Customer-centricity is not a new concept. I’m sure you’re familiar with the motto that “the customer is always right.” But did you know the expression was coined by a retailer, and dates back to the early 1900s?
Over time, focus on the customer has been displaced by competing priorities like bottom line results, product innovation, and/or outshining competition. But can a business model truly survive without support from its customers?
Customer-centric organizations win consumers
When we think of the most disruptive digital businesses today – Amazon, Uber, AirBnB – they all have one thing in common: They are highly customer-centric organizations.
With that mentality at the forefront of every decision, these organizations have completely built their businesses around solving challenges for their customers. The result is bifold, with value generated for both the customer and the organization.
The time has come to re-prioritize the customer experience. Here are four habits that highly customer-centric organizations practice that propel business success.
They ask how they can make their customers’ lives easier.
Uber did not exclusively build their business around a profitability objective. Instead, Uber asked, “How can we make taxiing easier for drivers and passengers?” The answer became their business’ foundation.
Product or service innovation is important to any organization, but only if these offerings meet a market need. Business success and profitability is the the result of solving customer challenges.
One way to understand how you can make customers’ lives easier is by opening feedback channels. Assessing customer behaviors and welcoming conversations throughout the entire lifecycle helps generate a responsive customer experience that keeps pace with demands.
They understand the customer lifecycle.
Traditionally, the customer lifecycle was understood as a buyer journey. But it takes more to win and retain customer loyalty – today, customer-centric companies have not only redefined the customer lifecycle, they also understand and deliver what the customer needs throughout every stage.
Using metrics like first value, customer lifetime value and satisfaction levels, pre-sale and post-sale relationships are weighted equally. This gives companies a more holistic view of the customer and generates business relevancy, as companies cater to ongoing customer needs at all times.
They protect customer data.
Effective customer data management inspires trust. Trust builds loyalty. Loyalty creates lifetime customers. Lifetime customers generate business success.
How are you managing your customers’ data?
Consent, transparency, and control around personal information is a customer’s right. Customer-centric organizations recognize and abide by this ideology, and give their clientele the ability to manage their own personal data.
They continuously innovate.
Business don’t have finish lines. Going to market with a great product or service and expecting that today’s solution will solve tomorrow’s challenges for customers is a toxic mentality. Probing at future customer needs has always been key to Amazon’s success. CEO Jeff Bezos is future-focused, and constantly encourages his leadership to plan a few years in advance.
One way to plan ahead is by being user-centric and adopting a continuous innovation methodology. Continuous innovation refers to bringing an MVP to market and reacting faster to customer needs and demands via iterative changes. This creates a better customer experience that is constantly evolving and completely responsive to what is best for the end-user.
Customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation. The best way to differentiate your business and gain profitability is by completely understanding your customers’ needs and guiding their journey at every stage in the customer lifecycle. As you plan for the future I challenge your business to ask of itself, “Are we customer-centric?”