Companies that are really customer-centric think and operate differently in order to place customers at the focus of all their objectives. These businesses aren’t afraid to experiment, innovate, and form long-term customer relationships.
Interacting with a customer-centric company versus a non-customer-centric one provides two unique experiences. Customer-centric businesses are all about their consumers, and they consider them in every decision and strategic move they make. Many businesses claim to be customer-focused, but only a handful actually are. Everyone who engages with a truly customer-centric company can tell—employees and customers alike—because everything about the company’s attitude and behaviour is different.
Here are six distinct characteristics of customer-centric businesses.
They have Executive Buy-In
Leaders that understand and care about consumers are at the forefront of customer-centricity. When a CEO prioritizes customers before profits, his or her attitude pervades the entire organization. Getting executives on board is one of the most difficult challenges for CX experts and change agents, especially when they cannot see the immediate financial benefits of investing in customer experience. Customer-centric businesses, however, have CEOs who appreciate the importance of developing effective experience programs and putting customers first.
Customer experience initiatives are easier to implement when executives are on board. Not only that, but it also leads to increased revenue. Companies with a CEO who is focused on the customers are more profitable than their competitors.
A Culture of Customer Obsession
To develop a culture of customer obsession, it must start at the top with executive buy-in and then extend throughout the organization. The attitude of the organization is set by its leaders. Employees at all levels will prioritize customers over profits if executives value customers over profits. Every employee, regardless of their seniority or responsibilities, understands how their work affects customers in a truly customer-centric culture. They recognize the impact of what they do on the whole customer experience and are empowered and engaged to provide the greatest possible service to consumers.
Feedback Loops are Valued
It’s a two-way street with customer-centricity. An organization cannot claim to know what’s best for customers if it doesn’t communicate with them on a frequent basis. Customer-centric businesses not only recognize the value of feedback, but also include feedback loops into their operations and use customer feedback to enhance their products and services.
Companies today have a plethora of tools for connecting with customers and gathering feedback, including surveys and metrics, as well as anecdotally through focus groups, social media, and in-person meetings. Customer-centric businesses use that information and ensure that it reaches the right individuals who can make a real difference.
Innovative Products and Solutions
Customer preferences and wants are constantly shifting, and customer-centric businesses stay ahead of the curve by developing new products and services. They undergo continuous digital transformations to provide customers with convenient and seamless digital solutions. Innovative businesses look to the future and provide customers with products and services they may not even realize they want, but which add value and ease to their lives. These innovations aren’t only spectacular or novel; they’re also based on what’s best for customers.
Customers are understood by customer-centric businesses, both individually and collectively. They don’t take a one-size-fits-all strategy; instead focus on ways to tailor the experience to each individual, such as connected contact centres that eliminate the need for customers to repeat themselves, individual relationships and personalized recommendations.
Customer-centric businesses are proactive in their approach, looking for methods to assist consumers and avoid problems. They address issues before they arise and reach out to customers with prospective services before they realize they need them, rather than acting as the clean-up team to solve problems reactively.
Making the Lives of Customers Easier
The ultimate test of whether a company is customer-centric is whether it makes customers’ lives easier. Companies all too frequently fall into the trap of making customers’ life more difficult so that they don’t have to work as hard. Customer-centric businesses, on the other hand, go above and beyond by providing self-service alternatives, useful digital tools, and even surprise and delighting consumers. They don’t do it unwillingly or to get customers to spend more money; they do it because they genuinely care about their customers and want them to live better lives.
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