Financial Poise
Customer-Centric Business

How to Grow Your Sales By Being More Customer-Centric

Increase Sales and Profits with a Customer-Centric Approach

Customer-centric is a fancy phrase for a very basic concept. It means focusing on what your customers want and need. Yet, for such a basic concept, it amazes me how many companies fail to understand their customers.

Sadly, I also know too many companies whose customer experience simply, well, sucks. Companies that tend to top the lists of worst customer service are TV/Internet providers, health plans, wireless carriers, utilities and airlines. Marketers call these types of organizations “product-focused” or “profit-focused” companies.

A Customer Centric Approach Done Right

Think of companies that offer great customer experience. Typically, names like Apple, Amazon and Amex lead those lists—and it’s not because they all start with an ‘A’!  They continually make “Best Of” lists, because they truly focus on their customers.

Of course, products, services and profits are all still paramount, but those things all occur through the lens of customer satisfaction first. That customer-centric approach translates to how those companies shape their product, conduct business and approach their bottom line.

Happy Customers Equal Loyal Customers

Whether you are a small business owner or part of a larger company as an executive, attorney, accountant or consultant, you are in the “credentials game.” We all are. Our products and services need to make our customers happy so that they continue to buy and refer us to new customers.

Thus, we must always be building our credentials, furthering our expertise and leveraging that experience. According to a Deloitte study, companies with a customer-centric approach are 60% more profitable than those that are not focused on the customer. Another study by Bain & Company reports that increasing customer retention rates by even 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%.

Customer retention is better for profits than customer acquisition. Plus, it’s a much easier and less expensive business model than always having to find new customers.

Easy Strategies to Make Your Business More Customer-Centric

Looking for a way to retain customers? Here are several easy strategies to bring your business from a product-centric to a customer-centric model.

  1. Start with great customer service and communication. Communicate regularly and routinely, and try to personalize your communications to each customer. Do what you say you will, on time and on budget. In the rare instance that you can not, communicate as soon as possible to manage expectations. After all, nobody likes those kinds of surprises.
  2. Ask your customers what they want and need. Follow up with them on a consistent basis, asking what your company could do better. By being proactive in solving their problems, you make your products and services invaluable, while cultivating loyalty. Consider sending customers easy-to-complete satisfaction surveys. Those are a great way to derive valuable customer feedback.
  3. Empower your team. Provide guidelines for employees to drive customer satisfaction, and enforce the power of a customer-centric approach to your employees regularly. Allow them to make decisions that benefit the customer, as long as it won’t cost the company too much in profit or reputation—and isn’t illegal.
  4. Make sure your team is equipped with the latest information and can provide customers correct information, especially when it comes to how long they will need to wait.
  5. Tell your prospects you will be asking for referrals before you close the sale. It sets the expectation that your product or service is so valuable that your customers are happy to provide referrals when you are finished. Plus, now customers will be expecting the referral request as you finish your work or project.
  6. Being customer-centric means realistically managing customer’s expectations as well as their perception of your business. One of the best ways to do this is by being transparent and honest with your customers and employees. Make sure the information on your website and social media is correct, and that your advertising is not misleading.

Remember This Equation for Customer Satisfaction

Remember, customer satisfaction equals perception minus expectation. If your perceived value falls short of expectation, your customers will be dissatisfied.

It doesn’t matter the size of your business or which audience segments you choose to target. When businesses focus on their customers’ wants and needs, and invoke a customer-centric approach, it is easier to establish relationships, build loyalty and grow sales in both the short and long-term.

[Editor’s Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following webinars: What Every Founder/Entrepreneur Must Know, You’re Ready to Start Marketing. Now What? and Advising the Startup. This is an updated version of an article originally published on June 18, 2018.]

©All Rights Reserved. February, 2021.  DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM

About Scott Steer

Scott Steer is a New York-based marketing strategy/engagement/activation consultant focused on optimizing omni-channel marketing.

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