A customer-centric business is – you guessed it – focused on the customer. This idea has become a bit of buzzword in the business world, and for good reason. In theory, when everything about your business revolves around the needs of your customers, sales naturally follow. In practice, though, being a customer-centric business is more about what you do in real life than what you put down on paper. Here are some ideas to be customer-centric in ways your customers can truly see.
Communicate with your customers, and when you do, listen more than you talk. No matter what type of business you run, you must find ways to interact with customers directly. Ask specific questions about how your company meets, exceeds, or falls short of expectations.
Be proactive instead of reactive. A customer-centric business leader knows that the best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you wait to react to problems as they come up, you’ll be constantly putting out fires and won’t have time to serve your customer.
Be authentic in your marketing. Your marketing strategies must be a reflection of your customer-centric philosophy. To do this, maintain a genuine presence on social media and use those channels to personally connect with your customers. Marketing is no longer a one-way communication, it’s an opportunity to have a digital conversation with your customers every day.
Build trust. Customers will not feel like your company is centered around them if they don’t trust you. Trust can be built directly and indirectly. Directly, make sure your company keeps the promises you make to customers. Indirectly, follow compliance procedures that inspire trust, such as strict food safety and consumer data protection guidelines.
Get involved with causes your customers care about. If your business has a local storefront, go beyond the “donate your change” jar. Adopt a local charity that truly makes a difference in your community, and give customers ways to participate in the charitable giving you do. If you’re a global or national company, do the same thing on a larger scale.
Make them a part of your team. In a truly customer-centric business, your employees are building meaningful relationships with your customers. In this way, customers are part of your team. Give them a role in your employee recognition efforts or product development research. The more involved customers are in your business, the more loyal they will be.
Train your staff on what customer expectations are, and how to exceed them. The key to your customer-centric approach to business is your employees. They are the ones charged with implementing your processes and following through on your promises. They simply can’t do that without the proper training.