Every business needs to adopt the customer-centric strategy whether selling a product or service to meet a demand. Even if you are a product-centric company, and are more focused on your bottom-line than the other companies, you depend on customers buying into your ideas and services. In fact, the essentials of e-commerce is to convert passive visitors to active customers.
What methods can you use to make your customer feel cherished? What are the ways you can show your customers you care about what they want? How does being actively consumer-centric help your business? This article will give you some hints and tips about how to make your customers feel loved by building a customer-centric business that goes beyond building better relationships customers..
What Does It Mean to Be Customer-Centric as an Online Business?
Your online business gains a lot from adopting active customer-centric behaviours. It will provide a source of long-term competitive advantage for your business marketing through positive customer reviews and word of mouth. As your customer will also have a great experience you will enjoy their loyalty too. Your customers will keep coming back long after their first purchase when your business is tailored to establish meaningful and deeper connections with your clients.
Consider this example: Amazon told the world over three years ago, that their big goal was to become the most customer-centric company on earth. The company has since employed innovations in its methods of customer management and changed from a business-centred approach to a more customer-centred approach. For instance, Amazon enables its customers to choose how and when they are contacted; through email, phone, or instant messages.
And how did it begin? Through customer insight. The company started talking to the right people about the right topics and asking the right people the right questions. They focused a lot less on payment and started putting more emphasis on the people they were servicing – the customers. This customer-centric approach adopted by Amazon has had continued success. The company recorded a doubling of its stock price in a twelve month period, and investors remain happy with the enterprise.
This example showcases the depth of what it means to be customer-centric. The trust of the customer has to be won. Amazon has demonstrated that putting clients at the core of your business, and creating a customer-centric environment is a recipe for success.
Focusing on Customer’s Needs and Preferences
Being customer-centric as an online business means that the processes and functions of your business are largely determined by your individual customer needs and preferences. This means you have to think and feel the way a customer would, especially when it concerns access from mobiles and computers. The functions include the following:
Interacting with your customers through their preferred online channels (Email marketing, social media, among others.)
Customising business products and services to each customer online, taking their individual needs and preferences into account.
Fulfilling the customer’s needs as expressed by their interest in your product and services on your business website or e-commerce store.
Two-way Communication: The Online Business and The Customer
The key to having a customer-centric message is to provide the right message and deliver it through the right channels at the right time. Communications that touch on these three areas show a customer that their wants and needs are understood, have been taken into consideration by your company and that their time is valuable.
Two-way communication between online businesses and customer wins long-term loyalty from the client for the firm. However, communication should not be done just for the sake of conversation. Certain features of communication from online companies would have a greater effect than others.
Freeparking Domain Name’s marketing manager, Brendan Wilde, concurs: “Know what you want to achieve! Whatever means of communication you choose as your business focus; website or mobile application, it needs to be fast, secure and reliable.”
There are three critical stages of customer-centric marketing:
1. Collecting and Analysing Customer Intelligence
Using real-time analytics, the key drivers of the customer experience and how your online business is performing on those key drivers can be identified. Certain questions need to be answered as a guide to the collection and analysing of customer intelligence:
- What are the key drivers that propel the customer relationship with my business?
- What is the level of success of my business as it pertains to the key drivers?
- How do these key drivers link to the top priorities of my customers?
These are important questions. The aim is to get to know your customers and to know what they are doing. Helpful tools that can be used to source answers to the questions include Woopra customer profiles and real-time analytics.
2. Developing Customer Requirements
Customer requirements are a collection of needs, expectations, interfaces and constraints as they relate to each client. All these can be analysed, refined, harmonised and elaborated to form a set of customer requirements. Develop customer requirements by using the following steps:
- Identify your customers (age, gender, occupation, recreational activities and so on)
- Understand why they shop (work demands or family needs)
- Consider their spending habits
- Find out what they think of you (your products, services, and customer service)
3. Product Development
Product development in customer-centric marketing means making decisions after the customers wants and needs have been aligned with the overall goals of your business. Such wants and needs can be determined through customer service emails, tweets, blogs and customer feedback via surveys. Your e-commerce website can also get information about customer needs through Live Chat or Zendesk. Depending on the nature of your products, product development unfold through the following process:
- Idea brainstorming
- Evaluation of ideas
- Market evaluation and analysis
- Prototype development and marketing
- Market testing and official launch
Successful online businesses know that the customer always comes first. The customer is responsible for bringing in the profits. This is the reason why to reach your business goals, it is important for your business to interact with your customers through their preferred online channels, customise business products and services to each client, and fulfil the customer’s needs. You need to take such focused actions to incorporate customer-centricity in your online business to be a success.