Maximising Customer Value: Answering Your Top Questions About Customer Centricity

As a customer-first strategist, I am frequently asked about customer centricity and the value it brings to a business when they adopt the strategy.

I, therefore, thought it would be useful to share the topics my clients ask me about most frequently and my responses to them. If you, too, have questions about customer centricity, I’m sure you will find the answers you’re looking for below. And if not, you can always DM me.

 

So you have questions about customer centricity?

Good to know! Let me start by saying that adopting a customer-first strategy can be daunting for any organization. You should, therefore, not dwell upon your reticence in the past. However, in today’s rapidly changing business landscape, it is more important than ever for you to prioritize customer centricity.

 

What is a customer-first strategy?

A customer-first strategy is an approach to business that prioritizes the needs and preferences of the customer. It means putting the customer at the centre of every decision an organisation makes, from product development to marketing and sales. Put simply, it involves a shift away from traditional product-focused strategies to a more customer-centric approach.

This means that it’s not just about providing good customer service; it’s about understanding your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points, and then designing your products, services, and marketing strategies to meet those needs.

 

Why is a customer-first strategy important?

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, focusing on your customers is more important than ever before. You can no longer hesitate. Nor can you not make it a top objective for your organisation.

A customer-first strategy can help you build stronger customer relationships, increase customer loyalty and retention, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

By focusing on your customers’ needs and preferences, you can differentiate your brand from your competitors and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Isn’t that what we’re all searching to do?

A customer-first strategy is important because it can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. When customers feel that a business truly understands their needs and is committed to meeting them, they are more likely to remain loyal to that business and recommend it to others.

In addition, a customer-first strategy can help businesses identify new opportunities for growth and innovation. By focusing on the customer, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their market, and create products and services that truly meet the needs of their customers.

 

How do you implement a customer-first strategy?

To implement a customer-first strategy, you must start by understanding your customers. For me, this starts with simply watching and listening to them. I say “simply”, but this is one of the most powerful ways to not only know, but truly understand your customers and how your product or service fits into their lives.

Once you have done this, you can supplement your knowledge, if you have found gaps in it, by conducting market research surveys, collecting customer feedback, and analyzing customer data.

All the information you gather can be used to … Click to continue reading

How Leaders can Successfully Lead a Customer-first Strategy Adoption

As a leader, you know that customer centricity is critical to the success of your business. However, it is not enough to pay lip service to this concept; you must make it an integral part of your company’s culture and business strategy.

In this post, we will explore what customer centricity means, why it is essential, and how you, as a leader, can successfully lead a customer-first strategy adoption in your organization.

 

Defining Customer Centricity

Customer centricity is a business strategy that puts the customer at the heart of everything the company does. It involves understanding the needs and desires of your customers and then tailoring your products and services to meet them.

Customer centricity is not just about providing excellent customer service; it’s about creating a culture of customer obsession that permeates every aspect of the business. This is why it must be a company objective.

 

Why is a Customer-first Strategy Important?

There are several reasons why a customer-first strategy is crucial for the success of your business. First and foremost, it helps you build a loyal customer base.

When customers feel that a company truly understands their needs and is committed to meeting them, they are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the company to others. This can help you increase revenue and grow your business.

Customer centricity can also help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. In today’s highly competitive business environment, standing out from the crowd can be challenging.

However, suppose you can demonstrate that you are genuinely committed to meeting your customers’ needs. That’s a great way to distinguish yourself from other companies that are just going through the motions.

Finally, customer centricity can help you stay ahead of the curve regarding new product and service development. By constantly seeking customer feedback, you can identify emerging trends and stay ahead of the competition. This can help you develop new offers that meet your customer’s needs today and tomorrow.

 

Leading a Customer-first Strategy in Your Organization

Implementing a customer-first strategy in your organization requires a significant shift in mindset and culture. Here are the steps you can take to make customer-centricity a reality in your business:

 

1. Start with the CEO

As a business leader, you need to lead by example.

Make it clear to your employees that customer centricity is a top priority for the company.

Set measurable goals and hold your team accountable for achieving them.

This sends a strong message to everyone in the organization that customer-centricity is not just a buzzword but a fundamental part of the business strategy.

 

2. Understand Your Customers

To be truly customer-centric, you need to understand your customers deeply.

This means going beyond demographic data and understanding their motivations, pain points, and desires.

Watch and listen to your customers frequently. Conduct customer research, including surveys and focus groups, to gain insights into what your customers want and need.

