A customer-centric business model puts the customers at the center, ensuring their satisfaction through the entire customer journey. At Ortto, we believe that becoming a customer-centric business helps supercharge sustainable growth — the kind where existing customers stick around and refer their friends. We also know that technology continues to change our customers’ lives at unprecedented rates, impacting their actions as well as the decisions they make.
Companies that want to stand out from the crowd need to put the customer first and foremost - in business as well as in product development. Being customer-centric is more than just providing good customer service. Instead, it’s about doing business with your customers in a way that delivers a positive customer experience before and after the sale to drive repeat business, maintain customer loyalty, and increase revenue.
By running a customer-centric business model together with a customer data platform and marketing automation, you collect a wealth of data that gives you a full 360-degree view of the customer. Individually, this information is extremely valuable. When it’s combined into one platform, like Ortto, it can give you a single view of your customer’s journey, helping you to truly understand your customer and the role your product or service plays in their life.
What is customer centricity?
Customer-centricity means putting the customer at the center of everything you do. The customer becomes the focal point for every business decision — from product development to delivery, marketing messages to content strategy, sales approach to growth strategies.
One of the keys to becoming a customer-centric business is to consider how you can deliver a more positive experience to your customers at every single stage of their journey. Not just when they sign up or make a purchase, but also when they’re asking for a refund, leaving a review, or making a recommendation.
Why is a customer-centric business model beneficial?
We hardly need to remind you that your customers are important. Without them, your business doesn’t exist, it’s that simple. But a customer-centric business model means changing your organization to focus on the customer and their experience at every stage of the journey.
This kind of laser focus on your customers is beneficial for a number of reasons, including:
Understanding your customer’s journey
By going beyond leads and conversions and understanding what motivates customers at every stage of their journey, you’ll be better placed to retain, and even create ambassadors out of your customers. Retention and ambassadorship make growth more sustainable — it ensures that every new lead really is a new lead, not just a replacement for a lapsed customer.
Increasing your customer’s lifetime value
Supporting your customers beyond the initial sale ensures they get the most out of your products or services. And when they are able to see the value in what you offer first-hand, they’re more likely to try other products or product features, driving up their lifetime value.
Discovering growth opportunities
Whether you’re a SaaS business operating in a product-led growth model or an ecommerce business expanding your offering, a customer-centric strategy helps ensure you’re getting a constant flow of feedback from your buyers. More often than not, there’s a wealth of growth opportunities hiding in this feedback — like new product or feature launches, opportunities to bundle products to increase basket size, or even compelling marketing messages.
Fixing operational issues
Whether it’s slow shipments, a hard-to-read user guide, or information that’s missing from your product description pages, it can be easy to miss what’s not working. With a customer-centric business model, you’ll ensure that the processes and systems are in place to catch this feedback — and that your team is empowered to act on it quickly.
Beating the competition
There are a lot of brands out there, many offering almost exactly the same thing. What makes yours stand out is the quality of your product or service, your branding, design and marketing, and your ability to deliver an A+ customer experience. A customer-centric strategy helps you deliver on all of this, and continuously improve your offering to ultimately safeguard your brand against competitors.
How to create a customer-centric strategy for your business
Creating a customer-centric business is intentional. Here are some of the practices that top-performing brands have adopted to make their business more customer-centric to increase their marketing ROI.
Understand that the customer’s decision-making process is not linear
We now know that today’s purchase funnel is not a clear and direct path; it is often long and protracted as well as erratic, dictated by the unpredictable whims of your customer. More importantly, today’s purchase funnel is characterized by frequent interruptions such as the “how” (for example, do your customers want to be inspired, entertained or simply informed?) and the “where” (for example, are you aware that your customers are constantly switching between various devices and researching multiple sources?)
Every customer is unique and has different needs, wants, preferences, and behavioral patterns. Therefore, brands must acknowledge their customer’s uniqueness and appreciate that each relationship (and purchase funnel) will differ.
By acknowledging that customer decision-making is far from linear, you can start forming more meaningful relationships with your customers and become more relevant in today’s modern, multi-channel world.
Analyze every aspect of the customer journey
When you collect and analyze data that matters, you get to know your customers well. And scrutinizing every stage of the customer journey will allow your business to see its products or services through its customers’ eyes.
