There has been a lot of talk in marketing about customer centricity. Instead of focusing on some abstract metrics, the company attempts to create the best customer experience. That is what most think being a customer-centric business is all about.
However, if we dig deeper, customer centricity is more than just building a good user experience. Most starting customer-centric businesses think it’s enough to just focus on support teams. However, customer centricity should encompass the company’s entire strategy. That means focusing on creating a great experience at every step of a customer’s journey.
What is customer centricity and how does it work?
While many different things are headed under a customer-centric approach, there are several integral parts to the strategy:
- A great user experience. While it may sound vague, many of us have an intuitive understanding of what makes a user experience great. If we were to simplify the idea, then it’s an easy-to-understand and simple customer journey. The end goal of a good user experience is to feel “lost” or “confused” as little as possible.
- Understanding customers. There have been a lot of tools invented that help companies get a better understanding of their customers. Some of these tools are the Buyer’s Journey, Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and others. Using some of these strategies and adding internal customer data leads to a better understanding of them. Everything else in the business’ operating model can then be tailored in order to match the customer.
- Continuous feedback. Data and abstract strategies can only get you so far. Customer feedback, comments, and reviews should be your primary source of information in all cases. After all, who else can provide a clearer view of how your customers are feeling than the customers themselves? In cases where the feedback collection process might be sluggish, some customer-centric businesses opt to reward those who leave comments and reviews.
Other pieces to the customer-centricity puzzle are essentially derived from the three aspects of the customer centric approach mentioned above. Thus, it’s most important to build the strategy around them.
However, the shift to a customer-centric strategy shouldn’t be just managerial and tactical. It takes a complete cultural shift to adopt customer-centricity, therefore, in the organization, from the product team, to the customer service department, needs to be on board. Everyone, from the development to customer service departments, will be focused on providing the best user experience possible. This means internal communication and implementation are highly important when you’re starting to become a customer-centric business.
Why is customer-centricity important for your business?
Usually, the argument is fairly simple. Customer centricity means retaining customers. If you can’t retain customers, you will eventually run out of business. Everyone knows that the most successful businesses put a huge emphasis on customer-centricity.
Some of the most successful businesses such as Amazon have been customer-centric from the get-go. Developing and using a customer-centric strategy is in fact more profitable in the long run. Deloitte has found that customer-centric businesses were ~60% more profitable than those who were not.*
Additionally, the customer is becoming more involved and more educated on brands and products every day. Social media and the internet in general allow customers to share tons of information in the blink of an eye. In fact, according to the Global Web Index, 54% use social media to research products** and 71% of people trust social referrals for buying purposes.
Creating a customer-centric strategy for your business
Companies face numerous challenges when they start the journey towards becoming customer-centric. From data silos (i.e. information being locked in one department only) to cultural pushback, the list is nearly limitless.
There are established best practices that are very actionable and useful:
- Hire for customer success. As mentioned previously, customer-centricity isn’t just about the technical and strategical side. The cultural shift has to happen as well. However, it’s easier to shift the hiring strategy towards a customer-centric approach over re-training existing employees. Additionally, new hires can help you implement customer-centricity through their own actions.
- Put relationships first. It’s easy to get heavily involved with the numbers, key performance indicators, and other data. However, behind every sale is a person. Focus on maintaining a good relationship with them over making the numbers go higher.
- Create free internal access to data. Most companies segregate data according to departments (e.g. The SEO department is hoarding data on the organic channel). However, such information may be useful to other departments as they build a customer-centric approach. All customer data can provide some insight into your buyer, so make sure everyone in the company has access to it.
- Connect metrics to customer success. You can’t truly measure the success of a business without having some metrics. Usually, these involve bringing more customers or converting them to leads. However, a customer-centric one can focus on experience-based metrics. You can focus on, for example, reducing customer waiting times or decreasing the total amount of support tickets by optimizing the website.
- Facilitate direct interaction with customers. There’s no worse feeling than doing business with someone and losing the ability to contact them. That’s why businesses in the e-commerce sector have 24/7 customer support. However, remember to implement new technologies that provide even more opportunities for customers. For example, SnapCall allows your customers to jump on a voice or video call with your team directly from your website, app, or on-site chat with just a few clicks.
Finally, you need ways to actually measure if the customer-centric strategy is working. There are three primary metrics to track: churn rate, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Let's shortly discuss the most important customer service metrics: the churn rate, Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
The churn rate is calculated by dividing your average number of total customers by the number of customers who left in the past 12 months. A high churn rate means you’re struggling to maintain customers. Usually, that means that the customer experience isn’t up to par. It would be worthwhile to investigate the sales and customer service process. Additionally, your agents could ask leaving customers for feedback.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple measurement. In fact, you’ve likely seen one - companies frequently ask to rate from 1 to 10 how likely you are to recommend them to a friend or acquaintance. Usually, the answers are separated into three categories:
- Promoters (9-10): They love your company and your brand. It’s highly likely that they will actually go through and recommend your services to someone else.
- Passives (7-8): They enjoy shopping and doing business with you. However, there is no “wow moment” and, as such, it’s unlikely that they will spread knowledge of you.
- Detractors (0-6): They don’t like some part of your business. Either they have had one or multiple bad experiences or something else isn’t working. It’s likely they could be talking about you negatively.
The end goal of NPS is simple - get the most promoters and the least detractors. It’s important to track the changes in each category. If your promoter audience is growing, then you’re doing great.
Finally, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is more of a prediction. Essentially, you want fewer one-and-go customers and more lifetime customers. It’s highly unlikely that even the most passionate clients will spend more in one go than in 10 years. You can calculate these statistics based on internal customer data, benchmark them against industry averages, and think of how you might improve them.
Customer-centricity isn’t just about delivering a good product and service. You have to implement it throughout the entire business and shift the culture towards always providing the best for the customer.
Want to improve your customer-centric focus with just a few clicks? Try SnapCall – our solution allows your customers to get in touch with your team through voice or video calls right from your website and app. Book a demo with us today.