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How to Create a Customer‑Centric Business Strategy

Mailchimp's advice for building customer relationships.

On the surface, “customer-centric” may seem like a pretty obvious business strategy. Of course, you want your customers to have a positive experience. Of course, you care about their needs and want to make and sell things that make them happy, which of course leads to more business, more loyalty, more customers, and of course more profit.

But like any good marketing tenet, there are layers to it and plenty of ways to achieve it. And you should want to achieve it, too. According to Econsultancy, one of “the most critical qualities of effective digital leaders is being ruthlessly customer-centric.”

Easy, right? But there’s more to it. Starting, for instance, with the definition.

Today, customers have higher expectations than they have ever had in the past. If you want to rise to meet the expectations of your clients, you need to take a customer-centric approach.

Customer service is more important than ever before, and you need to have a customer-centric mindset if you want to not only acquire new customers but retain the ones you have.

Learn more about the importance of a customer-centric company model below, and do not hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you.

What does it mean to be customer-centric?

You put your customers first. Not many small businesses would say otherwise. But, as NGDATA writes, “businesses that take a customer-centric approach do more than say they put their customers first; they make it a priority to provide an exceptional customer experience at the point of sale and after the sale to increase profits and gain a competitive edge.”

Indeed, and that’s what it means to have a customer-centric ethos in the day-to-day life of your business. “Truly customer-centric organizations identify their most valuable customers and ensure their satisfaction,” NGDATA continues. “In order to do this, organizations gather customer data from multiple sources and channels and target their most profitable customers with relevant offers at the right time.”

Data is where it all starts. When you have a solid understanding of your customers (everything from purchasing habits to interests to engagement history), that can inform your future business decisions. For example, you can get to know your audience better and find new ways to market to them when you use the core of Mailchimp’s Marketing Platform, our Marketing CRM.

Looking to dive even deeper? Try these 4 simple steps to turn customer data into targeted campaigns that sell more stuff. You’ll learn how to collect, manage, and use audience data that will help you market smarter in Mailchimp.

The importance of a customer-centric approach

The reality is that if you do not both acquire new customers and retain the ones you have, your business is not going to survive. This is the biggest reason why being a customer-centric business model is so important.

As a business, if you forget that your top priority should be your customers, your organization is doomed to fail. Without a strong customer-centric strategy, you could end up building the wrong products or focusing on the wrong services.

Ultimately, this could cause your customers to lose faith in you and your business model, placing you in a difficult position. Therefore, to avoid this issue, you need to focus your strategy on your customers.

Facing the challenges of becoming customer-centric

Now that you know what it means to be customer-centric and how a Marketing CRM solution can help get you there, let’s talk about the challenges.

As the e-commerce world has grown and customers have been faced with ever more options for their buying needs, it’s become ever more simple for those consumers to quickly and easily compare brands.

But if you’re going to be truly customer-centric, you should start by taking a hard look at how you communicate within your company. For instance, there are a number of pain points that stop otherwise great companies from getting to where they need to be:

  • Poor communication between executive, mid-level, and frontline departments
  • Silos that make communication, shared goals, and data difficult or impossible
  • Under-empowered employees that can’t effect change at the company

Once your corporate ducks are in a row, and your communication is on point, it’s time to share customer information across departments. And Mailchimp can help you organize that customer data.

In fact, when you use Mailchimp’s Marketing CRM, it’s easy to understand your data and make your marketing budget go further. We have a number of tools to help with these goals, and when you bring all your audience data into Mailchimp, you will start to:

  • Get a better sense of who your audience is
  • Send the right content to the right people
  • Find new ways to talk to people with common traits
  • Use your data to find new customers

Understanding the customer

Developing a customer-centric mindset is easier said than done. You need to have an intimate understanding of your customers if you want your business to survive.

Some of the most important aspects of understanding your clients and target market include:

Demographic analysis

First, you need to conduct some market research and ensure you have a detailed breakdown of the demographics of your target market. Some of the most important demographics that you need to collect include:

  • How old is your ideal customer?
  • How much money do they make?
  • Where are they located geographically?
  • What are some of the biggest problems they have?

If you can conduct some detailed demographic research on your target market, you will have an easier time developing products and services that address their biggest needs. You can also tailor your marketing campaign to target their pain points and drive interest in the products and services you provide.

Psychographic analysis

Next, you need to collect plenty of psychographic customer data on your potential customers and clients. This refers to the way in which your target customers think and process information.

What is their personality like? What is their mindset like? What is going to help you convince your customers that your business can solve their problems?

There are specialized tools that can help you conduct a psychographic analysis and collect the information you need to maximize the value of your products and services in the eyes of the customer.

Behavioral analysis

You need to capture customer behavior if you want to maximize your conversion rates.

How do your customers interact with your website and customer service representatives? What products and services appear to draw their attention the most?