A customer journey is the sum of all the experiences that your customer has while interacting with your company or brand — and that journey can be mapped out and then analyzed in its full context, providing valuable insights that you can then use to design products or services to help these customers achieve their objectives as effectively and as quickly as possible.
But because a typical customer journey may play out across multiple channels, it can often be challenging to stitch all the data together. With the help of the right marketing automation software, however, your job will be made easier. Marketing automation software like Ortto will collect and analyze data about your leads, customers, sales, and campaigns across multiple channels, helping marketers get a single view of the customer journey and assess the effectiveness of past and current campaigns.
Most marketing automation solutions provide the ability for customers to generate reports. However, it can often be overwhelming to sort and amalgamate all the data from multiples journeys in one concise report — especially if you have hundreds of them running simultaneously.
Ortto’s dashboards remove all that hard work by extracting essential information and valuable insights from your email activities, campaigns, and customer journey to give you a view of what’s performing — and why. In addition, it allows you to follow the metrics that matter to your business’s customer-centricity.
A business that consistently recognizes its loyal customers is Customer Centric. An effective way to build customer loyalty is to reward customers for engaging in behaviors that help grow your business.
For example, making repeated purchases, publishing positive product reviews, and telling their friends or family about your brand. Since such behaviors benefit your business, you can afford to reward your customers for engaging in them. Great examples of reward initiatives include airline frequent flyer programs and referrals.
Listen to your customers
Whether your customers are filling out a form on your website, having a one-on-one conversation with you via chat, or leaving feedback on review sites, asking them for their two cents allows you to get a deeper insight into how they feel about your business — and what steps you can take to improve their experience with your brand.
When you listen to your customers, you not only find out more about who they really are and what they think of you, but you’re also more likely to pinpoint what’s preventing potential customers from converting into a purchaser. Common barriers to purchase include having a product that’s too expensive, a convoluted or confusing purchasing process, or an over-complicated product.
Over the years, we’ve refined our product to make it as easy as possible to use — adding modifications and additions that have been guided by our customers’ feedback. By taking away all the complications involved in marketing automation, our prospective customers are more likely to choose us over our competitors.
Create remarkable customer experiences
As much as we’d like to, we cannot predict your customers’ every move when interacting with your brand. You can, however, reduce the likelihood of them straying away by making the customer experience as pleasant as possible for them. They involve:
Being user-friendly: Your customers value simple selection options, uncomplicated interactions, and easy-to-understand information. These factors not only support smooth transactions but also expedite the buying process.
Ensuring your content is relevant: Customers expect you to read their minds, and the demand for personalized content and recommendations is increasing.
Speed: When a customer visits your website, load speed is the first impression they’ll have of your brand. The quicker your website loads, the more engaged your visitors will be — and engaged visitors are magic: they click more, buy more, and convert more often.
Ultimately, the key is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think through every little detail to create a customer experience that will make them thoroughly impressed.
Create a customer-centric culture
Hiring customer-centric employees and fostering a culture of ‘customer first’ will go a long way to help you become a truly customer-centric business. Your employees are the face of your business and handle the day-to-day operations — it’s likely that they also have more encounters with customers and can identify feedback that’s worth acting on.
Start by democratizing customer data and insights, giving employees on every team and level the opportunity to read customer support tickets and identify some of the issues that are being faced. While your customer service team can deliver an incredible experience for an individual customer, they may not spot an opportunity for a product improvement or a marketing message tweak.
It can also be helpful to reward employees for customer outcomes. For example, if a customer loves your brand so much that they’ve left a positive review, made a referral, or volunteered to be part of a case study, the team behind that result should be rewarded.
Finally, make talking about your customers and walking in their shoes part of your everyday. How you do this is highly dependent on how your business is run. It could be asking ‘how does this benefit the customer’ at every relevant meeting or reviewing customer feedback as part of your brainstorming process.
The final word
Transforming your business into one that is genuinely customer-centric is a complex process that won’t happen overnight, but doing so will yield significant benefits for your business — trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Originally written by Libby Margo and published 25th July, 2019. Updated for relevancy 2022.