15 Incredible Ways To Build A Customer-Centric Culture In Your Business
A customer-centric culture is a unique way of doing business. This style of doing business ensures that you give your customers a wholesome experience that leads to satisfaction and continuous patronage.
Do you know that a focus on the needs of your customers implies ultimate satisfaction? When your customers are satisfied, you need not advertise much and they will refer your business effortlessly.
This saying “customers are always right” is enough to summarize the meaning of a customer-centric culture.
From experience, a business that has customers’ needs as their core value often lean towards success. Nevertheless, some businesses lack customer knowledge. They often compile customer information but leave them as unused data.
This kind of recompense structure generates revenue over meeting the needs of customers. If you do this, then you’ve got work to do on building a customer-centric culture.
In fact, every business needs to work out how it’s going to put its customers first if it wants to be one of the best, yet this is something that can be enormously difficult to work out in many cases.
You are probably aware that your customers need to be number one, but approaching this can take time and effort which you are not used to. Turning any business into a truly customer-centric one is therefore incredibly challenging, but so rewarding if you get it right.
Lucky you! I’ve got some tips for you.
In this post, I will share some of the things you can do to make sure that you become much more customer-centric in your business. This will help you do what’s right much more often.
1. Learn what it takes
We never know anything unless we learn it! And I know you are just for that sole reason. The first thing to do is to learn all you could on customer-centricity (general and specific to your business industry).
There are many ways you and your employees can go about learning the customer-centric business. You can go to training, workshops to learn a great deal from interacting with established businesses that enjoy the benefits of customer-centricity.
Another way you can learn is by getting books like Woo, Wow and Win by Thomas Stewart and Patricia O’Connell and other customer-centric inclined books. Need I remind you that it is not enough to learn but to put what you’ve learned to good use?
2. Listen to your customers
There are a thousand things you can do to be customer-centric but how do you get the required information? One way to do this is to listen. This is not when you superficially gather information from your customers. It is a deeper understanding of the words spoken by your customer.
When you listen to your customer, you ask questions like:
- What do you think?
- Why do you think so?
There are many ways to get information from customers. However, you must tailor the way you gather information from your customer to the type of your business ad specific requirements.
For some businesses that interact directly with the customer, customers could be asked directly. This is often practised by sales professionals, fashion designers, stylist, restaurants, shoemakers, travel agents, and other “one-on-one” businesses.
Another means of gathering information is the use of questionnaires. This is a survey method to reaches a vast number of people and in situations where there is no direct contact with customers. Examples are soft drink factories, shoe factories, service providers and other big businesses.
One of the advantages of gathering information via this method is that it will probably give you the solutions to the problem. Most customers know what they want and they will tell you so that you can meet their demands.
3. Be realistic
There is a gap between what your business produces and what your customers want you to produce. This satisfaction gap is what you need to bridge. To ensure the gap is as close as it can be, you need to listen to your customers.
Ensuring the satisfaction of customers begins with knowing want is on their mind and making it happen in reality. Channel your efforts towards analyzing what customers are saying and use the acumens to drive progress.
4. Have customer empathy
Put customer empathy into use by recognizing the emotional needs of your customers. You can practise this by appreciating the reason behind the need and responding to the need suitably.
To set this in motion, employees must patiently treat customers’ messages (written or verbal) with sympathy. Your employees should be trained to take note of keywords.
They should understand the situation of each customer at the time of composing the message and reply with an appropriate empathetic message and not some canned message.
While you train your current employees about customer satisfaction, new employees should be hired with customer orientation. From your first contact with the incoming employee, you must let them know the standard of service to customers.
You could also ask the incoming employees about his or her customer-centricity during the interview process. This will pass a clear message about the business when it comes to serving customers.
5. Involve the customers
Many business owners fail to involve their customers when solving production problems. They just face reducing cost and increasing profit and forget about the customers’ needs.
The involvement of the consumer in the enterprise process like products and services, experiences, etc. ensures you make the right decision about the needs of the customers.
6. Simplify processes
Customers want their interaction to be all-in-one and direct so you have to make it easy for your customers to interact with your business. This builds trust and long-term loyalty between your business and your customers.
One way to go to make this easy is to allow customers to access your business product and service effortlessly. Instead of going through five different channels to access your product or service, it can be consolidated into two or just one.
Businesses have recorded success when they make things simple for their customers. However, simplicity is not enough, it has to be completed with a personalized experience. Customers feel elated when they are served in a way that is peculiar to them.
A simple address by name can build trust as fast as you could say jack. Each customer has a specific way they want to be treated and they respect people and business that treat them that way.
An example is what you feel when you know the chef has made a dish according to your exact order. I can bet you will come right back!
7. Feel what they feel
Have you ever viewed your products or services through the eye of a customer? If not, you should.
This gives you a new perspective to your business since you are using a new yardstick to measure your business. For instance, if you are in the shoes of your customer, you will know how they feel and what makes them choose your product.
It also allows you to know the limitations your business has and how you can serve your customers better. Taste your products, use your products. Feel what your customers feel.
