Most of the time we hear that Customer Centricity is the key to increase the customer value and our company’s profitability in the long run. But, do we know what Customer Centricity exactly means? Customer-Centricity is a mindset, a way of thinking, and having a desire of knowing more and more about the customers. The companies that follow the customer-centric strategy try to think and feel like customers. This mindset encourages organizations in making decisions based on their impact on customers. So, the customer becomes the center point for their decision making. This helps in building the trust and loyalty of our customers with a solid reputation for our company in their minds. This increases the chances of positive word of mouth. Such a mindset also talks about building long term relationships with customers. So, rather than having just transactional relationships, it promotes a long term relationship.
Now you may wonder if these are great ideas then why some companies still fail to follow them? Or what else the organization may be focusing on if they are not focusing on the customer? Well if you look around in your organizational environment, there is a probability you may detect the focus of your management and their leadership. In most of the organizations, we keep on hearing that organizations want to do something in the next two-three years, and many times that something is all about profit, a particular revenue target, a certain percentage growth, or desire of capturing marketing share.
Traditionally, it was believed that the purpose of the business is maximizing profit for the owners and shareholders while maintaining corporate social responsibility. This particular strategy makes the profit as a center of the whole organization, and the customer as just a means of generating that profit. These organizations make decisions without keeping customers in mind, lose market share to competitors who have a stronger relationship with customers, and also underperform in terms of shares in the market. This strategy is commonly known as the Product-centric strategy. Although this strategy has been around for much longer than customer-centricity and every organization used to follow only this strategy, however, this is not a case nowadays as with time profit-centric strategy is gradually losing its viability. Switching to a customer-centric approach is the only right course of action left with the organization to stay ahead of the competition.
If we see the difference between customer-centricity and profit-centricity, in the profit-centric strategy, the whole idea is about how we can make more money by selling our product to the customer. Whereas in a customer-centric strategy, the discussion is all about how we can help our customers in meeting their needs and solving their problems with the help of our products and services.
Now when we talk about relationships, most of the organizations talk about maintaining a relationship with their customers. For the profit-centric organizations, the relationship is all about how we keep customers engaged so that we can sell them something more in a future time. Whereas, the customer-centric approach is more about what kind of a relationship our customers are looking for from us, rather than what we want to have from our customers. Customer-centricity goes beyond maintaining good relationships with your current customers. It also leads to higher customer satisfaction, which directly increases the organizational performance. By being customer-centric, companies put their customers at the heart of the organization and experience the increase in customer lifetime value with a reduction in churn.
Let’s take this further, so the customer-centricity is all about making the goal of the business forward that is maximizing value for the customers while maintaining profit because if you don’t have a profit you won’t sustain. So, it’s all about bringing the customer in the center of the strategy, making decisions where profit is supporting the whole process because if you are not profitable then you may not be able to serve your customer for a longer time. Customer experience has become a competitive battlefield for various brands. It’s important to have a deep understanding of your ideal buyer personas, else you may risk losing the race to a more customer-centric competitor. Customers are precious as they can spread positive Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) which can drive the brand’s visibility and sales. Your proactive outreach and personalization service can help your customers in forming an emotional connection with your brand. Emotionally connected customers are more loyal to the brand, and also shops more frequently which can be beneficial for any organization.
Nowadays, you may find many frameworks and bodies of knowledge that are focused on Business Agility and are putting customer-centricity as a focus area. Even in the Scaled Agile Framework, we have Business Agility where customer-centricity is the center. Same is the case with Business Agility Institute, their body of knowledge also focuses on putting customers in the center. They also help in sustaining and knowing what you should do over a period of time to help your customers with the changing environment and their changing needs. If you want to know more about customer centricity primarily from the focus of Business Agility dimensions, then you can check out www.scaledagileframework.com and you can also explore the https://businessagility.institute website to know their views related to Business Agility and Customer-Centricity.
Customer-centricity is about delivering high-quality products along with creating trustworthy relationships with customers before and after the sale to drive repeat business, loyalty, and profits. You can use customer data to understand their buying behavior, interests, and engagement. You can identify the best possible opportunities to create products and services for your esteemed customers. You can also use customer lifetime value to segment customers based on your top-spending customers. Organizations that are committed to customer-centricity believes the customer comes first. They focus more on what the customer wants and believes in building strong & long term relationships with them. They always try to put themselves in the shoes of the customer to maximize customer value and try to foster a positive customer experience at every stage of the customer journey.
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