Want to build stronger relationships with customers to generate more repeat business and referrals? It all starts with being customer-centric.
Although some people may think that such terms as “customer-focused” and “customer-centric” are interchangeable, these are two different approaches.
The internet allows everyone to build their small business easier and faster than ever before. In turn, consumers are no longer limited to companies located nearby. Modern consumers are more informed, and strong competition pushes marketers to adopt customer-based approaches. As a small businesses you need to shift your focus to customers, adopting customer-centric marketing strategies, and nurturing loyalty among your customers.
The use of analytics and particular attention to seamless customer experience are distinctive features of customer centricity. You have to think like your customers in order to meet their expectations. Another feature of such businesses is a developed customer-centric culture. Not only should your team be able to help customers in any situation, but also everyone in your company should think of customers and prioritize their experience.
Customer Focused and Customer Centric: Key Differences
- The customer-focused approach is all about opportunities for selling. It considers customers in the context of their usefulness for the company. Even though this approach may seem effective, it acts outside-in, distancing your brand from the target audience. In contrast, customer centricity is focused on the customer’s perspective. This is an inside-out approach that allows you to better understand the needs of your customers and to build long-term relationships, which is so important for a small business in a highly competitive market. Customer-centric approaches often rely on motivations, co-creation, and demography.
- Customer-focused businesses try to deliver what their customers want. Simply put, they react to a request for something. Customer-centric businesses try to understand their customers’ needs, without asking them what exactly they want, but coming up with the solutions that create the best experience. For example, Netflix doesn’t ask customers what movie they want to see next. Instead, it offers a seamless user experience, suggesting movies based on data analysis.
- Customer-focused companies put a lot of effort into searching for customers, trying to match their services with each customer’s wishes. Customer-centric businesses determine the main groups of customers and the most valuable customers, offering services for groups of people, which is a better approach in the strategic context. Customer centricity allows for co-creation, aligning your services with the customers’ needs.
Benefits of Customer Centricity for Small Business
More opportunity for growth
One of the main advantages of customer centricity is more opportunity for growth because such an approach is focused on detecting the unfulfilled needs. For example, a consulting company may find out that customers who opt for strategic consulting are also interested in operations consulting. In this case, it makes sense to offer a complete solution that includes both services.
A unique experience because of the small number of customers
Consumers always have a choice. If they want to buy something, they are likely to make their choice in favour of better customer experience. A good experience will turn them into loyal customers. This is where small businesses have a considerable advantage over larger companies because they have fewer customers. Fewer customers enable you to tailor your services to their needs with precision. Small businesses can also offer better-personalized assistance.
Increased level of customer satisfaction
Since the goal of customer-centric approaches is to understand the needs of customers, they increase the level of customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is especially important for businesses such as real estate management companies. The level of satisfaction directly depends on the quality of services and their price, having an impact on your reputation. Your representatives should pay particular attention to feedback, understanding what exactly your customers are looking for, and offering different options. Customer centricity is also aimed to eliminate irritation.
Tips on Implementing Customer Centricity
1. Cultivate a customer-centric culture
First, you should believe in customer centricity. Customer experience consists of thousands of details, and you should make sure that your employees, especially those who stay on the front line, care about customers and their best interest. Customer-centric companies understand that customer centricity is not just an approach, but a culture, considering every decision in the context of their customers’ behaviours, needs, and wants.
2. Research customers
A customer-centric business aims to understand its customers both in the context of the industry and at a deeper, individual level. Therefore, data analysis is crucial, however, your sales team should also be able to research prospects, preparing for communication. It’s a good idea for your representatives to use pre-call planning to determine what is most important for the prospects, tailoring their solutions to a particular buyer.
3. Support new customers
Your customers should perfectly understand what they get and have a successful setup. If you ensure a good start, you will increase satisfaction and also reduce the cost to serve. Don’t walk away after selling your service but support your customers. Some services may be quite complicated, and customers won’t appreciate their value unless they figure out how exactly your company helps them.
4. Provide consultations
Your salespeople should be able to actively listen, understanding possible problems and offering the right solutions. If your team focuses on providing high-quality consultations, it will boost your first contact resolution rates and contribute to building a strong reputation for your brand.
5. Improve your services
Customer centricity requires you to react to the changes in the market and in the lives of your customers. Use any opportunity to increase value and satisfaction. When customers see how a brand reacts to their changing needs, they get more engaged with this brand. You should also try to understand your ex-customers and analyze their experience to improve your services. Ask your customers. Then sit back and listen.
6. Use your customers’ style of communication
The consultative approach and active listening will certainly make your sales team stand out from competitors. However, you will see even more impressive results if you teach your team to adapt to their customers’ styles of communication. This way, they will provide a perfectly personalized experience from the very beginning.
Customer centricity offers countless advantages for small businesses. This approach allows you to better understand your customers, offering more than just a service. If customers come back, they do it because of the overall experience, and customer centricity is all about providing the right experience. To adopt the customer-centric approach, your business should focus on proactivity, researching customers, supporting them, and constantly improving services in order to meet their expectations.
About the Author
Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in a software outsourcing company and a competent virtual assistant for College Writers. Considering a career change, she takes online courses to improve her marketing skills. As a seasoned content creator, Ester adores researching cutting-edge digital and lifestyle trends and sharing them in her writing pieces. Follow her on Twitter.