Any serious business should care about customer-centricity.
When your organization is customer-centric, you can deliver a positive experience to your clients at every stage of their buying journey.
On top of that, you can drive customer loyalty and satisfaction, which then leads to referrals.
With that being said, how can you leverage customer feedback to build a customer-centric business? That’s what this article seeks to explore.
We’ll start with the basics.
Customer centricity is a business strategy that involves putting the customer at the heart of everything you do.
Think of it as a business approach that allows you to understand your customer’s perceptions, situations, and expectations.
A customer-centric business culture puts the customer at the center of all decisions relating to product delivery, services, and experiences to create satisfaction, loyalty, and delivery.
If you’re running an eCommerce or dropshipping business in the United States, for instance, you can leverage an eCommerce ecosystem that allows you to deliver customer orders within 1 to 3 business days.
That way, you can develop customer-centric shipping policies and procedures, which means you can anticipate your customer’s need to have their merchandise delivered as soon as possible.
If you can achieve that, you can nurture meaningful experiences and foster lasting customer relationships.
Customer centricity has a massive business value. Even though every business and industry is different, there are common benefits derived from being customer-centric. These include:
Customer centricity enables you to comprehend how customers move in and out of relationships with your business.
Every customer's journey has a before, during, and after. Understanding your customer's needs at each stage, especially how they transition from one phase to another, is vital to the success of customer-business relationships and transactions that drive value.
Customer centricity can help you improve sales.
Because you understand a customer’s buyer journey, you can make your offers clear, enabling clients to purchase with confidence.
Put differently, customer-centricity enables you to offer customers the support they need to make informed buying decisions.
When you provide a set-up that enables your customers to understand a new purchase or contract, you’ll significantly minimize the service cost and increase satisfaction.
You see, today’s products and services are pretty complicated. A customer doesn’t receive value until what they bought works as promised. Still, many businesses abandon customers once they buy.
A customer-centric business will continue to support a client, even after making a sale, ensuring the customer derives value for their money.
Customer centricity allows you to work with your customers to co-create value and, by extension, improve operational efficiency.
If you own an online store, for instance, an easy-to-navigate design can help customers find what they’re looking for faster.
The ripple effect smoother operation and a trail of happy customers.
You want your customers happy. Why? …because they’ll help you build credibility and bring in more customers. In fact, according to Salesforce research, 72% of customers are likely to recommend your business to a friend after a positive experience
A business that understands and responds to changes in a customer’s situation will increase satisfaction and value.
When a customer’s situation changes, so do their needs.
If you’re a customer-centric organization, you’ll continue to support your clients in their change, building lasting business relationships and loyalty.
The overall effect of all this is increased revenue, high customer retention, and a better overall brand image.
Prioritizing your customer’s needs sounds easy to do on paper. In reality, though, creating a customer-centric organization is a complicated affair riddled with many obstacles like:
Data silos create necessary inconveniences and hiccups in marketing teams.
When the lines between sales, marketing, and customer support teams aren’t clear, it becomes hard to achieve customer satisfaction.
Silos prevent data sharing between teams in an organization, making it difficult to focus on the customer’s needs.
Customer centricity requires data sharing to get a 360-degree view of the customer experience. That cannot happen if you have functional data silos in your business.
Think about it for a sec.
What if your employees could always offer personalized, meaningful support to your customer? That’s top-notch customer-centricity right there.
The sad reality, however, is customer service routines or often mundane and repetitive. This makes customer care staff reluctant to handle complex issues and deliver memorable customer experiences.
It is almost impossible to foster a customer-centric culture in your organization if employees aren’t ready to go that extra mile to offer high-value experiences.
Technology is integral in creating a customer-centric business model.
Still, complex systems, especially at the enterprise level, make it difficult to implement quick changes or pilot services.
To enjoy success, your business needs to evaluate customer experiences and roll out changes quickly. That way, you can promptly respond to your customer’s needs and challenges to achieve sustainable growth.
The point is that it’ll be hard to achieve customer-centricity if your systems aren’t agile.
You cannot offer customized, customer-centric experiences without accessing your customer’s information.
It, therefore, means that your services and activities must be designed in a way that allows you to collect this information on the front end.
Products and services that collect customer data enable you to run valuable and relevant brand interactions.
Some data-collection features to include in your product or service include product questions, insider club points, and virtual try-on, to mention but a few.
Failing to listen to your customer means you’ll remain unaware of your customer’s needs, expectations, and requirements and, therefore, unable to provide personalized experiences.
In addition, you will not know the best communication channel to connect with your customers and effectively manage their interactions and experiences.
In most cases, you can determine what customers say regarding your products or services by reading reviews and feedback, which brings us to the next point.
Because reviews and feedback are crucial to creating a customer-centric environment in your organization, it is only prudent that you perfect how to do it. Here’s how:
Pretty obvious, right?
The first step to achieving customer-centricity is staying in tune with your customer’s voices to help you understand their experiences.
The best part is all you need to do is ask.
You can run a customer satisfaction survey to enable you to dissect and enhance your brand’s customer experiences. In fact, requesting customer feedback on its own, can help boost customer satisfaction.
The best way to collect feedback is to ask multiple-choice and open-ended questions. That way, you can collect valuable information and seek out negative feedback by sending your team to customers who return items and prospects who cancel consultations.
When an unhappy customer gives feedback or writes a negative review, most businesses try to fix the situation with an apology, gift voucher or refund.
Sure, these gestures can offer damage control, but in most cases don’t solve the underlying problem — such as a glitch or bad policy — that caused the bad experience in the first place.
You can build customer-centricity by responding proactively and reactively to your customer’s feedback.
A proactive response salvages the relationship while introducing a permanent solution to prevent the issue from happening again.
You can, for instance, give the client priority access to the customer desk, review the bad policy and improve your product or service.
Further, let the customer know how their feedback triggered a change in your business.
While customer surveys can help you know what customers think about your brand, only 4 percent of unhappy customers tell you about their bad experiences.
Besides, gathering data from prospects who never bought from your brand can be difficult because of a bad experience before completing the buyer’s journey.
You’ll want, therefore, to audit your customer’s journey from start to finish to uncover these blind spots.
Go through every step of the customer’s journey from awareness to delight and determine how you can fill the gaps to enhance customer experiences.
Remain customer-centric to your loyal clients by sending out marketing emails, private sales and reward programs.
The idea is to extend customer experience beyond the point of sale and build loyalty.
Of course, loyal customers will not only give glowing feedback about your brand but also refer their friends to your business, allowing you to generate more revenue.
Most customers buy based on their emotions, not ration.
The way you treat your customer accounts for 70 percent of customer experience, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey.
So, if you want to enhance customer-centricity, you must treat your customers and prospects with respect from start to finish. In return, they won’t have a problem giving positive reviews about your brand.
A truly customer-centric strategy requires employees' and customers' backing, achievable through internal processes, policies and systems.
Better yet, evaluating customer feedback can help organizations find the missing link to providing positive experiences.
While becoming a customer-centric brand can take some time, it all starts with making small steps in the right direction.