Ready to make your customers your priority? Here are five things to know, to build a company they’ll love.
It takes effort to build a company that customers will love. But for most, it’s well worth it. After all, your customers are the lifeblood of your business, with all present and future value flowing from them.
So, if you make decisions based on their needs and what is best for them, your organization can thrive. As we often say, improving customer-centricity isn’t simple, but it can be straightforward. So if you’re ready to make your customers your priority, then here are five things to keep in mind as you work to build a company they will love.
Put your customers first. If you want to build a customer-centric business, you need to put your customers first. It certainly starts with products and services that solve problems and meet needs, but it doesn’t stop there. You also need to make sure your customers are treated like people—not like accounts, numbers or simply a source of revenue. In other words, show them you care.
Think about ways to put your customers at the center of your decision-making so their needs are consistently understood and met and they know your organization truly values them. Your customers should not only feel like they are your top priority, but they should also truly be your top priority.
Prioritize the customer experience.
Customer experience should be a top priority for any business that wants to drive increased value from its customers. Every interaction they have with your company should help them seamlessly accomplish their goals, from website visits to customer service, at every touchpoint encountered across their journey with your organization.
That's why it’s so important to understand your customers’ experiences in their entirety, and then work to make sure they have positive interactions each step of the way. By first identifying and eliminating friction and pain points, you’ll then be in a position to design and deliver the differentiating—perhaps even transformational—experiences that can set you apart from your competition.
Get feedback and act on it.
Customer feedback is essential for making informed decisions about what customers do and don’t love about your business. Understanding what they are thinking, feeling and doing is one of the more important parts of being customer-centric, as it allows you to constantly improve your business and meet your customers where they are, not just where you wish they were.
This means regularly soliciting and collecting feedback from your customers, analyzing the data you collect and taking action on what you learn. Most organizations leverage a voice-of-the-customer system to do this; these systems make it easier to systematically listen to what customers have to say and interpret what you hear to make better-informed decisions.
Anticipate customer needs.
One of the best ways to demonstrate that you’re a customer-centric business is to anticipate your customers' needs in ways that allow you to consistently meet—and, where relevant, exceed—their expectations. After all, there’s a reason that Amazon was granted a patent for what it calls a “system for anticipatory package shipping,” because they’re planning to ship the things they know their customers want before their customers know they want them.
Like Amazon, your company can leverage customer data to become dramatically more intelligent and more responsive to your customers. Because intelligently anticipating customer needs is one of the best ways to get more business from them.
Focus on being ‘relentlessly relevant’ for your customers.
Today’s customers expect personalization and recognition. In fact, Microsoft research notes that 80% of customers are more likely to buy when you offer personalized experiences. But that personalization better be relevant, with whatever it is you’re offering to your customers aligned to their individual interests, beliefs and needs.
To deliver relevant experiences, your organization must have the systems, processes, data and capabilities to allow you to treat different customers differently based on what you know about them. This applies across every channel and interaction, with data analytics leading the way to individualized experiences that give your customers what they need, when, where and how they need it.
Build a customer-centric business to build a company your customers will love
From the products and services you sell to the experiences they have and the ways you interact with them, a focus on providing an amazing customer experience drives greater loyalty and, for a few winning companies, customer love. That’s because those companies—think Disney, Apple, USAA, Harley Davidson—put their customers first.
Of course, it’s easier to say you are customer-first than to actually be customer-first. But if you keep the customer at the center of everything you do, you’ll be well on your way to creating a company they love that deserves—and will get—their loyalty, their accolades and their business.
First posted in Forbes, July 21, 2022 by Michael Hinshaw, as a Forbes Coaches Council COUNCIL POST