Collect the information in a customer persona/avatar template. If you don’t have

Click to continue reading

Post Covid People are Searching for More Meaningful Connection & Engagement

I know, you probably don’t want to read yet another article about the post-pandemic era. But bear with me; this is about customer connection and engagement.

Since covid, people have changed their perspective on many categories. They have also adapted their purchasing behaviour following lockdown. So this seems to be the perfect time to reconsider our customer-first strategies, doesn’t it?

Up until the covid-19 virus infected the globe, almost every single organisation, big or small, recognised the importance of satisfying their customers. However, most of them were only giving lip service to customer-centricity. Very few were actually going beyond voicing their opinions.

So I have some bad news if you are in this first group and it’s this. Not actioning a customer-first approach in everything you do is no longer an option. You were be called out, most probably very publically online. Customers are sharing their experiences of companies and brands far more than they were doing before the pandemic.

It makes sense. What else did we have to do than surf the internet all day long? And this habit seems to have remained. According to the latest global statistics, back in 2020, the average consumer spent 474 minutes a day on digital media. By 2023, that number is predicted to rise, according to the experts, to 500 minutes on digital media.

Taking a closer look at social media use trends, business owners and marketers can learn a great deal about opportunities to boost engagement and business impact as the new norm continues to evolve.

The article by Business.com lists four things consumers are looking for:

  1. They want to be entertained – understandable when you consider how much time they are spending online.
  2. Unlocking creativity – they are not only consuming content, but they are also creating it in larger quantities than ever before.
  3. They want connection and comfort – people are desperate to overcome their isolation and connect with others, so online multiplayer gaming and chat have surged.
  4. They seek positive content to cheer them up – it’s a natural human response to seek uplifting, inspirational content during difficult times.

If I were to sum up these four desires, I would say that people are looking for more connection and engagement. Exactly what a customer-first strategy provides! But there are things to avoid.

[bctt tweet=”Customers have four desires when online, that can be summarised as simply a desire for more connection and engagement. Exactly what a customer-first strategy provides! #CEX #CustomerFirst #CustomerCentricity #CMO” username=”Denysech”]

When an organisation decides to become more customer centric, there are many mistakes that are commonly made. This article “7 Reasons for Failure When Adopting a Customer First Strategy” gives the main ones and makes a complementary read to this post.

But today’s world has accelerated the upward trend of the importance of a customer-first strategy and makes it one of the most, if not the most important one for all organisations.

It is no longer the norm, or even the new norm, of successful … Click to continue reading

Adopting a Customer First Strategy. Even the Police Can Get it Right!

In most countries, the population have a love / hate relationship with their police. You can imagine my surprise, therefore, to find myself writing about how they appear to be adopting a customer first strategy in Switzerland!

Let me explain. A few years ago they introduced a new-style speed radars in the villages around my home town. The elements are not that new per se, I know, but last week it suddenly hit me why these speed cameras seem to be so effective. It’s simple; they’re customer centric! The Swiss police have adopted a customer first strategy! And that’s why I want to share more about this story here.

 

Background

One of the reasons why the Police are disliked in many (dare I say most?) countries, is because of their insidious speed controls.

Whether they are permanent fixtures as on the right, or temporary ones, we all dislike the flash that tells us it’s too late, that we’ve been “caught.”

We then wait a few days, to weeks or even months, naively hoping that it wasn’t our car that was flashed. But eventually the letter arrives asking us to pay a fine.

I think the worst of them all are the laser guns that the Police have been using for many years now. We don’t even know we’ve been flashed until the communication arrives at our home! Or we are pulled up a few hundred meters down the road.

 

The relatively new types of radar that are being introduced in my home area don’t flash either. But that’s because we never get “caught” as such.

You see they measure our speed and give us immediate feedback. Take a look at the photo on the right; I’m sure you’ve seen such installations before in your own area.

Now if we make the assumption that all four types of equipment are to get road users to decrease their speed in critical areas – and not just to gather money as I’ve heard suggested – then the results must vary widely.

 

 

So let me share my thoughts from the perspective of a customer first strategy champion.

 

What This Has to Do with Your business

So why is this example relevant for you and your own customer first strategy? Well, ask yourself what you really want for your business? 

In the case of the police, I am assuming that they want to reduce the speed of drivers in certain areas and make the roads safer for everyone. In this case, the customer-centric approach, which has by far the most success at slowing drivers down to within the speed limit along a larger portion of the road, is the information panel. If that is their objective, then the Police in every country should adopt these new style radars.

