The customer is firmly in the driving seat and with it comes a required change in how you build and nurture relationships with potential and existing customers. Becoming a truly customer-centric organization takes time, but you can start of all small.
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Most businesses try to put consumers at the heart of what they do, but many fall short because actually being customer-centric often means making business decisions that seem counter-intuitive.
All brands claim to be customer-focused, but being customer-centric is something different and becomes a credible boast only if there is hard evidence to back it up.
This is not just about understanding the customer through analytics, but about involving them, directly or indirectly, in the running of your business.
Real customer-centricity should have an impact on how an organisation is structured and run.
It means accepting that doing something good for the customer might not always be the most financially rewarding decision for the business - at least in the short term. It will usually also involve a deep examination of where customer experiences may conflict with operational practices and systems.
As the voice of the customer, marketers have a pivotal role to play in devising customer-centric initiatives and putting them into practice. Marketers can also find themselves educating and informing others within the organisation, perhaps in the legal and finance teams, for whom some customer-led decisions might feel counter-intuitive.
So how do you become truly customer-centric and which brands are already walking the walk?