A customer-centric approach is nothing new in businesses, but it is transforming the way companies work nowadays. It’s time to understand more about it.
Being customer-centric is not a new conception in the market. However, with the changes in customer behavior these days, it’s a strategy that is becoming more popular. It’s not only about focusing on the customers, but it’s also about making them the core of your business.
Some time ago, industries used to lead product-centered strategies, meaning that if a product wasn’t selling well, it needed to be renewed and improved. However, as time went by, marketing professionals started to notice the problem was not in the product, but in who was buying it. If you don’t have the right consumer, there’s no point in having the highest quality solution in the market.
Because of that, customer-centric is becoming more and more popular. As a matter of fact, this is far from being a brand-new concept. Companies have known it for ages, but it seems like the notion of it really started to gain attention in recent years.
Since customers now are more educated and informed, their expectations are getting higher by the day. If the company doesn’t find a way to live up to that, it will most likely not survive in the market. To genuinely build the right product and invest in the right marketing campaigns, following a customer-centric strategy is ideal.
What is customer-centric?
Also knowns as client-centric or customer-centricity, this is an approach that aims to put the customer in the center of everything. All strategies and actions the company makes are addressed to the customer. So, if an idea doesn’t fulfill the “will our customer want and like this?” aspect, it probably will be left aside.
Clients are the purpose of a company even starting to work and for that reason, they need to be satisfied with their acquisitions. That means paying attention to the consumer before, during, and after a sale happens — therefore, being directed related to customer experience. The goal is to provide the most positive experience possible.
For a business to have good results, being customer-centric shouldn’t be just a strategy. It should be the core of everything it’s done, creating a customer-centric culture inside the company. That way, every product, service, and publicity will happen around the consumer’s needs and pain points. Because of that, one of the most important things here is to know your consumer.
It’s more than creating a good product, it’s about developing something that’s so good and fit to the client that they don’t want to buy from anywhere else. This approach is to increase customer loyalty and retention rates.
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What are the benefits of customer-centric?
Aside from knowing the consumer and creating all the picture-perfect products and ads for them, there is much more we can talk about a customer-centric approach. All the benefits it brings to a business are surely in your interest, so this is what we’ll address next.
Increase the customer lifetime value
In recent days, new customers are more expensive than retaining the ones you already have. For that reason, when you work with a customer-centric method, you will eventually increase the customer lifetime value.
In other words, a strategy such as putting the customer at the core of the business will, consequently, give the clients more reasons to be loyal to the brand. That’s what the company needs to focus on: strategies to make current customers buy more and frequently.
Moreover, this will lead to an increase in retention rates and also in overall profits. In fact, a mere 5% increase in customer retention leads to at least a 25% increase in profits — but it can be up to 95%.
Anticipate customers needs
Every area in the market has its competition and it’s important to be known as the innovator. When a customer is at the center of strategies, the problems they have will be explored so the company knows what to look at when building their solutions. With a thorough data collection in real-time, it’s possible to anticipate customer behavior and offer accurate, original products.
Gain a competitive edge
With loyal customers and a real-time data collection strategy, your company will become a strong competitor. Every business will be looking at you as an example of what to do and how to achieve success.
With so much alike solutions and prices, positive customer experience will be the differential of the brand. It’s actually common to see people pay more on services because they offer a unique experience — rather than because of quality.
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How to become customer-centric
Well, surely, put the customer at the center of the strategy is the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s about much more than that. To truly enjoy all the advantages of this strategy, there is a need to work with empathy. This means, basically, what we’ve been saying so far:
First look at the customer, then work on the product.
Since the rise of the internet, customer behavior has been in constant innovation. Every year companies need to renew their strategies so they can keep up with the changes. The good thing is technology has found its way to be one step ahead by creating data-collection platforms that help understand who is the consumer and how they act online.
Overall, some characteristics of a customer-centric business are:
- use customer data to understand the customer base;
- analyze who are the best customers and focus on products for them;
- give special attention to customer success and experience;
- practice audience engagement;
- identity opportunities and make data-driven actions.
By using a Customer Data Platform, all information available about a brand’s consumers will be at easy access. From names, ages, and demographic to time spent online, and pages visited. The CDP can collect data from all channels and sources the company is connected with, such as website, online store, social media, payment systems, app, and so on. That’s why a customer-centric approach should be accompanied by a CDP solution.
The more you know about a customer, the better the chances are of having a successful customer-centric strategy. As a matter of fact, to implement this method in your company, it needs to go beyond marketing and sales teams. The entire firm should follow a customer-centric culture. This means customer support, product team, engineers, and whatever other sectors the company has will all be focused on learning and working around the customer.
In addition, it’s important to remember results don’t come overnight. This plan is a long-term project of building durable relationships and providing positive experiences over and over again. After all, customer acquisition costs are way higher than maintaining a devoted customer base. In order for that to happen, the brand needs to be in regular communication with the customer, whether over chats, email, or social media.
It’s was pretty much implicit that this approach could be used to marketing-related actions. For one, you can’t build a customer relationship without the help of the marketing sector. Indeed, performing an Inbound Marketing plan and delivering content is essential to establish bonds with an audience.
With the assistance of a Customer Data Platform, while being a customer-centric company, every moment of the customer experience can be thought of with minimum effort. Surely, it’s still something that requires the full attention of marketing professionals. However, they can focus more on planning strategies and content than on analyzing data and metrics.
