How to create a customer-centric value system that boosts the bottom line

12 Apr, 2018

The customer-first business approach has been around for decades. Ironically, the customer often came second to a much stronger profit or product-centric strategy through one-way media channels. The digital age has transformed this to place the customer front and centre. Research shows that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable. It’s no wonder leading organisations are placing the customer at the centre of their strategies.

The shift was sparked by the growing gap between customer expectations and experiences in the digital space. Customers are well-informed and want to take control of their online interactions with brands. Businesses who deliver outstanding, enriching and personalised brand experiences are seeing positive results.

The customer-centric philosophy
Customer-centricity is about putting your customer at the core of your business, from leadership and product design, to processes, policies and corporate culture. A customer-centric value system is engineered to delivering exceptional customer experiences every step of the way. To this end, organisations need cross-channel customer data to anticipate changing needs and present only the most relevant offers and experiences, on time and in context. It is a mindset that has become essential to business success.

A successful customer-centric approach starts and ends with customer insights. This can be uncovered from the data collected from customer relationship management programs. The goal of a customer-centric value system is to fine-tune segmentation based on customer lifetime value and focus resources on retaining the most loyal and profitable customers.

Customer analytics can be used to gain a complete and competitive view of your customers. Key learnings on buying behaviour, interests and preferred engagements should be fed back into the business to improve product and service offerings and the overall customer experience. One of the most profitable benefits is increasing customer loyalty and customer retention rates. In turn, customer satisfaction can spark word-of-mouth, boost the bottom line and secure future sales.

Here are 5 steps to create a customer-centric business.

1. Call a spade a spade
To gain complete buy-in from your employees, everyone has to be on the same page. Make sure that customer-centricity is clearly defined in the context of your business.

2. Cultivate a customer-centric culture
Every employee is a customer and should be encouraged to view customer-centric values and needs as their own. Passion, curiosity and cross-departmental knowledge-sharing are key to success.

3. Get your house in order
Everything from data input to customer care must be fully supported by your customer facing team and technical infrastructure. Optimise your data management with managed document solutions to get the most out of your big data. A workplace assessment will help you streamline equipment, software and processes to improve the speed and quality of your customer service.

4. Modify your customer-centric value proposition
Customer needs are in a constant state of change. Frequently reassess and tailor your value proposition to the wants and needs of customers. This includes building solid customer relationships to enrich the experience.

5. Provide sufficient training on critical skills
Employees must be relentless in their mining of information and should be creative in their analysis and translation of data into competitive insights. Equip your key marketing team with sufficient expertise in data analytics and consumer psychology or outsource this function to specialists.

From dealing with customer issues to product development and communications, remember to provide value-add solutions to real-life problems. Adopting a customer-centric approach will help you discover the true potential of customer value and profit from enduring customer relationships.