How to Create a Customer Centric Strategy For Your Business

Post summary:

  • What is customer centric?
  • The challenges of becoming a customer centric organization
  • 4 best practices to becoming a customer centric company

Customer centric is a way of doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.

And a customer-centric company is more than a company that offers good service.

Both Amazon and Zappos are prime examples of brands that are customer centric and have spent years creating a culture around the customer and their needs. Their commitment in delivering customer value is genuine – In fact, Zappos is happy to fire employees if they do not fit within their customer centric culture!

The importance of being customer centric continues to grow.

Econsultancy recently asked what the most important characteristic is in order to establish a truly “digital-native” culture. The answer to that question and leading the responses with 58% was to be customer-centric.

Customer-centric organizational culture characteristics

However, executing a customer-centric strategy doesn’t happen overnight. You have to start somewhere, and this blog post is intended to guide you in to achieving this.

What does it mean to be customer centric?

Customer centricity is not just about offering great customer service, it means offering a great experience from the awareness stage, through the purchasing process and finally through the post-purchase process. It’s a strategy that’s based on putting your customer first, and at the core of your business.

What does it mean to customer centric?

When you put your customer at the core of your business, you collect a wealth of data within your CRM software, giving you a full 360 view of the customer, which you can then use to enhance the customer experience.

For example:

  • You can use customer data to understand buying behavior, interests and engagement
  • You can identify opportunities to create products and services for your best customers
  • You can use customer lifetime value to segment customers based on top spending customers

Not only does focusing on the customer make sound business sense, but research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.

The challenges of becoming a customer centric organization

The power shift between brand and customer happened during the economic downturn. Customers became more selective in which brand they chose to spend their money with – The winning brands were the ones who treated their customers with respect, with great service, and built a relationship with them that still exists today.

And during the same time as the recession, social media marketing and social selling exploded onto the scene and mobile became a major part of the customer journey. Customers can now compare products and services in real time and across multiple devices, which has presented a huge challenge for many brands.

Research has found that companies are struggling with this change and are unable to become a customer-centric organization – with the biggest challenge not being able to share customer information across departments.

Customer centric challenges 2016

Most companies do not have all of the components in place to claim they are customer centric.

You need to start with your customers, not your products and focus on what your customers want to do. By designing your company from the customer’s perspective, your organization will be focused on the customer’s needs.

4 Best Practices to becoming a Customer Centric Company

By being customer centric, you will want to anticipate customers’ needs and delight them with products and services they may not have thought of, but will immediately fall in love with (ie, Apple’s iPhone or iPad). Thus, the customer centric brand creates products, processes, policies and a culture that is designed to support customers with a great experience as they are working towards their goals.

The four best practices that stand out regarding customer-centricity are:

  1. Brands that are committed to customer centricity are passionate, and truly believe the customer comes first. They believe that without the customer, they cannot succeed in business (which is true) and want to see the world through the customer’s eyes. Marketers inside customer-centric organizations understand what customers want, and use customer data to capture customer insights and share this across the organization.
  2. Brands that are committed to customer centricity focus on what the customer wants and needs, and develop products and services around that.
  3. Brands that are committed to customer centricity focus on building relationships designed to maximize the customer’s product and service experience.
  4. Brands that are committed to customer centricity analyze, plan and implement a carefully formulated customer strategy that focuses on creating and keeping profitable and loyal customer.

How to measure the success of a customer centric company?

Not every organization will have the same customer metrics to measure customer centricity. However, the two most important customer centric metrics that should be carefully monitored are churn rate and customer lifetime value.

Churn rate

Acquiring new customers is getting more difficult. Therefore, more companies are investing in keeping existing customers instead of trying to find new ones:

  • Acquiring new customers can cost up to 5x more than keeping existing customers
  • A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%
  • On average, companies lose approx. 10% of its customer base each year (also known as customer churn)

Companies with a high retention rate grow faster. The key to success is to understand why people leave, and why people remain customers.

To calculate the churn rate, measure the number of customers who left in the last 12 months divided by the average number of total customers (during the same period).

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

For a customer-centric business, the most valuable asset is the customer. The profits generated during the retention phase are often known as customer lifetime value or CLV. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) measures the profit your organization makes from any given customer.

To calculate CLV, take the revenue you earn from a customer, subtract the money spent on serving them and adjust all of the payments for time value of money. Another way to calculate it is to take average order value and repeat purchase rates. For example, if your average order value is $100 and the repeat purchase rate per customer is 20% your estimated CLV is $120.

Calculating the customer lifetime value helps you understand why it makes sense to invest in keeping your customers. It’s a great way to get an understanding of your customer portfolio and to segment your customer.