You need to collect information on customer buying behavior to position your products and services for success.

For example, if you need to influence the behavior of your customers, you may want to consider instituting a customer loyalty program or bundling certain products and services together for a discount. This could help you increase your revenue.

Importance of understanding the customer

The importance of understanding the customer cannot be overstated.

If you want to take care of your customers, it should be intrinsic to your customer service philosophy; however, actions speak louder than words. You need to take specific steps if you want to endear yourself to your customers and show them that you truly care.

If you collect customer data, you can change your business strategies to match the expectations and needs of your clients. This could help you position your company for success moving forward.

How to align company culture and values

If you want your customer-centric strategy to be at the core of what you do, you need to shift your company toward a customer-centric culture and values to align with those of your customers. Some of the ways you can do this include:

Make the customer a top priority

You might say that you care about the customer, but how can you use actions to show that customer care matters to you?

You can do so by ensuring you have enough customer service representatives to meet the needs of your customers quickly. You can also show customers that you care about them by making your website or store easier to navigate. You can also run customer appreciation specials from time to time, giving discounts to customers who show your loyalty to them.

Furthermore, you need to collect feedback from your customers. Show your customers that their opinions matter and your clients will know that you care about them.

Create a customer-centric culture and mission statement

Brand identity and company culture matter. Much of this is driven by your mission statement. What does your mission statement look like? Does it focus on your company? Or, does it focus on the customer?

There is never a second chance to make a first impression. You need to make that first impression count by showing your customers that they come first. You can do so by including the customer in the mission statement.

Ideally, mention the customer toward the beginning of your mission statement.

Encourage employee engagement and empowerment

The company leadership team might care about the customer, but the customer is going to interact with your staff members and employees more often.

Therefore, you need to have a strong customer experience strategy that focuses on employee engagement and empowerment. Make sure you encourage and incentivize your employees to go out of their way to help your customers.

You might even want to reward employees who receive positive feedback and plaudits from your customers. Make sure you hire employees who are engaged and energetic about helping your customers and reward employees who have positive interactions with your customers.

Incorporate customer feedback to inform decision-making

Do you want to show your customers that you truly care about them? If so, you need to care about their opinions. You need to collect feedback from your customers to let them know that you truly care about what they have to say.

Then, be transparent. Show customers that you have collected certain types of feedback and spotted a trend.

Show your customers how you changed your operations, products, and services to match the feedback you’ve received. This can go a long way toward ensuring the success of your customer-centric company strategy.

Top methods for collecting customer feedback

There are plenty of ways you can collect customer data and feedback. Some of the top methods include:

  • Live chat windows with your customer service reps
  • Recorded phone calls
  • SMS text message surveys
  • Email customer service responses and surveys
  • Social media messages, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Surveys and messages from the company app

The more portals you can use to collect feedback, the better your strategy will work. You might also want to provide an option for your customers to leave feedback anonymously.

How to implement omnichannel customer service

You need to have a strong customer service strategy that encompasses all aspects of your customers’ needs. This might require multiple touchpoints, and that is why you need to think about omnichannel customer service.

When you implement omnichannel customer service, you incorporate multiple modalities and representatives to comprehensively address the needs of your customers.

You might be able to collect feedback using the channels above, but your agents need to have access to the same information to adequately address the needs of your customers.

Having a strong customer relationship management program that can record the interactions your team has with certain customers will allow your agents to pick up where the previous agent left off. This can help you develop a strong omnichannel customer service strategy.

Empower employees to prioritize the customer experience

Ultimately, your employees are going to be the ones interacting with your customers the most. You need to give them the tools and training necessary to prioritize the customer experience. Some of the ways to do this include:

Train employees on customer-centric practices

You need to train your employees on some of the most important customer-centric company practices. They include:

  • Always validate the feelings of the customer when interacting with him or her.
  • Follow-through on promises, meaning that employees should not make promises they cannot keep.
  • Follow up with customers after an interaction has finished ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Train your employees on basic skills that can diffuse difficult situations and calm down customers who might be angry.

With a customer-centric strategy, your employees will have the ability to ensure the loyalty of your customers.

Encourage customer-focused decision-making

You should also encourage your employees to have a customer-focused mindset. This means employees should focus on providing a positive customer experience before, during, and after the sale.

Employees need to reduce customer wait times, ensure customer transitions are smooth by communicating with one another, record interactions in the CRM system, and treat customers as people instead of numbers. These simple steps can ensure employees focus on the customer with each decision they make, which is an essential component of a customer-centric organization.

Continuously monitor and improve the customer experience

You need to monitor your customer experience by following key metrics, such as your churn rate, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer lifetime value (CLV).

Mailchimp provides companies with the tools they need to maximize the customer experience. Take a look at a few of the top tools today, and make sure you develop a customer-centric approach.

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