Much like the rest of the marketing world, the customer experience is constantly changing. As consumer needs and available technology evolve, marketers have no choice but to meet customers right where they are. That’s where the idea of a customer-centric approach to marketing comes in. When you provide an unforgettable customer experience, your consumers stick around despite industry evolution. Here’s everything you need to know about putting the consumer in the driver’s seat.
What Does It Mean to be Customer-Centric?
Customer centricity refers to a culture or business strategy that places the focus on creating the best possible customer experience. From personalization to brand loyalty programs, customer-centric brands put consumers right at the center of all discussions, ideas, and operations.
There are many forms of customer-centric marketing. As new technology arises, businesses have the opportunity to further personalize every interaction with their consumers. Custom recommendations, hypertargeted messaging, and expertly crafted loyalty apps are all pillars of customer centricity that contribute to long-term brand loyalty.
Why Is Customer Centricity Important?
Consumers have more options than ever before. With a saturated market full of businesses offering similar products, how do you capture their attention? A large part of keeping them interested is the customer journey.
Many consumers are willing to pay extra for a good experience; they’re looking for something that’s tailored to them and their individual needs. A customer-centric business is more likely to give them the personalization they expect.
5 Customer-Centric Best Practices
When putting the consumer first, it’s wise to concentrate on the customer journey. Here are five concepts you can introduce into your strategy to start moving towards customer centricity.
Focus on Personalization
Chances are that many of the brands you consistently interact with offer a highly personalized experience. Whether it’s Netflix helping you find your new favorite show or Spotify giving you a daily dose of new music you’ll love, you’re sure to encounter customer-centric models like this. Personalization has become a priority for many businesses. Shying away from it simply isn’t an option. As you begin to tailor your customer experience for your audience, incorporate as many forms of personalization as you can. Email recommendations, customized chatbot experiences, and fresh loyalty programs are all viable options.
Make Their Lives Easier
Time is always of the essence, and the most customer-centric brands understand that consumers don’t necessarily operate on the same timelines that businesses do. Think about your customer service team. What are their hours? You probably have representatives available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but there may not be coverage beyond that. Many consumers are at work during those hours. This means they may not be able to speak with a representative at all. Putting a couple reps on the clock during weekends and evenings or offering a round-the-clock chatbot option can make all the difference. If you make things easier for the consumer, they’re more likely to continue using your products or services.
Keep Tech Up to Date
The advent of new technology, including the rise of AI, gives your brand more chances to interact with both your customers and potential new consumers. All this newness can also result in challenges, and your team must be able to step up to the plate. Digital solutions are crucial, but they should also be purposeful. Moving in a customer-centric direction means that these updates solve customer issues and provide a high-quality experience.
Don’t Shy Away from Innovation
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation, pivoting, and rapid-fire changes have become the standard. Many brands made these shifts to meet consumers where they were: at home. When you embrace a customer-centric business model, looking for ways to innovate becomes second-nature. This approach means that you can’t be afraid to take risks, especially if you’ll end up improving the customer experience.
Be Customer-Centric at all Levels
A business is nothing without its employees, and those employees should embody your company values. This includes prioritizing customer relationships, as well. Connect employees’ goals, rewards, and incentives to their progress in refining the customer journey. Share about being customer-centric during each company meeting; remind your employees why they do what they do. When customer centricity is a core value that is evident from the top down, your business is that much closer to customer centricity.
3 Challenges of Being Customer-Centric
Much like other aspects of marketing, taking a customer-centric approach is not without its challenges. Here are three difficulties you may face while working toward customer centricity.
Establishing a Customer-Centric Culture
As we mentioned before, customer centricity should be present at all levels, from executives to junior staff. When all employees embrace the idea of putting the customer first, it becomes a part of the company culture. Yet, a shift in culture won’t happen overnight or without proper support. It becomes important to empower your team to go above and beyond for consumers each day. When bringing in new talent, ensure they can align themselves to these values with ease.
Moving Away from Product-Centric Strategy
Many businesses seem to focus on pumping out as many products as possible. However, some brands have taken the leap toward a customer-centric model as a result of changes in consumer behavior. Today’s customers have better access to information than ever before, which helps them determine exactly what they need. When you focus on meeting consumers’ needs rather than moving units, you can create a more precise strategy that eliminates the need to cast a wide net. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking.
Getting Past Data Silos
Perhaps the most dynamic challenge to customer centricity, data silos can be common for businesses. A company’s history of mergers, acquisitions, and other large-scale growth events often results in messy, unverified data from multiple sources. Data system setup could also be completed by multiple departments, opening the door for duplicates or inaccuracies. Because your data is your key to understanding and anticipating your customers’ needs, it must be kept central, clean, and governed. Clean, best-in-class data can go a long way in helping to personalize communication and increase empathy with customers.
If your data team needs a little help, it may be time to connect with an agency. At DBM Group, we specialize in hypertargeted solutions that connect you with ready-to-buy consumers at the right time. Our data is clean, accurate, and as fresh as can be, and we’re ready to help you redefine ROI.
When customer centricity is a large part of your company’s mission, a legacy of brand loyalty is just around the corner. Customers are more than willing to shell out for a better experience, so why not do everything you can to deliver? Customer-centric is the way to go for a customer experience that stands the test of time.