Why you should have a customer-centric company

04/26/2019 - Jordi Ordoñez

Onetrend that’s been upheldsince the beginning of modern marketing is customer-centric companies. Focusing everything on the customer was already being done in retail at the start of the last century and it’s now being adopted consistently by modern e-commerce. Why? Because it works.

What does customer-centric mean?

It’s a philosophy that a company applies fully to every strategic and business action. The customer is the reference point that everything orbits around.

The goal of these companies is no different than others who don’t use this technique: sell as much as possible and be practical. The key lies in their priorities: have the utmost customer satisfaction and an excellent shopping experience that results in high customer loyalty from returning patrons, who many times end up being brand ambassadors.

For example, we could differentiate between a low-cost store that focuses on obtaining the most sales from the most customers and another store that’s satisfied with obtaining its salesfrom a smaller segment of more faithful customers, even if their prices are higher. Imagine a company that makes low-end cell phones in one corner and Apple in the other.

How do I apply this to my company?

Making the decision to turn to the customer-centric model isn’t as easy as saying, “From now on, the customer is always right.” It’s much more than that and it affects the business at a structural level. Make sure you follow these important guidelines.

#1 – User knowledge

This is always critical but if you opt fora customer-centric philosophy, it’s essential. I don’t just mean looking at your target audience, that applies to any business wanting to succeed, regardless of the approach. No, I mean something more extensive.

Think about the customer over the product. Let me explain: Separate your target, your incentives, and your needs. With this clear profile, you can open a catalog of products that should meet a need. These are the products you have to sell, not others. Furthermore, you’re getting a general outline of how to define the tone and the way to approach your customers.

There are many ways to do this: you can use surveys, focus groups, user tests, card sorting, etc. The best method is to combine this with the information provided by your customer service agents, which is essential,tocreate your own Buyer Persona. These are prototypes with names and incentives; a man or woman that embodies your average customer and is someone you could use to adjust your strategy.

#2 – The human and emotional approach

Customer-centric companies are characterized by enhancing the human factor. It startswith empathy because they treat the customer like they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

Empathy is the best weapon to build lasting relationships where the customer feels like a protagonist and part of a common project. On paper, it can seem easy, but it’s not as simplewhen you’re putting it into practice. Our advice is to focus on people who talk to other people and there’s no one better than your customer service team.

At Oct8ne, this is one of our basic principles, which is why we propose integrated sales and service tools with multiple features for visual customer service solutions that have agents behind them interacting with customers. Algorithms solve many problems, but they still leave you with the feeling of being attended by a machine and that takes a lot away from the customer experience.

#3 – Employee training

I already mentioned that we’re talking about a cross-sectional approach, a global policy at the company level. To ensure it’s applied correctly, we have to know how to transmit it to employees at all levels and departments. If not, the previous point won’t get done.

Define a few guidelines and conduct a couple regular training sessions to make sure everyone is clear on the procedure. Auditwhat’s done on a daily basis; it won’t suffice to have just one initial training session. A solid and well-defined procedure is the best way to give your team resources when taking action.

Examples of customer-centric companies

We could start with some that are really popular, like Amazon. Anyone who has ever bought something from Amazon has the feeling of being valued as a customer. If this is the case for buyers, it’s the same for the salesperson.

We could say that Amazon is almost always on the customer’s side, so much so that the merchants are a bit obsessive because a claim or a series of repeated complaints can take you off the platform or, at the very least, hurt your SEO in internal searches.

Another store that’s earned the customer-centric term is Zappos. In this case, its customer service and post-sale service stands out. There are many good examples of this, like the customer who wanted to return shoes from his mother who had just died. Zappos not only processed the return,even though it was outside of the return date, they also sent him a bouquet of flowers with their condolences. These details are what make the brand project a real interest for its customers.

Zappos, specifically, has an interesting policy: allnew employees, must work in the customer service department for 15 days of their training, regardless of the position they have or the tasks they will perform. This gives them the knowledge and perspective of a customer, which is something that is difficult to learn any other way.

Do you think you’re customer-centric? Do you think it’s important to have this approach in your business?

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