But if those who consider speed checks to be a mere money-making operation are right, then the Police will continue to use one of their other options. And they must accept the … Click to continue reading

Are You Giving What Customers Want Today?

As a dedicated customer centricity champion, just like you, I spend a lot of my time researching what customers want, just like you do too, I hope. In this period of great global unrest, understanding our customers has become more important than ever before.

Just a few short months ago, I didn’t think that it would be possible for customer-centricity to become any more important. But things change and now everyone is fighting to keep their businesses afloat. So the new and constantly altering needs and desires of our customers should be a top priority for all of us to follow.

To help me keep abreast of the changes, I’m regularly checking online searches for such terms as customer service, customer satisfaction and customer care. Google and Bing have become some of my best friends!

A couple of years ago, I came across some surprising facts, which prompted this post when I first drafted it. But with the incredibly unforeseen events of the past few years, I feel it deserves a update.

Already at the time, my analysis suggested a serious problem in the business of looking after our customers. Today it is clear that any organisation that hasn’t spent time putting things right, will most certainly be suffering in this post-pandemic, global unrest in which companies are trying to do business. I’d be interested to hear your own thoughts once you have read the article.

 

Customer Centricity

Wikipedia, another of my faithful friends, doesn’t have a definition for customer centricity! If you look up the term, you get directed to customer satisfaction! Unbelievable.  Try it for yourself and see!

Gartner defines customer centricity as:

“The ability of people in an organisation to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations.”

It then goes on to say:

“Customer centricity demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions related to delivering products, services and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

What I particularly like about this definition, is that it refers to customer understanding and the need for customers to be the focus of decision-making. It also highlights the need to create not just customer satisfaction, but loyalty and advocacy too.

Now whereas it seems to be difficult to build longterm loyalty these days, especially in B2C businesses, advocacy is essential in today’s connected world. Of course the latter means that customers are surprised and delighted rather than just satisfied, so that they are excited to share their positive experiences with others.


Need help in adopting a customer-first strategy?

Check out our Brand Accelerator™ Course in the C3Centricity Academy


Aim for Advocacy Rather than Loyalty

As we all know, it costs between 5 and 25 times more to acquire a new customer as it does to retain existing ones. (Invesp) Therefore strong loyalty is a valuable benefit for a brand. But covid saw us all changing our purchasing behaviours, as we researched, compared and then bought more online. So although loyalty is difficult, it … Click to continue reading

The Exciting Future of Brand Building comes from Customer Centricity

Marketing is an old profession. It’s been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. But with the advent of digital in the early 80’s, companies began taking a serious look at their marketing strategies.

Many organisations realised that it was time for a major overhaul of their primarily outbound strategies. Consumers no longer appreciated being interrupted in their daily lives, if they ever did! Marketing had to find ways to stimulate more inbound engagements, but how?

However, after trying multiple inbound marketing strategies, they find that they are still irritating their customers with spammy emails, intrusive pop-ups and over-complicated cookies, that gather far more information than most organisations will ever need or use. At least those will soon be a thing of the past!

Despite these changes, CMOs remain one of the leading c-suite members who struggle to keep their jobs for more than four or five years. The reasons are many, but the post “Head of Marketing, How Can You Keep Your Job When Most CMOs Are Losing Theirs?” explains what you can do to ensure that you leave your position when you want to and not on your CEO’s terms.

Brand Building

Many large CPG companies, such as P&G, Coca-Cola and Nestle, have changed the name of their Marketing departments in the past twenty years, to Brand Building. They hoped that it would revive sales and give new vitality to their communications to better engage their customers in the new social world. But most failed miserably, because they remained very much in a state of business as usual. They continued with the same processes and mind-sets. And with few exceptions, they prioritised thoughts about themselves and their brands, and rarely took their customers’ perspective.

A more recent change is bringing more marketing tasks in-house, as P&G has done. Read more here. While this certainly saves a considerable part of their budget, the biggest advantage from my perspective, is that these companies automatically learn more about their customers’ behaviour. When you are planning communication campaigns and deciding on ad spend, you need to understand where your customers are and when they are most open to receiving your messages. That for me is far more valuable than any savings on agency costs. What do you think?

Even without making such a drastic move, many other consumer goods companies have realised that to satisfy the consumer they had to do things differently. They were the ones that moved to customer centricity. Or to be exact they started on their journey towards putting the customer at the heart of their businesses. Customer centricity is not a destination, because consumers are constantly changing and their satisfaction never lasts for long. It is a journey where you are accompanying your customers with the aim to satisfy and delight them, however they change.

