THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING CUSTOMER CENTRIC
Dear Moleskine Diary,
As I write in you with my easy glide Bic biro pen, I reflect upon my day.
I awoke to the incessant beeping of my Phillips alarm clock with a big display for easy viewing of the time.
Turned on my convenient and intuitive Nespresso coffee machine.
Washed my hair with my Tresemme’ shampoo and conditioner to achieve that salon-fresh feel.
Treated myself to a Helga’s café style toast with Cottee’s Raspberry jam that contains no added flavours or colours.
Drove my Mazda2 that combines impressive fuel efficiency with uncompromised engine power to work.
Turned on my powerful Apple iMac Pro and began my day reading the news online featuring pop up display ads from The Iconic, Australia’s best online fashion and footwear store and iSelect, who make comparing private health insurance in Australia simple…
We Marketers need to get over ourselves! No one talks or even thinks like this as they interact with brands throughout their everyday lives. As much as a brand would like to think they are a major part of their customers’ daily thoughts, they are not. To tell you the truth, customers are just not that into you. However, brands don’t need to take this personally, your brand may not be the centre of your customers world, yet your customer should be the centre of yours.
What is the customer centric approach?
Being customer centric requires your customer to be the starting point for every action, process and every line of thought. It means making decisions to ensure your customers have an authentic experience as a non negotiable - ultimately driving profit and competitive advantage through customer loyalty and referring new customers.
At its core customer centricity is about being authentic - no half truths and defining an experience from the very beginning that is the best you can sincerely deliver. To embed this customer experience right across the sales journey - through the the attract and awareness stage, right through to the closing of the sale and even continuing through to post purchase and the delight stage.
Why is it important?
Being customer centric is vital in today’s social sharing world. If you have an unhappy customer, no longer will they just tell their 6 friends, but their entire social network. There are also more competitors to move toward in quicker and easier ways. The power of a Customer Centric approach is seen through Deloitte and Touche who found that companies applying this approach were 60% more profitable than counterpart companies who were not.
By understanding our customers, we can attach our brand into already strong, salient memory structures, thus strengthening our brand influence. In Byron’s Sharp’s book How Brands Grow, the concept of physical and mental space is explained. Physical space being the shelf space and mental space being the probability the buyer will notice, recognise and think of a brand in a buying situation. Customer centricity helps brands climb this ladder and compete for the top space of a customer’s mind in the moment of a buying decision. Take the Financial Services sector for example, we can directly see the results of a profit centred approach from the findings of the Banking Royal Commission. Read our latest research and uncover the opportunities born out of the royal commission and customer centricity.
Customer Centricity and CRM
By combining the customer centric approach with your CRM software, you can collect a wealth of data around buyer behaviour, engagement and interests. You can also identify the pain points and create opportunities around products and services to provide for your best customers. Ultimately you will understand the customer experience and learn how to enhance it, improving customer satisfaction, retention and profitability.
The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos once said that … “It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Amazon encompasses customer centricity by delivering flawless customer experience from every staff member, from warehouse workers, to software engineers to executives. Even the company mission statement begins with to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
What may have started out as an online book store has developed into an ecommerce empire selling products and services, anything that answers the needs of their consumers. As identified in the CMO Show podcast with Joe Pulizzzi, the godfather of content marketing, this is not a breakthrough business model but a breakthrough in how you define your business and how you build and listen to your audience. By using content marketing as a way to understand pain and gain points you are able to supply your audience with what they are willing to buy. This leads us on to the important question, how do you become more customer centric?
How to become more customer centric
Today, businesses are competing with those who have the best relationships with their customers. So how do you ensure your focus really is on the customer?
- Promote Customer Centricity throughout the entire company
- Ensure every employee is involved in the happiness of customers. That they understand where the customer touch points are and are each responsible for improving the experiences. Make it visible by ensuring values, mission statements and reminders are around the office. Where possible, consider making delivery of customer satisfaction metrics into employee KPI’s.
- Define your customer
- Build buyer personas based on real conversations and interactions with customers. They do not need to be overly complicated. Just enough for you to have a picture and story around the persona which can be easily understood and remembered by staff. If you are looking for help in creating a buyer persona read our blog Expert Advice on Building Buyer Personas or download our template How to Create Buyer Personas.
- Understand the customer journey
- Map out the interactions a person has with your company both on the path to purchase and after they have become a customer. How do they find you? What is their decision process like? Ensure you understand their experience and then work on continuously improving it.
- If you are looking for help in creating a buyer’s journey, read our blog Improving Customer Leads with a Buyer's Journey.
- Listen to your customers
- By listening to customers through interactions and touch points we begin to understand their needs and what their motivations are. Together with the customer demographic and behaviour information, you can begin to meaningfully segment your market and better tailor experiences to address the anticipates reactions of your customers. Ultimately you can create a better picture to place at the core of business practices.
- Use content
- Once you have a solid understanding of your customer you can use content to attract and retain them throughout their interaction with your brand. Understanding their needs and pain points will be the influence of your content strategy. As explained by Joe Pulizzi, content can become a profit centre when you truly understand the needs of your customers, allowing you to do more than just sell products, but build an audience.
- Train, Hire, Support Customer Centricity
- Ensure the right people are hired and trained to follow the same vision. Regularly check-in with employees to ensure everyone is on the same path and the right expectations have been created. With everyone aligned in customer centricity, employees will be willing to go the extra mile for clients.
- Celebrate customer satisfaction
- To ensure employees maintain customers at the core of your business, a motivated team is essential. Reward employees for going the extra mile in guaranteeing customer satisfaction. Rewarding and celebrating the success of customers finding extra value in your services is vital in maintaining a motivated and happy team. Use events, awards, rewards and acknowledgements to celebrate success stories.
Creating a customer centric culture starts with your company values and allowing the customer to be at the core of every decision. How Customer Centric would you say your business is? Which areas would you find difficult to implement? Talk to us.
For the buyer persona templates and a detailed guide to building your own personas, download our eBook How to Create Buyer Personas.