Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
Why customer-centric marketing helps companies succeedApril 24th, 2019 by
You’d likely be hard-pressed to find a company that denies being singularly focused on its customers. But as the saying goes, it’s one thing to talk the talk and quite another to walk the walk.
Keeping your customers at the center of your business is essential—but this doesn’t mean broadly considering your organization’s customer base as a whole. To be truly customer-centric means that you narrow your focus a bit to see your customers on an individual level.
What is customer-centric marketing?
Customer-centric marketing is a strategy that helps you identify and cultivate a core group of loyal customers. When you implement a customer-centric strategy in your business, you focus on understanding your customers on a deeper level, typically based on data and feedback that you collect from them.
This core group comprises satisfied customers who actively recommend your company, and they are a great way to gain more business and generate quality referrals.
So, how do you set up a customer-centric marketing strategy to improve your business? Let’s take a look.
How to implement a customer-centric strategy
1. Listen to your customers.
First, you need to understand who your customers are and what they think of your business.
What are they saying? Are they coming back? Why or why not?
Putting in place a customer-centric strategy requires a shift in thinking for many businesses. If your company has been making decisions based on who you think your customers are and what vague, large-scale market surveys indicate those people might want, you’re in for a change. Making the switch to a customer-centered organization will involve talking and listening to your customers.
The best way to do this is to work with a third-party customer satisfaction surveying organization. You’ll get real-time feedback that you can use to better understand your customers, what they like about your company, and areas you can improve to really knock things out of the park.
2. Focus on the solution your company provides.
At a very basic level, people contact home pros because they have a problem they need to solve. They need to replace their roof, for example, or they can’t deal with their outdated, poorly designed kitchen anymore and want a complete remodel.
Approach your customers with a solution for their immediate needs as well as their wants. Sure, a customer may need their roof replaced, but they want the new roof to also look great and help reduce their energy costs.
A customer who contacts your company about a kitchen renovation may need a more functional, updated space, but they want a home base for their family. They want room for their kids to spread out homework and art projects on the kitchen table.
A common refrain among customer-centric marketing gurus is, “Think like a customer.” It’s good advice, and it will help you take a step back from the more technical aspects of your work to put the human side—your customers—in sharper focus.
3. Be willing to make changes.
An important part of implementing a customer-centric strategy in your business is staying curious. You won’t know what your customers want and need or what they think of your company if you don’t ask, after all.
Committing to a customer satisfaction surveying program is a great way to do this—the real-time data you’ll receive is invaluable and will help you see trends in your customers’ experiences with your company. But once you have that data, you need to be willing to make adjustments based on customer feedback.
Are lots of customers reporting that communication with your company is difficult? Look into that. Does your office have a dedicated person who answers the phone during business hours? How are after-hours phone calls handled? Do all of your project managers or crew leads have a defined process for staying in touch with customers?
You may not be able to immediately address everything that your customers bring up, but you should never ignore a comment or suggestion.
The bottom line
Customer-centric companies succeed because they understand that their customers aren’t just a group of people who occasionally make a purchase. Customers are integral to the business, not just from a financial standpoint, but also from a product development standpoint. Customer-centric businesses know that if they stop listening and responding to their customers, the business will suffer.
- Be proactive about listening to your customers.
- Think in terms of solutions, not just the individual products and services your company offers.
- Stay curious, and be transparent: Let your customers know how much you value their input and their feedback.
When you think of your customers as partners in your business, building long-term relationships with them will be much easier. Happy, long-term customers speak highly of your company, which ultimately has a greater impact on your business’s financial success than taking on high numbers of one-time jobs.
Shifting to a customer-centric marketing strategy may take some legwork, but the rewards are well worth it.