immediately flip the bag around and seek confirmation among the list of ingredients. And sometimes, not even then they’re convinced.
Trust had to suffer a lot and the only way it can be repaired is by enabling transparency. There are some businesses that are willing to share information of any kind with customers, including e-mailing them photos of the workplace inside factories to see how the products are made.
Our client is our master.
This is the premise that stands at the center of this concept. Sometimes we tend to think that we know best, but we never know until we try. If there is an idea that’s highly demanded by customers, it’s highly recommended that you pick it up and try to make it a reality, even if it sounds bad, unlikely, or unwise. It could end up working out, which will be a good thing. Maybe it will flop completely, but you will definitely win some points of loyalty from customers for listening to them.
Being customer-centric is a rather novel concept, which means that it might be a little bit difficult to try and implement it with your resources alone. Partnerships are recommended in all kinds of businesses, but in this case, what you really need to be paying attention to is that the partnership will end up benefiting the customer.
Last but not least, this is the determinant core fundament for customer-centric businesses. Always listen to the voice of your consumers and modify, innovate, or replace products according to their needs. Don’t give them something that they don’t want.