How to put the customer at the center of your business
A new business chapter is being written, one in which the success of service companies has become intertwined with the success of their customers. For that reason, now more than ever, today’s businesses need to re-center around their customers and nurture partnerships that lead to win-win experiences.
In a word, it’s called customer-centricity — putting your customer at the center of your business — and it’s the key to achieving growth in an era where the provider-customer relationship is inextricable and symbiotic.
A customer-centric business eliminates the siloed view of a customer and changes the orientation of its operations. It retires the transactional quote-to-cash focus and acknowledges that the age-old linear organization format no longer works. It realigns the company’s mission so that its customers’ success is as important as its own.
This isn’t easy for organizations to achieve. (If it were, it wouldn’t be such an enabler of growth.) It’s not as simple as procuring a shiny new CRM solution or redoing the company mission statement. Customer-centricity must be cultivated from within. It often requires a tectonic shift in corporate culture. In employees’ mindsets and behaviors. In customer-facing processes. And in how strategic business decisions are made, from boardroom to showroom.
Four pillars of success
How do you know when you’re on your way to customer-centricity? A good start is being able to honestly and confidently make these four declarations:
- We’re running a digital business.
Any successful business today must have a digital heartbeat. Period. That means eliminating the functional and technical silos that have dogged organizations for decades, and embracing a digital-first platform. Such a transformation utilizes digital technologies to enhance physical business interactions — which, in turn, drives efficiency and scalability within the business.
- We’re creating innovative experiences.
A customer-centric business crafts innovative experiences both for its employees and its customers, with apps and modern technologies — such as AI and machine learning — that produce great CX. It gives them tools they like to use and fosters collaboration among everyone involved.
- We’re unlocking customer insights.
When customer-centricity is working, everyone in the organization has the same, shared view of the customer, and multiple groups can work in concert to deliver relationship-building outcomes. With that kind of orchestration, you can mine high-quality insights into your customers’ success factors, be their go-to partner for growth, and act swiftly to satisfy their wants and needs.
- We’re ready for whatever comes next.
A customer-centric enterprise is highly resilient. It adapts with agility to changing environments and market demands — all while continuing to deliver value to customers, build durable relationships, and drive the innovation and transformation that achieve scale.
Signs of success
What happens when your customers become central to everything your organization does? You see those customers in full color. You understand their motivations, needs, and wants better than the competition, so you can create and deliver better, uniquely resonant experiences to them. They trust in you and your offerings, driving the Big 4 of customer outcomes: satisfaction, retention, expansion and referrals.
That’s a direct line to business growth.