[bctt tweet=”Customer centricity is not a destination, because consumers are constantly changing and their satisfaction never lasts for long. It is a journey with the aim to satisfy … Click to continue reading

How to Measure Customer Centricity the Right Way

As a customer-first strategist (just like you I hope), I spend a lot of my time searching how to better measure customer centricity for my clients. I also do a lot of analyses on what customers really want today. I’m always trying to understand the exact solutions customers need, desire and dream of having.

My regular searches include customer service, customer satisfaction, customer care and similar topic areas. Google is my best friend! However, I recently came across some surprising facts, which prompted this post. I believe they show a serious problem in the business of looking after our customers today. Read the article and then let me know whether or not you agree with my analysis.

CUSTOMER CENTRICITY

Wikipedia, another online friend of mine, doesn’t have a definition of customer centricity! If you look up the term, you get redirected to customer satisfaction!  Try it for yourself and see.

My other go-to source for definitions is  businessdictionary.com which defines customer centric as:

“Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.”

It then goes on to say

“A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.”

Now although I find the definition limited, since it refers only to sales and post-sale activities, I do like the fact that it mentions three important elements of customer centricity:

  • A positive customer experience
  • Adds value to a company
  • Enables differentiation

This clearly identifies three huge benefits of becoming (more) customer centric:

1. A positive customer experience has been shown to increase both loyalty and advocacy. As we all know, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer, as it does to keep a current one. Therefore loyalty is an incredibly valuable benefit for a brand.

According to recent research by Bain & Company, along with Earl Sasser of the Harvard Business School increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%. OK a very wide range, but I’m sure we’d all be happy with even a 25% increase in profits, wouldn’t we?

One further piece of research, this time from Marketing Metrics, shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is less than 20%.

Clearly placing more attention on keeping our current customers satisfied brings greater rewards than going after new ones. And yet that is what most companies set as a priority. Any ideas why?

2. Adding value to a company also increases the ROI of its marketing investments. This is something that marketing is constantly challenged to prove these days. With the risk of seeing their budgets cut if they are unable to provide convincing arguments to their bosses.

Luckily, what’s good for the customer is good for business. You can see many more facts and statistics … Click to continue reading

Customer Centricity is Today’s Business Disruptor (Insights are its Foundation)

I recently returned from a speaking invitation in Las Vegas. It was an incredible Symposium run by Sitecore, and I was blown away by the importance placed on customer-centricity during the whole event!

From the opening keynote by Sitecore’s CEO Mark Frost to the second-day keynote by Kirsten Newbold-Knipp from Gartner, everyone in this tech and data-heavy conference understood that data is only as good as the use you put on it. Do you?

We are all excited by the wealth of information available to us about our customers, from the IoT as well as people’s behaviour on the internet. In fact, data gathering is no longer an issue; it is its management, analysis and, above all, understanding to turn it into actionable insights that is today’s challenge.

I believe that the reason most organisations today are drowning in data and thirsting for insights, as I am often quoted as saying, is because they are more excited by data than people.

“Organisations are drowning in data and thirsting for insights”

And yet data usually comes from people and their acts and is analysed by people, so that businesses can have more impact on their customers’ attitudes and behaviours. It is, therefore, vital to turn that wealth of information into actionable insights. That’s why I want to share my 7-step process for doing just that with you.

I call it Catsight™, and the acronym always causes a few giggles, as I’m sure you can imagine. After all, business is a serious topic, which is why I try to find ways for us all to find reasons to laugh in all this seriousness.

I chose the name Catsight™ because I thought it is memorable and has a serious relevance to what insight developers do.

Cats have an acute vision, particularly in the dark. They are good at listening because their ears turn 180 degrees. They are highly sensitive – just ask an owner how their cat reacts when they are sad or ill.

Seeing in the dark, listening skills, sensitivity and empathy for the customer are essential skills for all insight developers.

So here are my seven steps to actionable insight development. Note that information gathering is only step #6!

If you react to business questions immediately by running a market research project, please read on. It could save you a lot of money and time!

Using my method, you only start spending money on running a survey in step six – and only if you have identified a gap in your knowledge of the situation. Many organisations don’t know what they already know and what is already available within the company that they are unaware of.

This 7-step process will save you money because you will run less research AND make better use of all the information already available within the organisation. That’s an immediate improvement in the ROI of your information gathering.

C = Category

Whenever you want to develop insight, the first task is to decide on the category … Click to continue reading

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