Conclusion

The shift towards becoming a truly customer centric organization is both complex and long but, do not be put off by this as even the smallest changes to policy and processes can have a significant benefit for both employee and your customer.

Being a customer centric organization is the Holy Grail towards unlocking the true potential of customer value. Always put yourself in the shoes of the customer and minimize customer effort and maximize customer value.

Are you a customer centric organization? Are you seeing the benefits? Let me know below.

P.S. CRM software plays an important role in becoming customer centric as this is where all of your customer data is stored. Get started with SuperOffice CRM and take a free trial below.

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About Steven MacDonald

Steven MacDonald

Steven Macdonald is an online marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia, Steven has more than ten years experience in the online marketing field and is driven by creating success stories. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.

22 Comments

Martyna

about 3 years ago

Steven it is an interesting article. I have a question to you. Amazon has the lowest prices and great customer service. However, their employees don't earn much and work at Amazon centres is hard. How can a brand build a long-term successful strategy, when it's employees are unhappy? I compared it with Standard Oil. John D. Rockefeller made sure that his people were paid well to avoid protests. Best wishes, Martyna

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 3 years ago

That's a great point, Martyna! Happy employees are a hugely important factor for when creating a successful strategy. In fact, Mark Taylor writes about employee happiness and how important it is for customer service here: http://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-service-mistakes/

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pull

about 2 years ago

Awesome post.

Reply

Dr N.H.Mullick

about 2 years ago

Dear Steven A very nice article and I want to add some of the portions in my CRM book which I am publishing in Oct'15 in Oxford Publishing House in India. I want to send a letter for getting permission for that. So, please send me your e-mail id so that I can send you the official mail for that. I have also sent a request to get connected with u in LinkedIn. Thanking you Dr N.H.Mullick

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 2 years ago

Thanks for the comment.

Reply

Nikhil Joseph

about 1 year ago

This article is true, CRM can bring in customer centric strategy. I am using a CRM and it has build more customers and also helped in constant follow-up of customers.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

Thanks for the comment, Nikhil!

Reply

Niyi Salau

about 1 year ago

I am a CRM blogger with about five years of exprience. I agreed completely to the content of this article. I would love to also be a contributor to this blog as well. Thanks so much Steve for this article.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

Thanks, Niyi! Glad you liked it.

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Ashish

about 1 year ago

An interesting article. Organizations need to realize that focusing their initiatives towards building a customer centric culture is paramount. Building a customer centric culture facilitates not just business offerings but also processes and policies that can help in providing a great customer experience. Although, the initiative towards customer centricity can be led by anyone in an organization, leadership must lead by example and inspire entire workforce to shift their focus.

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Allison

about 12 months ago

Great article! An easy read and yet very impactful. I'm faced with many of the customer centric challenges the article references. I plan to use some of the tips mentioned.

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Denis Vlasicek

about 11 months ago

Hey, Steven, cool article and a fascinating topic! I was wondering if you could provide a link to the Deloitt & Touche report you're referencing? I'm compiling a report for my employer, and would greatly appreciate it. Best regards, Denis

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Kevin

about 9 months ago

Great article Steven. Hope you establish new customer-centric strategies in the future!

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Sonam

about 9 months ago

Great blog, good information is given about customer centric strategies.It was worth reading.Thanks for posting the blog.

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Brian Patterson

about 8 months ago

Thanks Steven for this article. You’re absolutely right. Today’s customers have lots of requirements. I thinks a customer centric strategy is the best way.

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Kira

about 4 months ago

Hi Steven, Can you direct me to the Deloitte research that shows that customer centric companies are 60% more profitable? Thanks.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 4 months ago

Hi Kira. Here's a link to the report: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ie/Documents/Strategy/2014_customer_centricity_deloitte_ireland.pdf

Reply

Del

about 4 months ago

Hi Steven - Great article!! The link to Deloitte does not work :-( - Thank you

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 4 months ago

Hi Del. This link should work: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ie/Documents/Strategy/2014_customer_centricity_deloitte_ireland.pdf

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John Trent

about 2 months ago

Well Said Steven! "By being customer centric, you will want to anticipate customers’ needs and delight them with products and services they may not have thought of, but will immediately fall in love with."

Reply

Darrel

about 1 month ago

Hi Steven, are you able to indicate source of research that led to graphic on challenges faced in becoming truly customer centric?

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 4 weeks ago

Hi Darrel. Sure, here's the link to the Econsultancy research (download link): https://econsultancy.com/reports/effective-leadership-in-the-digital-age/

Reply

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