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How to Be Customer-Centric (and Why)

Article • January 17, 2023 • Written by: Diane Keng

In the past, marketing was hinged upon the 4Ps: product, price, promotion, and placement. The end goal was having a good product that people have heard of, and have it be placed on a shelf in a store at eye-level at a competitive price.

But now, the customer journey is much more complex than running to the grocery store a few times a month. People interact with brands on a daily basis, assessing whether the brand’s values align with their own. And near the top of that list of values is…the customer experience.

It’s more pertinent than ever to adopt a customer-centric approach to every facet of the business; from product development to marketing and service. Eighty percent of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products. And with a complex customer journey of today’s digital era, that experience starts pretty much as soon as someone discovers your brand.

Why is it important to be customer-centric?

In today’s oversaturated market, it has become increasingly difficult to compete for a consumer’s attention. The general trend is that people want to spend less time online, which means that brands have less time to attract the eye of a potential customer. Putting the customer at the center of your values and strategy is a way to stand out from the competition.

Research from Deloitte found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer. This is most likely due to the fact that customer-centric companies reap the rewards in upsell and referral revenue, whereas companies without a client-side focus lose out on these additional streams of revenue.

Besides the obvious reasons to be a customer-centric company, did you know that having a strong customer journey strategy increases your employee engagement by 15%, compared to companies that do not have one in place? Giving your employees a sense of purpose greater than themselves increases the likelihood that they will stay at their job and feel satisfied with their work.

How do you demonstrate customer centricity?

Sixty-five percent of a brand’s business comes from existing consumers.  However, only 14% of marketers say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11% believe their customers would agree with that characterization. There’s a significant gap between customer-centric priorities and perception, and the only way to reconcile it is through implementing a robust consumer data strategy.

Data can tell you a lot about how your consumer moves through life. Within the endless spectrum of data, you can pinpoint your customer’s values and motivations by prioritizing first-party data and engagement data over data that is bought and sold from outside sources. Sixty-six percent of Americans would switch from a product they typically buy to a new product from a purpose-driven company. Make sure your brand and product align with the pain points and values of your ideal customer.

In 2018, almost 60% of Americans said that they would ‘choose, switch, avoid or boycott’ a brand based on its stand on societal issues, compared to just 47% in 2017. Be aware of the issues that your customer base cares about, and take a stand. This goes beyond gimmicks, and involves wielding institutional power responsibly: be a brand that fits into the story of your customer’s life and values.

Once you’ve begun to prioritize data, a whole world of personalization opens up to you. Predictive personalization uses data to enable personalized shopping experiences that delight consumers and make them more likely to purchase your product. Advanced data and AI tools can help you tailor your promotions to fit the needs and preferences of each of your customers by treating them as individuals rather than segments.

Selling to an existing customer has a probability rate of 60-70%, but selling to a new customer is only 5-20%. Investing in your customer experience and adopting a customer-centric approach to your business can impact your business for years to come by turning strangers into advocates of your brand. Once you commit to solving customer pain points with your brand in addition to your product, small but intuitive changes can go a long way.

Ready to transform your digital personalization with incredible speed?

Diane Keng

CEO & Co-Founder @ Breinify
Forbes 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology