6 Key Steps for Building a Customer-Centric Small Business

Apr 19, 2019 | Strategy

Small business owners know the experience they create for their customers can have a significant impact on the success of their business. For several years, companies have been trying to achieve customer-centricity because of the numerous business advantages it has. Interestingly, in their survey on the service delivery gap, Bain and Company reported that 80 percent of the companies included in their research believed that they delivered a “superior experience,” to their customers. However, according to the customers, only 8 percent of these companies were meeting their actual expectations of excellent customer experience.


What Is Customer-Centricity?

Customer centricity refers to a business strategy in which a company or brand aims for positive customer experience at every stage. This means that the customer is satisfied both before and after the purchase of the products. Rather than basing decisions around competitors, products, or short-term profits, customer-centric brands are determined to make and keep the customer happy and base their decision making on how to improve their customer’s experience most effectively.

Being a customer-centric brand doesn’t only mean that you offer excellent customer service. It means that the customer is the core of your business. All decisions made about the products and services have the customer in mind. A customer-centric company identifies what its customers’ need and works to help them achieve their goals.

While customer-centricity may be a long and challenging process, it comes with many benefits. Overall, customer-centricity will help you win in business and become a trendsetter in your field of expertise. This is a process, and like all processes, it needs time for it to reach maximum effectiveness. While there are different things that you can do, these six key steps should have you set on your path to being a customer-centric company.


1.      Define Who the Customer Is and Identify Their Needs

The first step in achieving customer-centricity is identifying your customer personas. While the process for determining how many personas you will use ultimately depends on your company, often the best question to ask is “Does every customer use your product or service for the same reason?”  Identify the unique needs of each persona then develop your products, services, and customizations to provide a solution for these needs.


2.      Integrate Customer Empathy in the Workplace

Showing empathy for your customers will go a long way in building brand loyalty. Your customers don’t want to feel like just some numbers. Instead, ensure that you and your employees understand each stage of the customer journey from the custom’s point of view. Get to understand the customers’ emotional needs by listening to their feedback. You can then create sub-personas from their feedback to help you understand the customers better. By trying to put yourself in your customer’s position, you’re able to build relationships that are designed to enhance the customer experience.


3.      Act Effectively Based on the Provided Feedback

Getting feedback from your customers may not help you much if you don’t act on it. This essential in developing customer-centricity as without direct feedback your best efforts are merely educated guesses. Remember, you are not your customer! With the help of the direct feedback received, you can define a clear strategy of the whole process and identify unnecessary steps or friction along the journey to prioritize.


4.      Keep in Mind Customer Orientation When Hiring

All new employees should know the importance of customer-centricity from their first interview. Many business owners and managers will have a look at a potential employee’s qualifications before hiring them, but taking the time to communicate the values and purpose of your organization is equally important in developing a successful long-term employee relationship. Ensure that they also understand that customer orientation is a necessity for your company. One great way of finding the best employees for your company is by hiring your most passionate customers.


5.      Invest in Effective Communication With Your Customers

Directly interacting with your customers throughout the process is essential to understanding the success of your efforts, as well as what to prioritize next. In addition to scheduling regular check-ins with any willing clients, find ways through which your employees interact with customers directly and create a process for systematically recording these interactions.

Additionally, invest in the methods of communication that your customers are already using. This includes both the type of content (videos, images, blogs, etc.) and the platform (YouTube, Facebook, SEO, etc.). Thanks to digitization, videos, digital photos, and imagery, creating content designed to engage your customers is becoming easier and more accessible. Additionally, integrating this to your website gives customers access to relevant information without having to contact your customer support team. Making it easier for your customer to interact with your company in the way they want is one of the quickest ways to improve customer experience.


6.      Create Metrics for your Customer Experience

There’s no way to determine whether your customer’s experience has improved if you don’t measure it. There are several ways through which you can measure the quality of your customer experience. Whichever method you choose for your business, ensure that you measure frequently and that you emphasize its importance to your employees.


Wrapping it Up

Whether you’re a start-up business or an established brand, customer-centricity is essential to the success of your business. Although there are several ways to achieve customer-centricity, the key steps above should be able to get you started.

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