18/04/2024 |

Tips for Successfully Becoming a Customer-Centric Company

A customer centric business model has almost become a buzzword. It sounds great and companies are quick to claim that they focus on customer-oriented needs. The question is if it holds up to their actual lived standards.

It’s simple to say that you put customers at the center of all you do. It is significantly harder to actually operate in that manner. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your relationships with your customers.

What does customer-centric mean?

Customer-centric is a term that describe a business strategy. It puts driving value for the customer at the forefront of every decision a business takes. The aim of the strategy is to inspire customer loyalty. This generates revenue by ensuring long-term customer relationships and increasing opportunities through word of mouth.

Who is responsible for ensuring customer-oriented thinking?

Once the decision to take a customer centric approach has been made, all teams are responsibile for putting it into practice. As a business, each team must understand how they fit into the customer journey. They should be looking at each touchpoint to see where and how they can provided added value. For instance:

  • Sales teams may consider a consultative selling approach. They should not simply plying the potential customer with a barrage of documents and payment options. Rather, sales professionals must switch their thinking to helping the customer find the right solution for their problems.
  • Product development teams view features and enhancements different. Teams should not focus as much on the next cool technology and how to implement it. Instead, they should get input from customers and potential customers on what’s most needed in their businesses. This forms the foundation for development decisions.
  • Customer support teams are more naturally in tune with customer needs, but here too shifts can be made. Customer support is more than a means to fix something that’s broken. Teams can also help customers further engage with the products and services so that they get more value out of what they’ve purchased.
  • Marketing teams should focus more on the value that customers get from the product or service. They must show customers how the product or service can be used to improve the metrics that are important to them.

Tips for Building a Customer-Centric Culture

Having a customer centric strategy is beneficial for all businesses. It creates loyal customers, because the business is actively engaged in helping them reach their goals.

With loyalty comes more willingness to share their experience with others, thus increasing customer revenue.
John Coggins, OTRS Business Relationship Manager

 

A customer-centric strategy has significant positive impact. To help orient your business around customer needs, we asked John Coggins, OTRS Business Relationship Manager in the United States, to share tips for implementation.

Get Professionally Personal

Every customer is unique and should be treated as such. No two customers will have the same needs. So start there. Get to know your customers on a personal level – just keep it professional.

There’s a fine line between oversharing or asking personal questions and getting to know your clients’ needs. It’s okay to strike up a nice rapport but in general, keep it business-focused. You can ask about their family or vacations, but keep it surface level. Their business needs are where you need to dive in.

Once you’ve come to know your client, implement personalized experiences based on customer preferences and their typical behaviors. Tailor your marketing campaigns, your communication, and your interactions as much as possible. Also, remember to proactively communicate with customers to keep them informed about updates, changes, and/or new features. This will help build trust and strengthen your professional relationships with customers.

Finally, ask for and act on customer feedback. By actively seeking input from your customers, you are demonstrating that you genuinely care about their opinion.

But don’t stop there. It is imperative that you take that feedback into account. You must act on it or explain why you will not be acting on it directly to your customers. Not only does this make them an integral part of your business, but it lets them know that their opinions matter.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Data

Data should be one of the first things that comes to mind when brainstorming ways for your company to be more customer-centric. Collecting and analyzing data to identify and anticipate trends. It can even identify future customer demands — perhaps even before they are aware of those needs themselves.

Additionally, you can utilize AI algorithms to tailor product recommendations and content to each specific customer. Regardless of how you gather your data, be sure to actually use it to your advantage. There’s no point gathering all that information if you never do anything with it.

Build a Top-Notch Customer Service Team

Unfortunately, many companies think of their customer service team almost like cannon fodder – easily replaceable and not very valuable. They could not be more wrong!

Customer service agents (or really any customer-facing role) may be your first line of communication with your customers. They are also your first line of defense in a crisis. They are an incredibly valuable asset to both your bottom line and your growth as a customer-centric business.

Don’t just hire the first people who respond to your job listings. Instead, offer competitive rates and only hire the best of the best to serve on your front line. By ensuring your team is competent and competitive you’ve set yourself up for success. From there, you can boost their skills even further through training and continuous learning opportunities.

Their experience, combined with your training. will produce a top-notch team. The team will be capable of building relationships, solving problems promptly, and handling conflict without the need to regularly elevate issues to management.

And just like with your customers, ask for and be open to receiving feedback from your customer service team members. Often, they will be able to spot a potential problem long before it has a chance to fester.

Emphasize Cross-Functional Collaboration

While your customer service team may be the primary point of contact for many customers, in all likelihood they are not the only team that will interact directly with clients. It is crucial that all departments be on the same page. This includes customer needs, communication strategies, and even your company’s branding.

It’s time to break down silos and foster cross-functional communication instead.

When everyone is on the same page, the customer will experience consistency. Rapport will naturally build between the customer and your businesses.
John Coggins, OTRS Business Relationship Manager

Make your Customers Feel Special

Finally, take good care of your customers. Once again, it sounds simple on the surface. Often it takes a multi-pronged, targeted approach to become a reality. Start by building a community through omni-channel communication and support.

In today’s ever-evolving technological environment, that means including social media in your communication efforts! Don’t be afraid to interact with customers on social media platforms. Many customers actually look for assistance on social media.

According to Meta,74 percent of online adults say they feel more connected with a business when they can directly message the business. They don’t want to wait around for an email anymore. It’s also a great way to provide your customers with a proactive announcement – many won’t bother opening an email, but you’d be amazed how many will take note of an Instagram post.

Additionally, you should strive to customize your customer experience whenever possible. Develop reward or incentive systems that can be easily tailored to each customer as needed. Also, consider offering strategic discounts, appreciation gifts and /or value bundles to further build trust and good will. Even something like a little hand-written note included in their next shipment can make a positive impact.

Behind every company are real people. Take the time to get to know them and you’ll be amazed at the connection that forms. In today’s world there is no end to the ways you can get to professionally know your clients: in-person meetings, client dinners, update calls, emails, social media etcetera.

Experiment with what method and frequency works for you and your clients for best results. Combine that personal touch with data, a top-notch team, collaboration and your client relations will strengthen. Operating as a customer-centric business is by no means easy, but your bottom line will thank you later.

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