Most companies have a customer-centric approach. This attitude, in theory, leads to happier customers and better business results. However, determining and executing a customer-focused strategy is not as easy as it seems. Leaders must first set a strategy and adapt to changing expectations while providing a customer-focused experience.
What is customer-focused approach?
A customer-focused approach means observing, anticipating and acting on the customer’s wishes and needs. The customer-focused approach puts customers, rather than products, at the center of corporate decisions. Products are designed with customers in mind. We seek ways to deliver a positive customer experience in a consistent and proactive way. The needs and wants of the customer are more important than the needs of the business.
The customer-oriented approach is similar to the goal-oriented approach. Good customer experience becomes one of the main goals of the company. All teams in the organization work by considering issues such as customers’ experience with products, their experiences at any point in the customer journey, and how they feel.
Customer focused approach brings success
When executed well, the customer-focused approach yields better results for the firm. Customers with successful experiences spend more, become loyal to the product, and share their experiences with more people. This creates an increase in customer loyalty, repeat purchases and referrals. Research shows that companies with a customer-focused approach are 60% more profitable than other companies.
Japanese retail company Uniqlo saw an increase in revenues and customer bases in 2021. The first and most important reason for this was that they adopted a customer-oriented approach. Uniqlo is a company that works on the principle of “Meet customer needs and create new customers” of Tadashi Yanai, CEO. What Yanai wants to emphasize with this statement is that meeting the wishes and expectations of customers, even small ones, will improve the customer experience and increase loyalty.
87% of customers say a good customer service experience will change their behavior as a customer. In Zendesk research, 67% of customers said they bought more products from brands with which they had good customer experiences, and 39% decided to continue using the brand.
A customer-centric approach can help businesses create a better employee experience. According to a SurveyMonkey research, there is a clear link between employees finding their work meaningful and customer satisfaction. When customer satisfaction is a key priority for the organization, all employees work towards this goal and a company-wide harmony is achieved. This harmony increases both employee and customer satisfaction.
How is the customer-focused approach applied?
Being customer focused means investing in and executing a strong customer experience management strategy.
1. Get a clear brand identity
The best companies focus not on the products, but on how they help their customers with that product or service. Having a slogan gives your customers an idea of what kind of company you are.
For example, Zendesk’s slogan “Customer service champion” clearly demonstrates that the company cares about customer experience and aims to provide the best customer service you can find. Slogans like these give customers a clear picture of the company’s vision and help them see that the company values customers’ opinions and how they can benefit from their products, beyond just selling their products.
2. Get to know your customers
Knowing the buying habits of customers is not enough. It’s also important to know who they are, their challenges, their goals, and their feelings. Conducting custom surveys to get to know your customers or co-creating content with them can help you build a close relationship with your customers.
You can integrate customer feedback into your organization’s work so your teams can engage customers as they address issues. Involving customers in such processes allows them to see that they are valued and increases their loyalty to your brand.
3. Deliver proactive customer experiences
A Gartner study showed that proactive customer service is critical to meeting customer demands, but only 13% of customers receive proactive service. Offering a proactive experience can give you the edge you need to stay ahead of your competitors. The only way to be proactive is to understand your customers and put them first in the decision making process.
Creating a customer-centric culture within your organization
A customer-centric culture is purposeful. Every part of a company with this culture puts customers first and decisions are made in line with this vision.
Being customer-centric means providing employees with the tools, technology, and resources they need to personalize the customer experience. To achieve this, firms must aggregate customer data into a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that is visible and accessible to all employees. Being customer-focused means providing each employee with the right information, in the right way, at the right time, so that they can provide the best service to the customer.
Centralization of customer data means that all information about the customer is in one place. Customer service representatives must have easy access to all information about the customer, even when working in different channels. To provide the best experience, employees need to know who the customer is and where they are in their journey.
Leaders must guide employees, but each employee must know how their role directly impacts the customer experience.
Being a customer-focused firm means building a strong foundation. To determine whether your company is customer-focused, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Do your employees provide a service focused on customer experience, not products?
- Is proactive customer experience prioritized and seen as part of company success?
- Is customer data centralized and visible so employees can deliver personalized and meaningful experiences, no matter what channel or where they are in the customer’s journey?
- Does every employee feel that their role directly affects the customer experience?
- Is the customer valued, not just what they buy, what kind of person they are and what kind of experience they have?
If you cannot answer “yes” to all of these questions, now you know what areas you need to improve yourself on. Changing even one of these will positively change your customer experience.
50% of customers say they will switch to a competitor after one bad experience. Additionally, 75% of consumers are willing to spend more on brands that provide a good customer experience. By improving the customer experience, you can increase both your company value and customer satisfaction.
Zendesk’s omni-channel platform enables companies to deliver a consistent experience across all channels. All customer information is collected in a single central platform and representatives can view all details about the customer in all channels with a single click. Additionally, you can collect feedback on Zendesk and tailor your services to improve the customer experience.