How customer-centric is your brand?
How many times have you been involved with a business and they talk about their brand as being ‘all about the customer’? Perhaps you’ve even referred to your own business in this way? There are so many brands that shout about being customer-focussed, but what does this actually mean?
Being customer-centric is more than just putting your customer first or offering fantastic customer service. It means designing your products or services around the specific needs of your customer, creating a seamless experience for them throughout their entire journey with your brand and building your business’ philosophy or purpose around what meaningful difference you make in your customers’ lives.
Here are some steps you can take to investigate how customer-centric your business (or the businesses you’re involved with) actually are.
Check-in on your culture
The employee culture of a business is arguably the biggest barrier to achieving true customer-centricity. This is because most businesses remain product-focussed or sales-driven. Often, employees will only be rewarded for customer-centricity in certain areas or business functions. This is usually with employees that are customer-facing, such as in a retail arm or a contact centre.
To become truly customer-centric, however, every employee needs to think and act with the customer in mind, regardless of how close they are to ‘actual’ customers. Are you, or your business’s leaders cultivating this customer-first mindset with your employees?
If your answer is no, you could take a leaf out of Adobe’s book. Way back in 2011, they implemented a Customer Immersion Programme to ensure their business leaders could experience first-hand what their customers experience. This led to a realisation of the changes that needed to be made, as well as giving them the drive to actually make them. They creating a culture of the importance of customer from the top down; the results speak for themselves.
Take a look at your community
Too many businesses disregard (or simply don’t realise) the importance of talking directly to customers. This doesn’t just mean sending out a customer satisfaction survey or asking them how likely they are to recommend you to a friend or family member. Whilst these are important measures, being customer-centric is more about creating a community. It’s about asking your customers for their thoughts, opinions and ideas (and actually acting on what they say).
When was the last time you checked in on your community? Do you even have one? There are a new wave of brands entering the market that have this down to a tee. Beauty and skincare brand Glossier is a perfect example where creating and engaging with your community has worked as a successful business strategy.
Glossier uses insights gained from comments, questions and polls from their loyal army of followers to create more relevant and targeted products. They’re tapping into real life customer pain points to educate themselves on what customers really want, and evolving their product range and service offering to match. Finally, they communicate their brand in a ‘you asked, we delivered’ fashion, ensuring their audience feels listened to and important, winning their loyalty in the process.
Re-evaluate your measures of success
When businesses want to grow, the tendency is to focus all of the attention on customer acquisition. How many new people are coming through the door? Which channels are generating the most leads and when can we shift more budget into them?
The ultimate measure of a customer-centric business, however, comes down to the loyalty of your customer base. How many of your customers keep buying from you, instead of switching to a competitor? If you don’t know the answer to this question, but you can easily tell me how many new customers you acquire in a year, then you need to re-evaluate the way you measure your success.
It’s really important you get a good handle on your data to start measuring yourself effectively on customer loyalty. You need to know the customer lifecycle inside out and agree on the set of characteristics or behaviours which make up a loyal customer to your brand. To use Glossier as an example, given their demographic and industry, it’s not reasonable for them to assume their customers will never buy from a competitor-brand. But perhaps 1 purchase every 3 months feels like the right pattern for a loyal customer? On the other hand, for Adobe’s customers, cancelling a subscription to Photoshop probably means that the customer has ended their relationship with the brand, and is no longer loyal.
Once you have a clear view on what you determine to be a loyal customer, you can effectively measure how loyal your customers are, and ultimately how customer-centric your business is.
Need help with creating a customer-centric brand?
The great thing about customer centricity is that you don’t always have to make that many changes to your business. The impact these changes can make, however, are tenfold, whether it’s brand-building, revenue-driving, retention-improving and so on.
If you’d like to chat to us more about how we can help you be more customer-centric – talk to Antonio.