The entire customer journey has to be worked in a marketing strategy. This means personalized content and ads will be sent at every stage of the journey. Even after a purchase is finished, marketing needs to be creating the right materials to send the customer. It’s the only way they’ll become loyal to the brand, maybe even turning into brand advocates and promoters.
Moreover, based on purchase history and engagement with the brand, personalized recommendations will have a great effect in strengthening the relationship. The essential is focusing on what the customer wants — something you’ll be able to do through data analysis.
How a customer-centric approach impacts sales
In the old days, a sales process was demanding for the salesperson. They had to know every little detail about the product or service and have the ability to negotiate to close as many deals as possible. Nowadays, with the customer-centric strategy, things have taken a turn.
Since the customer is the focal point, a sales rep is no longer the person who showcases the product and tries to sell it at any cost. In fact, they understand the customer pain points, wishes, and demands so they can perform as a consultant — demonstrating how certain products will help solve their issues.
Because of this, it’s just as important for a sales team to have access to CDP data as a marketing team. Customer data is crucial to understand their journey and what is the best way to act in each particular moment. Even though a customer-centric strategy doesn’t attract many new consumers, it does keep the existing client base more loyal. For this reason, identifying the most valuable customers, the ones that generate profits, is a way to assist sales professionals chose their target better.
Customer-centric and customer experience
You must have noticed that customer experience has been mentioned a few times throughout your reading. That’s because there is a relationship between customer-centric and customer experience. But what is it?
In general, customer experience is the relationship a client has with the brand. From their perception at the first contact to their satisfaction after buying a product, every step of the way is a potential influence on their experience. Therefore, a customer-centric company needs to bring a positive customer experience at every moment of the customer journey
Brands that apply Customer-Centric
For a better comprehension of how a customer-centric company performs (and their results), a few examples can be brought here. These three companies are stand-outs in working with their customers at the center of everything. However, there are many more to keep an eye on for inspiration, such as Nike — their empathy really shows in every marketing campaign they launch.
If you have the habit of doing online shopping, you probably already got something from Amazon. Do you remember how was the experience? This is a brand that nobody can question the customer is at the center of their attention. Everything they do is to improve the customer experience.
Details like the 1-click purchase using data previously saved make a difference in obtaining customer loyalty. Besides, people are always talking about their delivery service — they are fast and accurate with their deadlines. Thus, customer satisfaction is never a problem in their hands.
Disney is a brand that embraces lots of different products and services, such as animated movies, TV channels, and amusement parks. Nonetheless, it’s noticeable how all of their actions are directed to their clients. They work hard to keep their customer-centric culture remarkable. This means customer-centric works beyond digital strategies.
The thing is, people can see the value in the brand. They happily pay more to go to Disney’s park then they would to go to any other park.
Even though this isn’t such a recognized brand as the other two, it’s still worth mentioning their method of work. Slack is a cloud-based communication company that is rapidly growing. Their approach is totally concentrated on the customer experience.
Instead of having a group of professionals that knows every single detail of the product, they focus on certain areas of expertise. That way, when a customer contacts the team with a question, they are redirected to an expert in the area.
Plus, customer service and product development work in union to always update the service as they notice customers’ needs. Slack is a brand known to be open to feedback from their clients, so more than gathering data, they are regularly monitoring brand mentions so they can meet customers’ expectations.
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How to measure the success of a Customer-Centric strategy
So, you’ve established a customer-centric approach in your company and got everyone working towards it. How do you know if you’re having the desired results? There are three metrics that will give you the answer: churn rate, net promoter score, and customer lifetime value.
First of all, the churn rate. This metric is related to the number of customers who no longer interact and buy your products. To measure it, it’s necessary to divide the number of customers who left in a certain time period (1 month, 6 months, 12 months, and so on) by the average number of costumers in the same time period. If you lost 10 customers out of 100, for example, your churn rate will be 10%.
Since you want your customers to keep engaged and buying from you, in order to have a successful customer-centric approach, your churn rate needs to be the lowest possible.
Net promoter score (NPS)
The NPS, or net promoter score, is about measuring customer loyalty. There is one simple question that revolves around this metric: “how likely are you to recommend us to friends?”. And, in a 0 to 10 scale, people can be classified as detractors, passives, or promoters.
- Detractors: From 0 up to 6, they are the first kind, the detractors. It means they are not happy with the product or service and are likely to share negative experiences.
- Passives: Between 7 and 8, customers are happy, but not loyal.
- Promoters: Lastly, when the classification is 9 and 10, people are most likely brand promoters. This means they are not only satisfied with the brand, but also share positive experiences about it.
Once these data become available, the calculus should be the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. The results need to be higher than 70%, but ideally, for a customer-centric company, they need to be around 80% to 100%.
Customer lifetime value (CLV)
The customer-centric strategy is based on creating a long-term healthy relationship with the customers. So, measuring the customer lifetime value, or CLV, is a way to see if your plans are having positive outcomes.
The calculus is multiplying total revenue by the time of the relationship with the customer (total revenue X average customer lifetime).
CLV measures the revenue a customer generates to the company for as long as they are paying customers. This is the best metric to understand before and after results when applying the customer-centric approach to your business.
Here at Arena, we have the best CDP solution for your business. With our real-time data collection, you’ll be able to know exactly who is your consumer and how to work thinking about them. Learn more about our solutions by talking to a consultant.