Is your business customer-centric?

While many businesses make the claim, being customer-centric is an all-out effort that starts at the core of your brand. It’s part of your overall identity, and it starts at the top.

Let’s discuss the significance of customer-centricity in your marketing strategy, how leadership can align with and develop customer-centric values, ways to gain a better understanding of your customers and their needs and strategies for maintaining strong customer connections.

Why is Customer-Centricity in B2C Marketing Such a Big Deal?

At its core, customer-centricity revolves around placing the customer at the center of all business decisions. It entails understanding their preferences, behaviors, and expectations to deliver products and services that resonate deeply. Businesses that prioritize customer-centric strategies often experience higher customer satisfaction rates, increased retention, and enhanced profitability.

About 70% of companies say that there’s a direct connection between customer service and their overall performance, and 64% of leaders say that their company’s growth is heavily influenced by excellent customer service. In short: Being customer-centric has a tremendous outcome on the growth and success of your company.

On the flip side, companies that don’t center their customers or offer a poor customer experience will have a tough time building a loyal client base. That’s because almost all consumers (97%) say that customer service will determine if they stay loyal to a company. But how can you create a customer-centric culture in your organization?

Related: How Marketing Influences Your Customers’ Emotions

Aligning Leadership with Customer-Centric Values

Effective leadership is instrumental in driving a customer-centric culture throughout an organization. Leaders must champion the importance of customer satisfaction and embed these values into the company’s mission and daily operations, so everyone in the organization treats customer-centricity as part of their jobs—not just something the customer-facing team does.

One crucial way leaders can start taking a customer-centric approach is by defining their vision and creating a mission statement that reflects customer-centric values. A clear and compelling vision and mission statement should articulate your company’s commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences.

These statements serve as guiding principles for strategic decision-making and employee alignment. That mission statement will also fuel your company’s customer-first culture.

Creating a customer-first culture means collaborating across departments, breaking down silos, and incentivizing behaviors that prioritize customer satisfaction. It requires a collective effort to exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint.

But to best serve your customers, you need to be able to clearly define who they are, what they want, and how they make their purchasing decisions. Let’s talk about how to gather that intel.

How to Leverage Customer Insights

Your customers go through a lot of thinking before making a purchase, including:

  • How does this product or service compare to something similar in the market?
  • Beyond the overall price of the product or service, what kind of payment options are there?
  • What kind of reputation does this company have in the market?
  • Does this company hold the same kind of social and environmental values that I do?

There are so many factors that could keep your customers from making a purchase—and many factors that could play to your benefit if you can use them correctly. But you don’t have to guess how your customers decide.

You (or a qualified fractional leader) can conduct buyer interviews to know what’s in your prospects’ minds before they buy. That way, you’ll know which hurdles to overcome, who is involved in a purchasing decision, and what would be most influential for your prospects when they decide to make a purchase.

In addition, it’s wise to leverage AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze vast datasets to predict customer behavior and preferences. These technologies can help you anticipate customer needs, personalize recommendations, and optimize your marketing campaigns—without getting huge amounts of teams involved.

You can regularly use and test AI technologies to make sure you’re up-to-date on what your customers are thinking, so you can respond appropriately. While these technologies can’t replace thorough buyer interviews, they’re an excellent accessory strategy to help you gather intel.

Related: How AI Can Transform Customer Engagement

How to Build and Maintain Strong Customer Relationships

Building trust and loyalty with customers fosters repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

But what makes a customer want to be loyal?

One study found that for 74% of customers, brand loyalty comes down to feeling understood or valued rather than just receiving monetary perks (like discounts).  There’s power in connection, which is why you’ll want to engage your customers through personalized communication, offering exceptional customer service, and soliciting feedback to demonstrate a commitment to their satisfaction. 

Consistently delivering on promises and resolving issues promptly further strengthens relationships. Customers are quick to turn on a company that leaves them frustrated, with 54% of consumers saying that brands seem to treat customer service as an afterthought rather than a priority.

The more you show you are listening to feedback and changing as a result of that feedback, you’ll improve loyalty—and ultimately, produce better products and services that customers actually want.

That means actively seeking and incorporating customer feedback through feedback channels, discussion boards, incentivized surveys, and other mediums.   Of course, there’s so much more that goes into maintaining these relationships, and the good news is you don’t have to do it alone.

Related: Building Strong Relationships and Loyalty with Your Clients

Need Help Becoming Customer-Centric?

We’ve talked about how effective leadership can help you adopt a customer-centric mindset and execute strategies that support that vision.

But that leadership doesn’t have to come in the form of a full-time CMO. A fractional CMO offers all the same benefits but at a fraction of the cost, serving as a fiduciary partner committed to your success.

Fractional CMOs work alongside your team—not on the outskirts—and help you build and execute marketing strategies that are tailored to your mission.

Curious to find out more?

Click here to schedule a free call with a fractional CMO to get started.