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How to Become a Customer-Centric Business

5 min read

Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by Jonathan Lopez

Developing customer-centric business approaches is key for firms like yours to remain sustainable. Explore how adjusting things like hiring and culture can help. 

Focusing on customers is the hallmark of a successful business. But what exactly does customer-centric mean in the business world? And how do businesses get there? Moreover, how do firms account for variables? For example, how does having a unique shipping inspection factor into a customer-centric approach? This debate has been raging for about 20 years. And we may still not have a universal recipe for every business to transform into a customer-centric one.

However, some tips generally apply to a broad range of business models and types. Read on to find out more about what changes you should start making to your business.

Encourage Empathy Among Customer-Facing Staff

Businesses have various types of functions, depending on their nature. However, not all of them are front-office departments. Some are back-office, which means they have little to no contact with your actual customers. On the other hand, front-facing employees usually interact directly with your consumers and even potential leads.

This implies that the first area to focus on is the workers that interact with your customers the most. These workers are more likely to contribute to the customer experience you offer. And it could help immensely to inculcate empathy in this particular set of employees. Empathic employees generally deliver better results and can handle tough situations with more ease.

Reorient Hiring to Focus on Customer-Friendly Talent

Of course, training your existing staff to be more empathic and understanding is critical. But you also need to look at other areas. For example, you may need to reorient your approach to hiring. Specifically, your approach when hiring for customer-facing roles. The human ability to learn something is powerful. But it involves much more effort to acquire new skills than it does to hire employees who already have them.

Therefore, you may need to start giving more weight to soft skills, attitude, and general behavior. This should help you acquire customer-facing talent that already has the necessary emotional and operational intelligence.

Offer Multiple Avenues to Acquire Consumer Insights

You can hire the best workers possible for all your consumer-facing roles. But you will not see the right results unless you have something to measure their performance against. In this context, you need to know more about the experience your customers are receiving. One of the best ways to get insights on customers is to ask customers yourself. Therefore, businesses need to have multiple sources to get these insights.

Page insights on social media, web analytics and other metrics are of course still very important. But you still need direct access to consumer opinion and perception to understand their needs on a human level, not just on a business level. Encourage your consumers to offer their valuable feedback, suggestions, and even ratings to gain more actionable and targeted insights.

Find Better Ways for Employees to Interact with Customers

Wherever possible, you should look for situations where your employees can interact directly with your customers. The personal touch was always a valuable factor in generating positive customer experiences. In our modern world of digital interactions, the personal touch is even more important than it has ever been.

Therefore, companies would do well to explore avenues that let them deliver personalized and actively positive customer experiences. From live chat windows to social media community management to product fairs, explore any potential channel that can help your workers interact with customers more directly.

Look for Areas to Improve Employee Culture

Employee culture plays a big role in helping businesses deliver consistently good experiences. It’s not just about offering employees the necessary training and equipment. You need to reinforce a culture of inclusiveness, accountability, and of course, innovative approaches to meet consumer challenges. Moreover, workplace toxicity, such as unnecessary conflict, can often sap your workforce morale. This can ultimately bleed over into how workers perform.

Especially for customer-facing roles, businesses stand to benefit significantly when they eliminate unnecessary losses. Avoidable customer experience problems and the resulting lost revenue will always remain undesirable. Therefore, businesses need to address gaps or flaws in work culture as soon as possible.

Offer Training and Refresher Courses on Customer Service

Maintaining an emotionally intelligent workforce is key to delivering solid and memorable customer experiences. But workers tend to become complacent. And with the world in constant flux, practices can and do become outdated. What worked last year may not work as well this year. Moreover, strategies and tactics may not work at all in the succeeding years as market and consumer behavior change.

So, you should certainly train workers to be more empathic and understanding of customer perspectives. But at the same time, you should include refresher courses and even updates to things like your call center script as and when they arise. This may seem like a lot of effort, especially for businesses working in sensitive markets. But the effort can often result in placing your customer-centric business in a better position to leverage the market on consumer shifts.

Remember, static businesses often crumble if they cannot adapt to change. On the other hand, dynamic and agile businesses develop ways to capitalize on changes. A consumer-centric strategy, therefore, will require you to develop better processes, hire better talent, and encourage innovative solutions. Short of that, you should remain prepared to hear from disgruntled customers.

Customer-centric companies make more profit than other companies that do not focus on customers. They can retain more of their customers and attract new ones more easily. … Customers are more satisfied with their experience and product from customer-centric companies, making much more sales.
Although Apple does conduct market research, it has been successful by anticipating needs and by focusing on customer lifetime value among its core segments. Apple is customer centric, but it is not customer friendly or focused (unless you happen to fit one of their core groups).
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