Want to be truly customer-centric? Use CX to build lasting relationships

Rawnet on how to maintain a steady rhythm with customers

Being 'customer-centric' means putting customers at the focal point of all decisions to create long-term satisfaction, loyalty and brand advocacy. But how does a truly customer-centric organization use experiences to create those lasting relationships? Nick Phipps of agency Rawnet investigates.

A recent report by Econsultancy uncovered that being customer-centric is the most important characteristic to establish a truly 'digital-native' business.

Customer-centricity goes further than just providing a positive customer experience. It's about creating a strategy around the customer and their needs.

These strategies don't just happen overnight. Organizations have to build a solid understanding of their customers to anticipate their future needs. This involves putting the customer at the heart of the business and dedicating time and resources to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship.

This all starts with data. It’s vital to streamline these insights, to create a unified platform that delivers better customer experiences in the long term. Once the strategy has been put in place, companies need to establish ways to measure customer-centricity, such as customer lifetime value, Net Promoter Score and purchase likelihood.

Customer-centricity requires a keen focus on CX

When a business shows initiative to implement customer-centric models, it must begin with a focus on customer experience. In a digital era, this is the key to success as the majority of interactions with customers are online. Revisiting the customer journey is more important than ever.

Without customers, a company cannot even exist. Putting the viewpoint of its target audience at the forefront of any model is a necessary first step. A customer-centric approach must utilize the most important factors: leadership, strategy and the three ps. Concentrating on people, processes and platforms will determine the overall success of an organization, but without a strong strategy and knowledgeable leadership, a business will not reach its full potential.

As stated by Matt Watkinson in his book The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, “customers have a loud voice, a wealth of choice and their expectations are higher than ever.” Those that are satisfied with their experience will decide whether there will be another chance of an additional purchase; recommendations for friends and family could bring new leads and customers. Gaining an understanding of customer demands can support a company to improve in areas such as marketing and even the services that it is offering.

Business departments have budgets to abide by. Attempting to chase customers through efforts of courting leads can be a serious waste of money and time. Retaining customers is a more efficient way to continue to make a profit. Loyal customers are more willing to purchase again compared with other audiences who haven’t (yet) created a relationship with the business. Customer retention creates a steady stream of profits.

Building a successful model

Marketing to your customers seems overly obvious. However, audiences are now looking for brands that reach out to them on a more personal and targeted level. Promoting services and offerings that are relevant and valuable to them individually will have a more positive outcome. Differentiating your customers and using varied marketing techniques will encourage customer retention. When exploring the correct approach, businesses should have retention, adoption and growth at the forefront of marketing.

Start within. Having a team that focuses on customer-centricity is an essential part of the victory of the company. Employees with a sense of empathy and need to put their customers first will have a better outcome than those who don’t. Connecting with the target audience will help to create strong relationships and (most importantly) trust.

Measurement

To determine success, organizations will need a process that measures customer-centricity. This can include how likely customers are to recommend services to someone else or even a scale rating satisfaction. When reviewing this vital data, as a business, this can determine the next move to boost future customer experiences.

An organization with a healthy pipeline of loyal customers, who have been with the company for a long time, will see a steady and continued increase in profit. Many companies are already on the right path, including Starbucks, Amazon and Ikea. Taking inspiration from these successful businesses will help brands become customer-centric by looking after loyal customers and understanding their needs for a long-lasting relationship.