Traditionally, most businesses could have been defined as product-centric organizations. This definition implies that the main focus relies on the products, that the company organizes itself around products cost-effectiveness and efficiency, and that it takes into account results such as product sales, revenues, or market share. However, after the digital disruption, several businesses have faced a radical shift towards more relevant strategies, whereas relevancy mainly revolves around customers. These strategies are based on the core belief that the organization’s reason for existence and success rest on its customers.
Customer-centric organizations shift the focus from the products to its customers, their wants and needs, inputs, and their experiences across channels. This, in turn, entails a whole organizational restructuring which main imperatives are getting better insights of customers to deliver improved USP, designing superior customer journeys to provide highly personalized experiences, and ultimately putting the customers’ ahead of businesses’ priorities.
As it has been demonstrated customer-centric organizations tend to achieve better results in terms of ROI, sales, customer engagement and loyalty, and more generally they perform better. This is the reason why businesses across industries are adapting and embracing customer-centricity as a strategic approach, abandoning product-driven strategies. However, most companies seem to have developed the belief that customer-centricity solely deals with getting positive customers’ feedbacks or higher customer satisfaction rates, which are just a slim part of the equation. In order for customer centricity to be sustainable and to yield results in the long-term, businesses opting for such a strategic change, need to re-think and re-structure the organization. The risk of neglecting a throughout change would be starting to invest in customer-centricity initiatives within a company which would not be perfectly aligned, generating strenuous challenges and considerable inefficiencies. Therefore, a few adjustments are required in order to start implementing such a strategic approach.
The 7 pillars
Each company considering to invest in customer-centricity needs to focus on seven main areas, and to start tracking, adjusting, and developing insights in order to improve and ultimately transform the business from a product-driven to a customer-driven organization. The seven pillars of customer-centricity constitute a framework. This would grant your company a method for analyzing customers’ needs and expectations against seven solid dimensions:
1. Experience: design a more refined customer experience, this being positive, differentiated, and convenient so that customers would act as a company’s advocates;
2. Loyalty: establish loyalty programs that consistently reward and attribute meaningful incentives to your customers, boosting their loyalty and engagement with relevant offerings.
3. Communication: opt for personalized and 1:1 interactions with your customers, providing highly tailored content which is time-relevant and being responsive to customer preferences.
4. Assortments: offer tailored products and solutions to your customers, considering co-creating with them, and ensuring your assortments are always updated to their needs both online and offline.
5. Promotions: create relevant and coherent promotional campaigns, entirely devoted to offering customers with what most matters to them;
6. Price: align your prices to your customers’ expectations, purchasing history, in order to highlight that your company is focused on satisfying all their needs.
7. Feedback: track, manage, and solve, when needed, customers concerns and complies, and establish dialogues with your customers, to improve conversations and emotional connections.
When considering investing in customer-centricity initiatives, those seven pillars should be considered and structured thought-out your organization. Aligning your customers’ needs and expectations, translating them into insights, shaping your communication, marketing efforts, and operational processes around customers, and iteratively track and identify opportunity for improvements, would secure your business in achieving sustainable customer-centricity.