8. Monitor customers relations
An adage says “you cannot manage what you do not measure”. After you have listened to your customer and charted the customers’ drive, you must observe and monitor the relations of each or group of the customers with your business.
There is a different level of interaction each customer make with business. You should observe the activities of your customer on social media, your customer surveys and questionnaire, and complaint cards.
Monitoring these will help you to plan to serve customers better.
Your employees will be enthused to cultivate customer-centric values if they know how it will influence the result. People in general, want to know how their actions affect the end product so you should link employee values to customer outcomes.
9. Bridge data gap
For you to be customer-centric, the data collected from the customers should be accessible by employees. A common mistake business make is to isolate customer data.
This is what I mean – the marketing department data on Mr ABC is stored in the marketing department shelf and not accessible for staff in the publicity department.
Even though the business has comprehensive data on Mr ABC, the staff can’t access the complete information because the data are isolated. The easiest way to bridge this gap is to go digital. Paper trail isn’t easy to follow, unlike digital data trails.
Most transactions now are done gathered, observed and monitored digitally according to customers’ preferences and dealings.
This will give you a knowledge of the customer’s behaviour and then, you can tailor services and products to suit the customer. Your employees should have access to and interact with the customer data either in the listening room or online.
The experience should be collected over time for all department to analyze, review and discussed in your business general meeting.
As you bridge the gap in your business, you shouldn’t forget to provide a continuous service across channels and touchpoints. You not only provide all your employee who is expected to come into contact with customers with access to the centralized data, but you also give them the necessary information to address customers’ questions.
Make sure you extend this access to specialist and experts that you might need in solving “special” needs of the customer.
Multiple channels come with a problem – missing customer request. It might just be a simple overlook of a query but a customer-centric business should avoid that.
The way to correct this anomaly is to approach the multiple channels in a team or group-based tactic by ensuring that each channel has a team that services it. This way, it is guaranteed that no stone is left unturned.
10. Customer experience scheme
This is instrumental in turning your customer expectation into reality. Define the customer experience scheme and implement your definition.
The scheme must plan to meet and outdo the expectations set by the brand scheme. This way, your business strategy will centre on customers’ need.
Encourage the direct interaction of your employees with customers and ensure there’s a good relationship between your employees and your customer. Even in the “back office functions”, employee influences the customers’ experience.
Consequently, every employee must interact with customers to better serve them. Even if your business model doesn’t allow for direct customer contact, you can promote interactions by letting employees witness sales, customers’ visit, support calls and events that include your customers.
Your first customer is your employees known as internal customers. The baseline is to treat them right if you want all the tips given above to work. Your employee knows more about the customers then you do because they interact with these customers more than you do.
To get the best out of your employee, you will need to compensate them justly.
The right compensation will boost the employee-customer relationship. One way to go about compensating your employees is by attaching a customer or a group of customers to an employee or a group of employee.
This is like the commission-based compensation and it promotes healthy competition to satisfy customers. So each employee or group knows there are risks and compensation attached to each customer tied to them.
As you replay that song track that you love so much, so re-do the acts that work for you. Do not fuss if some of the tips do not work for all customers, they are unique.
But the ones that work should be repeated to improve your systems and serve your customers better. Put these tips where you will always see them around your business environs.
To become a customer-centric business takes time. You will take time to do it well but it will surely pay off. The customer is the driver, you are the vehicle. You need to take the customer where he wants.
Put your customers at heart & experience an increase in satisfaction by building trust and loyalty.
13. Know What They Want
Yes, the first thing is recognizing exactly what your customer wants. It is, of course, going to be hard to make sure that you are putting the customer first if you don’t know what it is that they really want.
Determining what they want at any time and knowing how to deliver it are going to be essential. This is to ensure that you place them at the forefront of whatever you are doing. The simplest and most effective means of discovering what they want is to ask them. Make sure you think about doing that in a way that they know you respect their opinion and want to improve the service you give.
You might be surprised at some clear and specific responses you get. Collating it all together, you will get a much more accurate picture of what you should be aiming for to keep them happy.
14. Be There For Them
The more you are there for your customers, the more likely it is that they will feel genuinely looked after. This is something that you will always want to work on too. Being there for them simply means that you are always available for them to speak with in some way.
That could mean that you make use of the role of a virtual receptionist in order to ensure that there is always someone to look after the phone lines. It might mean improving your live web chat to ensure they can speak with you anytime.
However, you do it, being there for them will show how important they are. That will also mean that they are definitely put at the center of the picture.
15. Work On Their Feedback
Many businesses fail in their customer service from time to time. When this happens to you, you need to make sure that you know what you can do to improve. Of course, the best person to ask when you have failed here is the person who you failed – so make sure that you ask customers for feedback.
This is especially important when you know that your service has not matched up to expectations. That is the greatest opportunity for learning. It means that you will much sooner achieve a much more customer-centric operation.
Having read these tips, you should use them to build a customer-centric business. Remember, designing your business around customers’ need and an effort to meet those needs is the secret to a successful customer-centric business.